Madison Avenue Business Improvement District
29 East 61st Street, 3rd Floor
New York, New York 10065

Covid-19 Updates for Businesses

March 24th, 2020   

Updated April 3, 2020

Please note that items are listed on this webpage not by order of importance, but rather by order of the date in which we learned of the item. That way, people who visit this page on a regular basis can find out what is new.

NYC Employee Retention Grant Program
ALERT: Deadline to apply is Friday, April 3!
To help small businesses deal with the impact of COVID-19, the City has launched the Employee Retention Grant Program to help retain employees as businesses face decreased revenue. This program is available to New York City businesses with one to four employees that can demonstrate at least a 25% decrease in revenue as a result of COVID-19. Eligible businesses will receive a grant covering up to 40% of their payroll for two months. Businesses can access up to $27,000. To find out more, please click here.To find out more, please click here.

Madison Avenue Now Social Media Campaign
As featured in WWD, to keep our local clients engaged while New York is on “Pause,” the BID created and funded a sponsored “ Madison Avenue Now” social media campaign on Facebook & Instagram targeted to the Upper East Side (Zip Codes 10021, 10022, 10028, 10065, 10075 & 10128) that will highlight a special offer, product or experience at a Madison Avenue retailer. These special offers can be something that can be enjoyed now in-store or online, or enjoyed at a later date when our stores will reopen. We can also highlight special experiences that you are able to offer, such as a virtual fitness class, or Zoom talk about fashion trends, or an incentive to purchase for a later date – “A Gift Card for the Future.” For businesses that have multiple locations, the offer or experience need not be exclusive to your Madison Avenue location.

The sponsored social media campaign directs guests to a dedicated page on our website,, where we will list the experience of that day, as well as the offers/experiences of the last few days that have passed (unless the offer/experience is only available for one day). Each post will direct clients on how to redeem or utilize each offer or experience. The program will also be promoted on the homepage of the BID’s website, along with our other COVID-19 information.

There is no cost to participate in this program….we just want to keep the positive spotlight on Madison Avenue and its stores.  To take part, please send over to Matthew Bauer ( the specific text that you would like us to post, and any graphics or social media tags that you wish to use. Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.

The Thryv Foundation’s Small Business COVID-19 Grant Program will award grants between $2,500 and $15,000 to qualifying small business applicants. Grants will be made on a first-come, first-served basis and applications must be submitted by April 30, 2020. Click here to learn more.

Free or Low Cost Technology to Aid Small Businesses To Remote Work
The Open for Business Hub lists technology companies that are helping small businesses by enabling remote work throughout this difficult period. Find the list of offers to help by clicking here.

IRS Announces that an Employee Retention Credit is now available for many businesses financially impacted by COVID-19
On March 31, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. The credit is available to all employers regardless of size, including tax-exempt organizations. The only exceptions are small businesses who take small business loans.

Qualifying employers must fall into one of two categories:
1) The employer’s business is fully or partially suspended by government order due to COVID-19 during the calendar quarter; or 2) the employer’s gross receipts are below 50% of the comparable quarter in 2019. Once the employer’s gross receipts go above 80% of a comparable quarter in 2019, they no longer qualify after the end of that quarter.  These measures are calculated each calendar quarter.

The amount of the credit is 50% of qualifying wages paid up to $10,000 in total. Wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2021, are eligible for the credit. Wages taken into account are not limited to cash payments, but also include a portion of the cost of employer provided health care. To learn more about this tax credit, please click here.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance extends eligibility for individuals who have traditionally been ineligible for UI benefits (e.g., self-employed workers, independent contractors). This may be of benefit to a variety of Madison Avenue small business owners. Please click here to review the FAQs prepared by the New York State Department of Labor.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Update
We urge you to download (please click here) and carefully review the The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act, put together by the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. For a very detailed, thorough description of each of the provisions of the CARES Act that may relate to your business, please review this article by Cozen O’Connor, the government relations consultants of the NYC BID Association (please click here).

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Grant program from the US Small Business Administration provides an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To access the advance, you first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance , and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments.  Please click here to learn more and to apply.

The Paycheck Protection Program, administered through the SBA, provides loans that can cover such as expenses as payroll and rent. The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees. You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution or federally insured credit union that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. Lenders began processing loan applications on April 3, 2020. Please click here to learn more and to aid you in applying for the program.

SBA Express Bridge Loans enable small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.  Please click here to learn more.

SBA Debt Relief:  As part of SBA’s debt relief efforts, the SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months.  The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020.  Please click here to learn more.

A Gift Card Primer from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Gift cards are being touted as an excellent way for retailers and restaurants to generate revenue now by giving clients a way to support these businesses while they are temporarily closed. Please click here for a helpful primer on gift cards prepared by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

We also recommend that you review the Chamber’s Coronavirus Small Business Survival Guide by clicking here.

Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund​
LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) will use Verizon funding to provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19—especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically underserved communities who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital. Grants can be used to pay rent and utilities, payroll, paying outstanding debt to vendors and other immediate operational costs. Click here to learn more.

You can apply by clicking here. Note that applications must be submitted by Saturday, April 4th, 11:59 p.m. ET.

New York State Liquor Authority Guidance on Restrictions for Licensees and To-Go & Delivery Sales in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak
All the details can be found by clicking here.

Expert Business Consulting for Free, Supported by the US Small Business Administration
The New York Small Business Development Center provides small business owners and entrepreneurs in New York with the highest quality, confidential business consulting, training, and business research at no cost to you. To learn more, and to arrange an appointment, please click here.

For Restaurants:
The James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund For “independent food and beverage businesses in need.” JBF is asking restauranteurs to fill out this link (please click here) to get more information on the fund criteria and the application process.

Under new, but limited circumstances, businesses with State Liquor Authority Licenses may be able to return unused liquor to the wholesaler or manufacturer. Please click here for the details.

Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave
New York State enacted new emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave regulations to address the immediate need of employees affected by COVID-19 who are subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation. To get the details regarding the new law, please click here.

New York State Essential Services List
To view the updated list of businesses that have been designated as essential by New York State, please click here.

NYS Department of Labor Shared Work Program
The New York State Department of Labor’s Shared Work Program may provide an alternative to your business for laying off workers. To learn more, please click here.

NYC Department of Health
The NYC Department of Health is regularly updating their page with information useful to businesses. For the must recent update to their site, please click here.

COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for Restaurant Service
Given that restaurants are able to provide takeout and delivery services, the NYC Department of Small Business Services has issues guidance for safe operations. To learn more, please click here.

NYC Business Tax Filing Extensions and the COVID-19 Outbreak
The New York City Department of Finance (DOF) recognizes that taxpayers and return preparers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak may be unable to meet certain New York City filing and payment deadlines. Therefore, DOF Commissioner Jacques Jiha is exercising his authority under the Administrative Code of the City of New York to allow for a waiver of penalties for DOF-administered business and excise taxes due between March 16, 2020, and April 25, 2020. Taxpayers may request to have the penalties waived on a late-filed extension or return, or in a separate request. To learn more, please click here.

New York State Sales Tax
The Governor announced:
The authority of the Commissioner of Taxation and Finance to abate late filing and payment penalties pursuant to section 1145 of the Tax Law is hereby expanded to also authorize abatement of interest, for a period of 60 days for a taxpayers who are required to file returns and remit sales and use taxes by March 20, 2020, for the sales tax quarterly period that ended February 29, 2020.

NYC Small Business Continuity Loan Fund
Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more will be eligible for zero interest loans of up to $75,000 to help retain employees and ensure business continuity. To learn more, please click here. To pre-apply for the NYC Small Business Continuity Loan Fund, please click here.

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