You are here

Home » Reopening Resources

    Reopening Resources

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


Click here for information on how you can support Downtown businesses through takeout options, curbside pickup opportunities, online ordering and specials at restaurants, bars, retailers and service businesses. Downtown's fitness facilities and museums are going virtual, offering online classes, interactive and educational videos and more. Click here to see the full list and check back here often, as New York State continues its phased reopening plan through New York Forward. If you have anything you'd like us to include, please send us a note at and/or tag us on social media!

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

The City of Syracuse introduced a new program, designed to provide additional outdoor dining and retail opportunities for visitors. Click here for more information about Weekends on Walton


We’ve been working with government leaders and industry experts to compile news and information to help Downtown Syracuse business owners with reopening. Every Wednesday, we send out an email to our business audience, tailored to a different topic each week. To be added to the distribution list, please send us a note at, with "Business Emails" in the subject line.

To review previous topics, please click on the links below:

For information on re-opening, financial programs, free business assistance and employee resources, please click on the headers below. We update this information regularly, as more resources become available. 


The New York Forward website provides up-to-date information about which industries and regions of the state are eligible to reopen. Eligibility for reopening is determined by health metrics region-by-region. New York State has categorized industries into four phases of reopening: 

Phase One: Open

  • Construction
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
  • Retail (Limited to curbside, in-store pickup or drop off)
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale Trade

Phase Two: Open

  • Offices
  • Real Estate
  • In-Store Retail
  • Vehicle Sales, Leases, and Rentals
  • Retail Rental, Repair, and Cleaning
  • Commercial Building Management
  • Hair Salons and Barbershops
  • Outdoor and Takeout/Delivery Food Services

Phase Three: Open

  • Restaurants / Food Services 
  • Personal Care 

Phase Four: Open

  • Higher Education 
  • Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools
  • Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment
  • Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment
  • Media Production
  • Professional Sports Competitions with No Fans
  • Malls
  • Gyms and Fitness Centers (NEW!)

To check if your business is eligible to reopen, check the New York Forward Business Reopening Lookup Tool.
Click here for Statewide Guidelines for certain commercial and recreational activities (some of these items are also explored under "Industry Resources"),

Before reopening, each eligible business must take the following steps:  

1. Complete the Online Affirmation.

Click on the phase specific to your industry opening: 

Scroll down to your industry and click on "Read and Affirm Detailed Guidelines." Read through the guidelines and, at the end of the document, click on the link to affirm that you have read and understand your obligation to operate in accordance with the guidance.

2. Develop a written Safety Plan.

  • Fill out the New York Safety Plan Template, or develop your own Safety Plan.
    Note: This plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval, but it must be kept on site and available for inspection by New York State Department of Health (DOH) or local authorities.

If you have questions, please refer to the New York Forward FAQ web page or email .


Several organizations have released industry-specific guidance for business owners to consider in developing reopening plans. The Downtown Committee will continue to update these resources as additional industries provide information:






Hair & Nail Salons:



Restaurants and Bars:



Additional Statewide Guidance for certain commercial and recreational activities is provided here

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


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.
New York State Empire State Development COVID-19 Related Resources: This includes business FAQs and updated guidance on what constitutes as "Essential Businesses."
New York State Liquor Authority: Effective June 4, this provides Guidance on Outdoor Expansion of Licensed Premises. 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. 


New York Forward Loan Fund: New York State has made roughly $4 million in low-interest loans available for Central New York small businesses, non-profits and landlords. The New York Forward Loan Fund provides maximum loans of $100,000, with interest rates of 2-3% and a five-year repayment term. Priority will be given to industries and regions that have reopened. Application review began June 1. Small businesses and nonprofits in industries and regions that have not yet reopened are encouraged to prepare a pre-application in advance by accessing resources available, by clicking here. Click here for more information about the New York Forward Loan Fund.  

U. S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) still has $100 billion in funding available for small businesses. To prepare your application, download the PPP Borrower Application Form (also available in Spanish) to see the information that will be requested when you apply with a commercial lender. Click here to view a list of lenders participating in the PPP program by state. Pursuit is also accepting PPP applications - sign-up here. The PPP Loan Forgiveness Application is also available now. Reviewing the criteria may help business owners decide whether to apply and how to use the funds. For example, the loan will be forgiven if at least 60% of funds are used to rehire and retain staff. Even if you do not meet the loan forgiveness criteria, interest rates are capped at 1% with a 5-year term, making this an attractive commercial loan option for small businesses. Click here for more information. 

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. 


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) continues to offer services for current and new clients via phone, email and video chat.

WISE Women's Business Center:  WISE is offering 1:1 Business Counseling to help you strategize as businesses rethink operations. Reach out to 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. 


The New York Forward plan categorizes industries into four phases of reopening. As the developments surrounding COVID-19 and reopening continue to take shape, 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 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

If you're experiencing flu-like symptoms, please call your healthcare provider. Additional resources about COVID-19 symptoms are provided through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization


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 riders are encouraged to 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.