The State Senate recently approved a package of bills designed to support small businesses that have suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Michael V. Cusenza
The State Senate recently approved a package of bills designed to support small businesses that have suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) noted.
The package of bills include:
- S.471A: Establishes the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Business Act to protect small businesses with COVID-19 related financial hardships from eviction and foreclosure until May 1.
- S.1630A: Prohibits any third party food delivery platform from listing, selling or advertising products of any food service establishment without a written agreement with them.
- S.1554B: Creates a maximum limit for the total fee that can be charged to a food service establishment by a third-party food delivery service (such as Grubhub, Seamless, Postmates, Doordash, etc.).
- S.18A: Creates a requirement for the Department of Labor to increase their efforts to provide information to employers about shared work program eligibility and have information available on the Department’s website. The shared work program can help reduce layoffs and is fully funded by the federal CARES Act during the pandemic.
- S.1197: Freezes New York State’s unemployment insurance experience rating for one year for layoffs and closures that occurred due to COVID-19. This action will prevent significant increases in costs to employers who have experienced higher unemployment rates in 2020.
- S.1042A: Establishes a system of partial-unemployment. This would shift the current calculation that any day of work leads to a 25% reduction in benefits, and instead would reduce benefits by an amount proportional with the amount earned. This legislation will help incentivize part-time work by reducing the disincentive that a day of work will lead to a disproportionate reduction of benefits.
“I support these bills with my local businesses and their workers in mind, knowing that more needs to be done. The bills are intended to help employers, workers, and families move toward economic recovery. As businesses continue to face significant financial stress from the COVID pandemic, we will continue working to ensure they survive now so they can thrive later,” Addabbo said.
After passing the Senate, the package of bills were delivered to the Assembly for consideration.
Additionally, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards in partnership with the City and Pursuit Lending, announced the launch of the Queens Small Business Grant Program to provide resources to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Through a generous $17.5 million donation from Steve Cohen, the City will partner with community-based organizations to offer $15 million worth of grants to Queens small businesses in need up to $20,000 to support operational expenses.
Eligible applicants must:
- Be located in Queens
- Operate as a first-floor storefront business, a second-floor restaurant, or a street vendor
- Employed 20 or fewer full-time equivalent employees in 2019
- Earned gross revenue of less than $1 million in 2019 or less than $3 million if a restaurant
- Have no tax liens or unresolved judgment
- Generated a profit or came close to breaking-even in 2019