In this time of social distancing and non-essential business closures, the Niagara Gazette and Lockport Union Sun & Journal want to hear your stories. Writer Michele DeLuca is seeking stories on what you are doing during the closure, tips for getting by, stories of what you’re doing at home, and other ideas. Most importantly we want to hear WHAT YOU NEED and how the community can help. Please feel free to share your thoughts, videos, or photos with Michelle at michele [dot] deluca [at] niagara-gazette [dot] com Also funny stories, cute pics and videos, and inspirational ideas are certainly welcome at this time as we could all use a little levity. Thank you and stay safe from the Niagara USA Chamber.
To help keep up with the quickly changing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, below are some important resources related to the economic impacts for businesses and workers:
Governor Cuomo late yesterday issued an executive order that directs non-essential businesses to implement work-from-home policies effective Friday, March 20. Businesses that rely on in-office personnel must decrease their in-office workforce by 50 percent: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-2026-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency.
Governor Cuomo earlier yesterday issued a separate executive order that includes several health care items and also information about closures at malls and amusement-related businesses:
ESD has set up a web portal and FAQ page for individuals and businesses with business-related COVID-19 issues and questions on this website with all COVID-19 info: https://esd.ny.gov/esd-covid-19-related-resources
ESD supported Governor Cuomo in New York State’s declaration for SBA disaster assistance. We expect approval by the end of the week. This will allow small businesses and not-for-profits to apply for SBA disaster loans.
Many businesses and organizations have expressed a desire to support New York State as it responds to the virus outbreak. Individuals or groups looking to volunteer or contribute to the State’s effort should contact the Governor’s Office at covid19assistance [at] exec [dot] ny [dot] gov.
DOL has been working hard to keep up with the new demand for Unemployment Insurance and has institute new rules that include extended ours and restrictions about when to file based on your last name:
DOL is also reminding businesses of its Shared Work Program that can provide an alternative to laying off employees during business downturns by allowing workers to work a reduced work schedule and collect partial unemployment insurance benefits for up to 26 weeks. Instead of cutting staff, you able to reduce the number of hours of all employees or just a certain group:
Below is the main NYS page for all COVID-19 information: