Business Assistance Resources
Small businesses are the heartbeat of a strong local economy and have played a significant role in Buffalo's economic renaissance, but many of Buffalo’s small businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19. Here is a set of resources to help continue our support for our City’s employers during this difficult time.  We appreciate all of our businesses as we continue to work together on our journey to economic recovery in the City of Buffalo.

Reopen Buffalo Updates

Phase 4 of Reopening initiated June 30, 2020: Please Reference Phase 4 Guidelines and Information 
The U.S. Senate has approved an extension for the Paycheck Protection Program through August 8, 2020. We will be posting more updates as more information is released.

Small Business Social Distancing Initiative Application is LIVE

Reopen Buffalo has an application for small businesses and restaurants seeking to use streets, sidewalks, and other public or privately-owned outdoor space to meet social distancing requirements and operate their business. 

Reopen Buffalo Blog

Mayor Byron W. Brown's Office of Strategic Planning is using the Reopen Buffalo Bulletin to provide important business updates as our region's phased reopening progresses. 
Please visit our Blog to see our latest Reopen Buffalo Bulletins. If you have not signed up to receive business updates, please register for our directory HERE.

REGISTER HERE for our Reopen for Business Map and Directory

The Reopen for Business Map and Directory is a key resource for businesses and residents as businesses reopen. Once you are registered, your business’s information like your hours of operation, contact info, and services offered will be displayed on our website’s interactive map and directory! This information allows members of the community to know you are open and your hours of operation. 

WNY Diversity & Inclusion Business Community Assessment
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership and its partners are asking employers to participate in an assessment to evaluate the state of diversity, equity and inclusion in the WNY business community.
The information gathered from the survey will be essential to better understand what steps WNY employers are currently taking to build diverse and inclusive cultures within their workplaces, how employers are measuring progress, what roadblocks organizations face in addressing these issues and what resources employers think are necessary to assist in this important work.


Reopening Guidance

As of June 30, 2020 our local economy has entered Phase 4 of Governor Cuomo's NY Forward reopening plan: NY Forward Phase 4 Guidelines and Information.
New York Forward Website
NY Forward has information outlining the regionally and industry-based reopening process. Western New York businesses can consult resources on the site to prepare for reopening. We recommend using the Reopen Tool Lookup through which businesses can input their County and NAICS code to determine whether or not they are eligible to reopen, and the public health and safety standards with which they must comply.
Reopen Buffalo
Reopen Buffalo enables businesses and consumers to see critical reopened business information, including hours of operation, services offered, contact information, etc. Additionally, Reopen Buffalo serves as a communication tool between businesses and City Hall, providing businesses with the latest information about the COVID-19 emergency and the City of Buffalo’s response to adequately restore economic activity swiftly and responsibly. 
Keep Buffalo Niagara Working: A Guide to Reopening Your Business
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership (BNP) has launched the Keep Buffalo Niagara Working initiative to help you in planning to reopen your business as safely as possible while continuing to protect your employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Reopening Guidance by Business Type


Barbershops and Salons

NY Forward: Hair Salon & Barbershop Phase 2 Guidelines for Employers and Employees
National Association of Barbers: How to Prepare to Return to Your Shop
Professional Beauty Association: Back-to-Work Guidelines

Manufacturing

NYS Department of Health: Interim Guidance for Manufacturing Activities during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Center for Disease Control and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): Interim Guidance for Manufacturing Workers and Employees



Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

FDA is sharing information about best practices to operate retail food stores, restaurants, and associated pick-up and delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard workers and consumers.


Local Resources

Buffalo Niagara Partnership COVID-19 Resources & Impacts
As the regional chamber of commerce, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership is committed to providing employers with the latest information and resources to help you deal with COVID-19 and its impact on business, our community, state and nation.
Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA) COVID-19 Disaster Relief Business Loans
The Regional Development Corporation (RDC) (the lending arm of the Erie County Industrial Agency) is currently offering disaster relief business loans to qualified Erie County businesses affected by the COVID-19 shutdown. To apply, please call 716-856-6525, ext. 219
Albright-Knox Relief Grants for Artists
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every aspect of society, including artistic communities the world over. In response to these extraordinary circumstances, the Albright-Knox is launching an emergency microgrant opportunity for City of Buffalo and Erie County visual artists who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), who are LGBTQ-identifying, or who have disabilities, and who have been negatively impacted financially by the pandemic.

Buffalo Niagara Partnership Business Link
To help employers navigate the reopening of the economy post COVID-19, the Partnership developed BNP Business Link, a question and answer forum for and by the Buffalo Niagara business community.
Please send in your business questions and get expert answers quickly and confidentially.

State Resources

New York Forward Loan Fund
The NY Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF), announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, will begin accepting pre-applications. The $100 million fund is a new economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting New York State small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords as they reopen after the COVID-19 outbreak and NYS on PAUSE.
Empire State Development (ESD) Economic Recovery and COVID-19 Loans for Small Businesses
New York State is working to support small businesses throughout the COVID-19 crisis, by providing up-to-date resources and information about economic recovery and COVID-19-related loans, funding and business counseling. Please visit the link above for more information on the New York Forward Loan Fund and for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. The SBA loans are part of the $2 trillion federal stimulus bill (CARES Act) passed on March 27—and an additional $484 billion aid package signed on April 24.
Empire State Development (ESD) COVID-19-Related Resources
As New York State continually monitors and responds to developments related to COVID-19, ESD is providing up-to-date guidance for the agency’s partners and other stakeholders impacted by the virus.  This is a rapidly changing situation and ESD will be updating the resources below to reflect the latest information available. NYS Empire State Development - Submit Your COVID-19-Related Business Questions
Business Mentor NY COVID-19 Assistance
New York State has partnered with business leaders to create a dedicated group of volunteers across different NYS industries – from law firms to financial professionals – to assist business owners with questions related to the impact of COVID-19 and to provide guidance on the SBA loan applications. The volunteer mentors are ready to assist.
GUIDANCE ON EXECUTIVE ORDER 202.6 FOR DETERMINING WHETHER A BUSINESS ENTERPRISE IS SUBJECT TO A WORKFORCE REDUCTION UNDER RECENT EXECUTIVE ORDERS
This guidance is issued by the New York State Department of Economic Development d/b/a Empire State Development (ESD) and applies to each business location individually and is intended to assist businesses in determining whether they are an essential business. 

Federal Resources

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): COVID-19 Relief Options
Our nation's small businesses are facing an unprecedented economic disruption due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Buffalo District Office
The Buffalo District Office's operating area includes the 14 Westernmost counties of New York State. The District Office located in the state's second most populous City of Buffalo, has a full service Branch in the state's third most populous City of Rochester. The two offices are well located so as to provide maximum assistance to the industrial cities in which located plus surrounding suburban communities and the rural counties of the District.
SBA COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance
SBA resumed processing EIDL applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 and will be processing those applications on a first-come, first-served basis. On June 15, SBA began accepting new EIDL and EIDL Advance applications from qualified small businesses and U.S. agricultural businesses.
Employee Retention Tax Credit
The Federal Government has created the Employee Retention Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes equal to 50 percent of the qualified wages an eligible employer pays to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021.
Main Street Lending Program
The Federal Reserve established the Main Street Lending Program to enhance support for small and mid-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the crisis by offering 4-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers or with revenues of less than $2.5 billion.


Additional Resources

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Survival Guide: All Our Content In One Place
The coronavirus is causing financial difficulties for businesses across the U.S. Here is a complete listing of all of our coronavirus resources for small businesses. One way or another, coronavirus has likely impacted your business — for better or worse. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been busy creating content to help you through this challenging time. It is organized here by category to help you easily navigate through it all.