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    Supporting Downtown Businesses

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. 


Support Downtown Syracuse businesses and view specials at restaurants, bars, retailers and service businesses.

Downtown's museums are open for safe, socially distanced visits. Fitness facilities also offer online classes, interactive and educational videos and more. Check back here often, as regulations and guidelines continue to evolve. 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 InstagramBusinesses: Use the hashtag, #SmartStepsSYR to share what you're doing to stop the spread of COVID-19. 



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


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

New York Forward: Find the latest information on New York State's micro-cluster strategy, maps and restrictions by cluster zone, hot spot lookups, and reopening guidelines by industry. 
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: Find updated State Liquor Authority guidance, including guidance on to-go and delivery alcohol sales. 
New York State Department of Health: Here, you'll find extensive information including New York State's COVID-19 tracker, testing sites, disinfecting and cleaning protocols, travel advisories and more. 
New York State Department of Labor: File unemployment insurance claims. 
Onondaga County: This is a resource for updates at the county level, including recent news releases, data, reports and business compliant forms.  
City of Syracuse: This is a resource for policies relevant to the City of Syracuse. 


Paycheck Protection Program (PPP):  The Small Business Administration (SBA)'s Paycheck Protection Program has reopened for certain borrowers, authorizing up to $284 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses through March 31, 2021. Community financial institutions (such as CDFIs) were able to make First Draw PPP Loans, starting January 11. On Wednesday, January 13, certain existing PPP borrowers were able to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan. Other lenders will be able to accept applications for new First Draw PPP Loans at a date soon to be announced. 

Key PPP updates include:

  • PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs;
  • PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures;
  • The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, destination marketing organizations, among other types of organizations;
  • The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees;
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount; and
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan. 

For more information, visit or

Syracuse Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO) COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program: Small businesses with 50 (FTEs) or fewer employees in the City of Syracuse are eligible for grants between $2,500 and $10,000. Eligible purchases include: Outdoor equipment, indoor equipment to optimize social distancing, technology systems for e-commerce or online ordering, HVAC upgrades, take-out supplies, sanitizing supplies and equipment, and marketing and advertising to promote online and takeout options. Click here to apply

Onondaga County Outdoor Dining Program: Restaurants that invest in outdoor dining equipment - such as tents or heaters - will be eligible for matching grants. Grants will reimburse up to $5,000 of qualified expenditures. Click here to apply

New York Forward Loan Fund: The New York Forward Loan Fund provides maximum loans of $100,000, with interest rates of 2-3% and a five-year repayment term. Click here for more information about the New York Forward Loan Fund.  

Small Business Adminstration Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides small businesses and nonprofits with low-interest loans of up to $2 million to help overcome other financial losses due to COVID-19. Click here for more information on how to apply. 


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. 


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

In addition to statewide guidance for certain industries, several organizations have released industry-specific guidance for business owners to consider in developing reopening plans:






Hair & Nail Salons:



Restaurants and Bars:



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


We’ve been working with government leaders and industry experts to compile news and information to help Downtown Syracuse business owners with reopening. 

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


As reopening guidance continues 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. A list of vaccination sites, as well as testing sites - for asymptomatic and symptomatic neighbors - and information to schedule appointments is provided here.

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