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Businesses owners can get information and resources to reopen safely, protect their staff and customers, run their business, and get financial assistance during the COVID-19 health emergency.

New York City businesses are reopening in phases.

The City is currently in Phase 3 of the State’s New York Forward Plan for reopening.

Within each phase, non-essential businesses may reopen if they belong to certain industries. 

Phase 1 (began June 8)Phase 2 (began June 22)
Phase 3 (began July 6)Phase 4

Essential businesses and business activities that are open may remain open, but they must follow health and safety rules.

High-Risk Industries

Some industries are considered high-risk from a health standpoint. These include:

  • Indoor dining
  • Gyms
  • Movie theaters
  • Performance venues

The State is undertaking further study before reopening these businesses.

Online

By Phone

The NYC Business Restart Hotline can provide you with information on guidelines to reopen your business, including licensing, permits and inspections.

  • Agency: Small Business Services
  • Division: NYC Business Restart Hotline
  • Phone Number: (888) 727-4692
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM

The City is currently in Phase 3 of the State’s New York Forward Plan for reopening.

Essential businesses and business activities that are open may remain open, but they must follow health and safety rules.

Essential businesses include:

  • Banks and related financial institutions
  • Bike repair shops
  • Dentists
  • Grocery and food production
  • Healthcare providers
  • Laundromats
  • Media
  • Restaurants, bars, and cafes (Limited to food take-out and delivery only; waiver provided for carry-out alcohol)
  • Pharmacies
  • Shipping
  • Taxis and car services
  • Utilities
  • Warehousing

Get information and guidance on essential services under the State Executive Order.

To report an essential business that is open but is not complying with necessary restrictions, visit the Business Reopening Complaint page.

To reopen and stay open, business must follow State-mandated health and safety rules.

These rules apply to both non-essential businesses and essential businesses that were previously permitted to remain open.

Rules for All Businesses

Safety Plan

Businesses must develop a Safety Plan outlining how it will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in its workplace.

You can fill out the New York Forward Safety Plan Template or develop your own Safety Plan.

The Safety Plan doesn’t need to be submitted to an agency for approval, but it must be posted at the worksite where everyone can see it and be made available to City or State agencies during inspections.

Employee Symptoms Screening

Businesses must conduct employee health screenings every day. Employees who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home or go home if they become sick at work.

Learn more on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Symptoms Screening page.

Hygiene and Cleaning

Businesses must:

  • Train employees on hygiene and safety practices
  • Provide and maintain hand hygiene stations for their employees. The stations must include hand washing with soap, water, and paper towels, and/or contact-free hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing isn’t feasible.
  • Regularly clean shared equipment and frequently touched surfaces

Face Coverings

Under the State’s Executive Order, face coverings are required in public for any individual over the age of two and those who do not have a medical condition that can prevent them from wearing a face covering.

Employers must give employees free face coverings and proper protective equipment and provide replacements

Business owners or building operators, or those authorized on their behalf can deny access to individuals who fail to wear a face covering on the premises.

Social and Physical Distancing

Workers must:

  • Keep at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others unless safety or core function of the work activity requires less
  • Wear a mask or a face covering if they are less than 6 feet from others

Employers must:

  • Reduce occupancy to under 50% and limit confined spaces to one person (elevators, behind cash registers, etc.)
  • Post signs and put tape or other markers to show people where to stand
  • Limit all in-person gatherings and meetings, and only hold them in large, well-ventilated areas with social distancing

Rules for Specific Industries

Businesses must also follow guidelines specific to their industry.

You can get detailed industry-specific guidelines on the following pages:

Get Help

The NYC Business Restart Hotline can provide you with information on guidelines to reopen your business, including licensing, permits and inspections.

  • Agency: Small Business Services
  • Division: NYC Business Restart Hotline
  • Phone Number: (888) 727-4692
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM

In addition to keeping their workers and customers safe during the COVID-19 crisis, employers must continue to follow the workplace protection laws in place for their employees.

Worker Rights

Sick Leave

Under the City’s paid sick leave law, covered employees have the right to use safe and sick leave for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member. The federal and state governments have also passed laws to protect workers. To learn more, visit the Paid Safe and Sick Leave page.

In addition to paid sick leave, employees may be eligible for 2 additional days of unpaid leave under NYC’s Temporary Schedule Change Law. For more information, visit the Temporary Work Schedule Change page.

Work Schedule Changes

Under the law, covered employees have a right to temporary changes to their work schedule for certain personal events. Learn more on the Temporary Work Schedule Change page.

Commuter Benefits Law

Most New York City companies with 20 or more full-time employees must provide pre-tax transit benefits. Learn more on the Commuter Benefits Law page. 

Work Protections for Specific Workers

Retail and Fast Food Workers

Retail and fast food employers must offer employees predictable work schedules and give advance notice of changes or cancelations. Learn more on the Fair Workweek Law page.

Fast food workers have the right to have payments deducted voluntarily from their paycheck and have those payments sent to a nonprofit of the worker’s choosing. Learn more on the Fast Food Deductions Law page.

Grocery Store Workers

After a grocery store is sold, the former owner and new owner must notify the store's workers about the change in ownership and their employment rights. For more information, visit the Grocery Store Sale Requirements page.

Paid Care Workers

Paid care workers include homecare and domestic workers such as:

  • Nannies
  • Caregivers
  • Home health aides
  • Personal care aides
  • Home attendants
  • House cleaners

You can learn about paid care worker rights, legal responsibilities for employers and get help with questions or complaints on the Paid Care Worker or Employer Assistance page.

Freelance Workers

You can learn about freelance worker rights, legal responsibilities for employers, and get help with questions or complaints, including contract disputes and payment issues on the Freelance Worker and Hiring Party Assistance page.

COVID-19 Discrimination

Employers cannot harass or discriminate against workers because of fears or stigma around COVID-19, including harassment or discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, national origin, disability, or other protected classes.

If this is happening to you, you can report it to the NYC Commission on Human Rights. Learn more on the Discrimination page.

Discrimination

It is illegal for business owners or staff at places of public accommodations, such as grocery stores, medical facilities, or restaurants, to kick customers out, refuse service, or otherwise treat customers less well than other customers because of fears or stigma around COVID-19. This includes harassment or discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, national origin, disability, or other protected classes.

Learn more about the law and how to report discrimination on the Discrimination page.

Price Gouging

Price gouging is illegal for any personal or household good or any service that is needed to prevent or limit the spread of or treat the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

Examples include:

  • Cleaning products
  • Disinfectants (wipes, liquids, sprays)
  • Face masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Medicines

Learn more on the Overcharge page.

Other Rules and Regulations

You can get information about City, county, State, and Federal business regulations through the NYC Business website.

NYC Small Business Services (SBS) can provide you with information on securing financing for your business, including resources from Federal, State, and City programs.

If you would like to receive updates about any new local, state or federal financial assistance programs that become available or other information to help your business during this crisis, you can also sign up to receive updates from SBS.

Online

Learn about financial resources for business owners during COVID-19.

By Phone

  • Agency: Small Business Services
  • Division: NYC Business Restart Hotline
  • Phone Number: (888) 727-4692
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM

Restaurant Revitalization Program (RPP)

The Restaurant Revitalization Program (RPP) provides funds to restaurants to pay workers who have been unemployed or under-employed due to COVID-19.

Restaurant owners can apply by completing and submitting the Restaurant Revitalization Program application.

After the RPP Review Committee has reviewed your application, a representative may contact you with questions.

If you submit your application by June 19, 2020, you will receive a final decision starting June 26, 2020. Please note that it may take longer depending on any required follow-up.

This is a short-term program. Applications will be accepted until funding for RPP is no longer available.

If your restaurant is selected to participate in the program, the Human Resources Administration (HRA) will send you:

  • A detailed program manual
  • Documents that must be completed and sent back to receive the grant funding
  • The timeline for when the documents must be returned

Learn more about the Restaurant Revitalization Program.

If you have any questions about the RPP, please email them to WPPADMIN@hra.nyc.gov. The program will follow up with you within two business days.

Financial Counseling

NYC Financial Empowerment Centers now provide free one-on-one professional financial counseling over the phone. Counselors can help you separate personal and business finances and more during COVID-19.

Centers do not provide grants.

Learn more on the Financial Counseling page.

The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides small businesses with loans to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits.

The funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.

Loan Forgiveness

The loan will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs or interest on the above, but at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.

Eligibility

Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees are eligible. This includes:

  • Nonprofits
  • Veterans organizations
  • Tribal concerns
  • Self-employed individuals
  • Sole proprietorships
  • Independent contractors

Businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries.

How to Apply

You can apply through any SBA lender or any participating federally-insured bank, credit union, or Farm Credit System.

You should ask your local lender to find out if they are participating. All loans will have the same terms regardless of lender or borrower.

Find a list of participating SBA lenders.

Learn more about the Federal Paycheck Protection Program.

Get Help

NYC Small Business Services (SBS) is offering free technical assistance to business owners navigating the loan application process.

SBS can help you:

  • Understand which loan is best suited for your needs
  • Review and put together loan documents 
  • Calculate loan repayment terms 
  • Connect with multiple lenders – including banks, credit unions, non-profit lenders and the Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Prepare SBA loan forgiveness documents 
  • Understand loan payment deferment options

Online

Request help with a small business loan application.

By Phone

  • Agency: Small Business Services
  • Division: NYC Business Restart Hotline
  • Phone Number: (888) 727-4692
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM

You can get help running your business, including:

  • Reopening
  • Complying with regulations
  • Licensing, permits, and inspections
  • Legal assistance, including help reviewing or negotiating your commercial lease
  • Recruiting employees

Online

Visit the following pages for information:

By Phone

  • Agency: Small Business Services
  • Division: NYC Business Restart Hotline
  • Phone Number: (888) 727-4692
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM

Virtual Notary

An executive order by Governor Cuomo allows the temporary virtual notarization of documents that would normally have to be notarized in person.

The following are the conditions that must be met for virtual notarization:

  • The person seeking the Notary’s services, if not personally known to the Notary, must present valid photo ID to the Notary during the video conference, not merely transmit it prior to or after;
  • The video conference must allow for direct interaction between the person and the Notary (e.g. no pre-recorded videos of the person signing);
  • The person must affirmatively represent that he or she is physically situated in the State of New York;
  • The person must transmit by fax or electronic means a legible copy of the signed document directly to the Notary on the same date it was signed;
  • The notary may notarize the transmitted copy of the document and transmit the same back to the person; and,
  • The notary may repeat the notarization of the original signed document as of the date of execution provided the Notary receives such original signed document together with the electronically notarized copy within thirty days after the date of execution.

You can get help accessing personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer, and other supplies for your business. You can also get free face coverings for you and your employees.

The City is working with business-serving partner organizations to distribute face coverings to small businesses at pick-up sites.

Distribution partners can provide up to five face coverings per employee. These face coverings are for use by you and your employees, not your clients and customers.

Contact the partner organization in advance to confirm pick-up hours.

Online

Find a face covering pick-up site.

By Phone

  • Agency: Small Business Services
  • Division: NYC Business Restart Hotline
  • Phone Number: (888) 727-4692
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM