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COVID-19 Business Bulletin: 3/18/20

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 our community, state and nation.  This communication will be the first in a frequent series from the Partnership.

Our resource page is being regularly updated to provide you the most up-to-date information.  In addition, employers need to be aware of the following developments:

MAJOR UPDATE:

The Governor has just announced that employers across NYS must keep 50% of their employees home at any given time for the foreseeable future. Essential services are excluded and the state will be posting a list of essential services shortly.

Paid Sick Leave

Today the New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo will approve time off policies for employees under precautionary or mandatory quarantine. These policies are effective immediately.

  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees must provide unpaid leave to an employee under quarantine
  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees with $1 million or more in income in the previous year must provide 5 days of paid sick leave to an employee under quarantine
  • Employers with 11-99 employees must provide 5 days of paid sick leave to an employee under quarantine
  • Employers with 100 or more employees must provide 14 days of paid sick leave to an employee under quarantine

In cases where the paid leave does not cover the full quarantine period, an employee is eligible for paid family leave and disability benefits that currently exist in New York State.

SBA Loans  

The COVID-19 outbreak is obviously placing a tremendous hardship on all employers, especially small businesses.  It is anticipated that Buffalo Niagara small businesses will be eligible for low-interest SBA disaster loans to help cover working capital needs in the very near future.  New York has applied for a disaster declaration to access these loans and is awaiting federal approval.  Learn more about the loan program and how to apply here and the Partnership will update members when New York has been approved.  If you think you will consider applying for an SBA loan, let us know by emailing us at connect@thepartnership.org.  We will provide alerts and may be able to connect you with technical assistance for your loan application.

NYS Budget

Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature must also address a new state budget despite the COVID-19 outbreak.  As a founding member of Unshackle Upstate, we have encouraged the Governor and Legislative leaders to pass a spending bill and leave all policy unrelated to COVID-19 for another day.  This is not the time for New York State to adopt new policies and employer mandates.

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