COVID-19 Business Bulletin: 3/20/20

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.  You can also visit our Resources & Impacts for Businesses Page – it is being regularly updated to provide you the most up-to-date information.

Additional Details on Workforce Reduction Mandate:

There is now more clarity on Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order mandating that employers reduce their onsite workforce by 75 percent.

This is what we know:

  • The original EO mandating reduction to 50% takes effect TODAY – Friday 3/20/20 at 8PM
  • The expanded 75% reduction mandate takes effect TOMORROW – Saturday 3/21 at 8PM
  • Mandated reduction goes to 100% – Sunday evening per the Governor
  • This mandate applies to both profit and non-profit employers
  • Employers are strongly encouraged to have employees work from home where and when possible
  • NEW: The EO contains a list of essential businesses that are exempt from the mandatory reduction.  These essential businesses include: essential health care operations, essential infrastructure, essential manufacturing, essential retail, essential services, news media, financial institutions, providers of basic necessities, construction and defense. Click here to see the full list of essential businesses and services. 

NEW: If your business is not included in the link above but you believe it is essential or provides essential services, you can request designation from Empire State Development as an essential business by clicking here.

The EO provides for Empire State Development (ESD) to deem other employers essential.  ESD will be providing additional guidance and is accepting questions here. You can also e-mail questions here


U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loans Now Available:

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) approved New York State’s recent Economic Injury Disaster Declaration request in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic’s vast financial impact on the private sector.

Under the federal Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020, emergency loans are now available to small businesses in all New York State counties. Below, please find a summary of available SBA resources and contact information for assistance.

Disaster loan applications can be submitted online on the SBA Covid-19 Response Website. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership encourages local businesses to review the loan details and direct questions to the national SBA disaster assistance customer service center 1-800-659-2955 / or the local Small Business Development Center at 716-878-4030 /

  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • More detailed information is available via the SBA Disaster Loan Fact Sheet  and the SBA’s Covid-19 Response Website.

We will continue to follow up as more information becomes available.  Given the fluidity of this situation, please feel free to reach out to us with questions at and even more importantly, if you are willing to share best practices.


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