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    COVID-19 Resources

The rapidly evolving environment in response to COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the businesses in our community. As we work together to #FlattentheCurve to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus in our community, please use this page as a resource to stay up-to-date on how to virtually engage with and support Downtown Syracuse businesses, access business resources, and find links to COVID-19 resources. 

DOWNTOWN SYRACUSE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS! 

Click here for information on how you can support Downtown businesses. Here, you'll find a compilation of takeout options, curbside pickup opportunities, online ordering and specials to support and engage with Downtown Syracuse restaurants, bars, retailers and service businesses. Many of our retail businesses are still open online, inviting you to shop virtually. Downtown's fitness facilities and museums are also going virtual, offering online classes, interactive and educational videos and more. Click here to get the lowdown. 

FREE PARKING: Street parking in Downtown Syracuse is free through April 19. To make it easier for employees of essential businesses to park during their shifts and for visitors to pick up takeout at restaurants, the City of Syracuse has suspended parking meter enforcement through April 19, 2020.

We will continue to share updates with you across our social media platforms as well. If you aren't already doing so, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

If you have anything you'd like us to include, please send us a note at mail@DowntownSyracuse.com and/or tag us on social media!

BUSINESS RESOURCES:

Click on the headers below to find a collection of operational tools, financial programs, expert advice and employee resources. We update this information regularly, as more resources become available. 

To reach our Economic Development department directly, please reach out to Heather Schroeder, director of Economic Development at HSchroeder@DowntownSyracuse.com or call 315-412-7878.

OPERATIONAL RESOURCES

1. Promoting Business Online 

 

BARS & RESTAURANTS: 

Help us promote your business! Continue to email mail@DowntownSyracuse.com with the following:

  • Hours of operation 
  • Available options (delivery/takeout/curbside pickup/online sales, etc.)
  • Ordering instructions (business website/phone number/GrubHub, UberEats, DoorDash, etc.)  

We update our online listings daily, and continuously share updates across social media. 

The following information may be helpful 

FREE METERED PARKING: The City of Syracuse has suspended parking meter enforcement through April 19. Promote this to your takeout and curbside pickup customers!

CHEAPER DELIVERY OPTIONS: Many delivery providers have waived restaurant commission fees for independent restaurants. Typically, these fees could cut into 15-30% of profits from delivery orders. Customers will still pay a delivery fee. If you don't already offer online ordering, you may wish to explore these services at this time. 

BIKESHARE DELIVERY OPTION: Gotcha, the Syracuse Bikeshare Program, is offering up its 200-bicycle fleet for restaurant use. They're easy to sanitize and no gas is required! Restaurants pay $15 a day per pike (a discounted rate is applied for five or more). To reserve bikes for delivery, contact Paul Colabufo at 315-254-3639 or PColabufo@RideGotcha.com.

SELLING GROCERIES: New York State issued guidance requirements for restaurants selling packaged food items such as raw pasta, flour, sugar, refrigerated "heat and eat" meals, and ready-to-eat items intended for off-site use and/or consumption. 

SAFETY VIDEOS: In response to COVID-19 precautions, customers want assurance that their food is safe. Share details about your preparation and cleaning processes - using videos or photos - across your preferred social media channels. If you tag us (Downtown Syracuse on Facebook, @DowntownSYR on Twitter, and @DowntownSyracuse on Instagram), we'll amplify your messages to our followers! 

RETAIL & SERVICE BUSINESSES: 

Send us your sales platform (business website, call for appointment, etc.) and/or hours of operation to mail@DowntownSyracuse.com. We update our online listings daily, and will share this information via electronic newsletters and across social media. 

*If you don't yet have an online sales platform, now is a great time to set one up! This Inc. article provides information about a variety of eCommerce platforms.

2. Report Impacts 

To help the COVID-19 Economic Resiliency Task Force assess the needs of businesses and non-profits, the Downtown Committee is working with CenterState CEO and other community partners to gather insight on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and identify the support that is needed during these unprecedented times. Please take this survey to help us assess your needs so that we can work with our partners to develop programming that will support our community. 

3. Stay Updated on Rules and Regulations

The following websites are helpful resources to stay up-to-date with the latest protocols and guidance:

New York State Governor's Office Pressroom: This is a resource for COVID-19 news and information, including Essential Business classification and exemptions
New York State Empire State Development COVID-19 Related Resources: This includes business and public space FAQs. 
New York State Liquor Authority: This provides guidance on to-go and delivery alcohol sales. 
New York State Department of Health: This provides requirements for staffing, business closures, etc.
New York State Department of Labor: This provides information about worker unemployment benefits.
Onondaga County: This is a resource for updates at the county level, including the most recent news releases and executive orders. 
City of Syracuse: This is a resource for local policies relevant to the City of Syracuse. 

FINANCIAL RESOURCES & OPPORTUNITIES

SBA Programs: 

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has released several COVID-19 relief programs ranging from grants, to loans, to debt forgiveness. For a full list of the available programs, click here

  • Small Business Debt Relief Program: If you already have - or plan to apply for - an SBA 7(a) loan, the Small Business Debt Relief Program will pay your monthly payments (principal, interest and fees) for six months, relieving some financial pressures at this time.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance: Small businesses applying for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) (see below) will also be eligible for an up to $10,000 advance. Funds can be applied for now, and will be available within three days of a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid - it functions as a grant to keep you running in the near-term.
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Receive forgivable loans of up to $10 million to keep or rehire employees. The Paycheck Protection Program is retroactive to February 15, 2020, and businesses can rehire recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020. Small businesses, sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons can apply. To locate participating lenders, please click here. For a sample PPP loan application (and to see what materials your lender may require), please click here

          Payment Protection Program FAQs

 

LOAN PROGRAMS:  

Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL):  Working capital loans of up to $2 million per small business. Sub-4% annual interest rate, repayment term not to exceed 30 years. As of March 31, the application process has been streamlined Click here to applyNew York State Empire State Development has tools to help SBA applicants, accessible by clicking here.  

SBA Express Bridge Loan (EBL) Pilot Program: Small businesses that had an existing banking relationship with an SBA Express lender as of March 13, 2020 may be eligible for expedited, SBA-guaranteed bridge loan financing of up to $25,000. These bridge loans may assist businesses as they await approval of an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application. For more information, please click here

Onondaga County Office of Economic Development COVID-19 Bridge Loan: This temporary bridge loan program was established to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19. The goal is to enable as many Onondaga County businesses as possible to survive until their SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) closes. Click here for more information about the county's program.


OTHER RESOURCES:
 

Central New York Community Support Fund: The Central New York Community Foundation - in partnership with the Allyn Foundation, City of Syracuse, Onondaga County and the United Way of Central New York - have established the COVID-19 Community Support Fund to provide flexible resources to organizations in Central New York working with communities that are disproportionately impacted economically. The Community Foundation will work with partners to administer the grants. To apply for a grant, donate to the fund, or see a list of grant recipients so far, please click here

New York Department of Labor Shared Work Program: Shared work allows you to keep trained staff and avoid layoffs. Employees can receive partial Unemployment Insurance benefits while working reduced hours. Full-time, part-time and seasonal employees are eligible. Click here for more information

Application for Suspension of New York State Debt Collection Activity: This application is for individuals or businesses that owe (non-medical and non-student) debts to the State of New York, that have been referred to the Office of the Attorney General for collection and litigation. Any such person or business - or their dependents - financially impacted by COVID-19 - or the international, national and state responses designed to prevent its spread - may complete and submit this application to be considered for certain forms of relief. This may include collection activity, interest accrual and the assessment of collection fees. 

National Grid: National Grid is temporarily suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections to lessen any financial burden on customers impacted by COVID-19. These policies are effective immediately and will be in place through the end of April. At that time, National Grid will evaluate the continued need. Please note, regular billing will continue for all customers. Please click here for additional information. 

INDUSTRY RESOURCES:  

  • RetailNewYork.com: Launched by The Retail Council of New York, RetailNewYork.com is an online platform designed for businesses across New York State that are continuing to conduct e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fill out the online form to put your business website before a statewide audience. Restaurants that sell products online (such as coffee beans, packaged sauces, t-shirts, gift cards, etc.) are also welcome to sign-up. For additional questions, contact the Retail Council’s representative, Alicia Artessa, through email at AliciaArtessa@rcnys.com
  • Kiva: Kiva connects U.S. small business owners to 0% interest, crowdfunded loans. Kiva is expanding the amount and eligibility for its 0% loan programs; businesses must go through an online application process to determine eligibility. Click here to apply.
  • Bartender Emergency Assistance Program: The United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG) National Charity Foundation is offering financial assistance for individual bartenders. Click here for the application
  • Restaurant Workers COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund: The Restaurant Workers Community Foundation is offering 0% interest loans for restaurants, funds for not-for-profits serving restaurant workers in crisis; and direct relief to individual restaurant workers. Click here for more information.
  • Yelp: To help local restaurants and bars, Yelp has announced $25 million in relief in the form of waived advertising fees, free advertising and products and services. 
  • Small Business Relief Initiative: GoFundMe, Yelp and Intuit Quickbooks have each donated $500,000 to the Small Business Relief Fund. The fund is open for anyone to make a donation. The Small Business Relief Initiative will issue $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 through GoFundMe. 

Inc. continues to compile a growing list of these small business resources; the link is provided here

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND ADVICE

New York State Empire State Development: Do you have questions regarding New York State rules and regulations, including Executive Orders? Reach out by clicking here

United States Chamber of Commerce: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has compiled strategic advice and informational resources for small businesses during the coronavirus. 

Onondaga Small Business Development Center (SBDC): The Onondaga Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will continue services for current and new clients via phone, email and video chat. Contact your SBDC advisor if you have one, or sign-up to be assigned to a small business advisor for free to help. 

WISE Women's Business Center:  WISE is offering 1:1 Business Counseling to help you strategize as businesses rethink operations. Reach out to wisecenter@syr.edu to schedule an appointment. 

SCORE Syracuse: SCORE Syracuse is offering free business mentoring from one of the organization's volunteer-experienced business owners.  Click here to sign-up for the service. 

Resources for Restaurants and Restaurant Workers: The Restaurant Workers Community Foundation has assembled information and helpful links for industry workers, accessible by clicking here

EMPLOYEE RESOURCES

If you are an employee who has been laid off, you may file for unemployment benefits through the New York State Department of Labor website.

Need a ride? Centro is offering free rides. Riders may call 315-442-3400 for information about the bus schedule. Customers just need to know their Bus Stop ID number. Centro is sanitizing its buses and taking precautions with its workers as well. 

COVID-19 RESOURCES:

As the developments surrounding COVID-19 continue to rapidly evolve, the New York State Governor's Office and New York State Department of Health are valuable resources to stay up-to-date. 

Locally, Onondaga County is a helpful informational resource. County Executive Ryan McMahon and county leaders host daily live stream updates via Facebook and the Onondaga County website. The Onondaga County Health Department has compiled a list of FAQs, accessible by scrolling halfway down on this provided link. Additional resources about COVID-19 are provided through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization

If you're experiencing flu-like symptoms, please call your healthcare provider. 

PHONE NUMBERS & ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

New York State has established a COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 and a Mental Health Hotline at 1-844-863-9314.

Locally, Upstate University Hospital is fielding your questions at 1-315-464-3979. The phone line is open daily from 7:00 am - 11:00 pm. Staffed by volunteers and health care providers, calls are intended for anyone who is showing possible symptoms of the coronavirus, may have come into contact with someone who has tested positive, and/or anyone who may be experiencing symptoms. 

Upstate Medical University partnered with Microsoft to introduce an interactive online Coronavirus Assessment Tool to help answer questions and identify possible symptoms. The online tool - known as a chatbot - takes users through a series of questions. Based on the provided responses, the chatbot will assess the user's risk of having COVID-19 and suggest the next steps to take. 

Onondaga County has established a hotline to provide emergency help for senior citizens, medical professionals and emergency responders. Call 315-218-1987 for help with groceries and other essential items

Centro continues to offer free rides to serve the community. Call 315-442-3400 for information about the bus schedule. Customers just need to know their Bus Stop ID number. To practice social distancing, passengers are asked to enter and exit from the rear doors whenever possible. Centro is sanitizing its buses and taking precautions with workers.