presented by Vision Long Island and the Long Island Main Street Alliance
April 13th, 2020
Quotes of Day
Helping Main Street through the
At this time of uncertainty, we are beginning to see a number of downtowns being shuttered as bars, restaurants, and any place where multiple people congregate are running up against fears of and caution at spreading the Coronavirus. While this is a socially responsible action that will help to save lives, in the short term these actions are having a number of adverse effects on our local communities.
Vision Long Island and Long Island Main Street Alliance members have collected a number of experiences from local restaurants and service businesses, but before we go into that we would like to encourage everyone reading this to find a way to responsibly patronize local establishments. Many stores are offering curbside pickup or online shopping to help them get through this difficult time. And your favorite restaurants are also currently open for business with takeout available.
We also urge you to consider gift cards in order to purchase something at a later date for yourself, or perhaps to give as a present.
Local shops are in a capable position to provide you with what you need in the short-term. Many will also be willing to accommodate you if you contact them ahead of time with requests that will minimize contact and help to lower the spread of this virus.
Vision has connected to over 425 small businesses in over 45 downtowns as they weather the economic storm through the Coronavirus. We encourage people to responsibly patronize these and other open establishments who need your help in this time of crisis.
Many of these businesses have been there for local organizations and philanthropy - they now need our support.
In the meantime, here is the featured downtown for today.
For a complete list of downtowns profiles, please check out our website here.
Day 28 of the Coronavirus economic shutdown was Easter Sunday and for many years this weekend would have Main Streets and local parks populated with Easter Bunnies giving out candy, Easter Egg hunts and other family gatherings. Chocolate shops and bakeries would be bustling with orders, churches would be filled and caterers were working overtime to handle family gatherings.
This year traditional Easter themed events were shut down but many villages and downtown districts found ways to keep the spirit alive.
In Valley Stream the Easter Bunny was at the park for folks to see but families stayed in their cars. In Lynbrook the Easter bunny delivered candy from a vehicle but no gathering was held. In Sayville the Easter bunny appeared on Saturday but from a safe distance.
An Easter Egg hunt continued in Huntington with an Egg Hunt Trail through Cold Spring Harbor, Huntington, Centerport and Northport. The City of Glen Cove held a "Spring Egg Hunt to Go". Lakeview held a virtual egg hunt. The Village of Port Jefferson held socially distant Easter Bunny events as well.
All sorts of individual acts of kindness happened. Anonymous folks painted rocks with rainbows and messages of hope and love and placed them at shops around Main Street in Northport.
There was private sector generosity too.... many local chocolatiers and bakeries made donations to folks in need. Chocolate Works in Plainview donated activity kits for the holiday to food pantries in Hempstead and Medford.
Many religious denominations found a way to connect their followers to services virtually. Families under stay at home orders found ways to connect to family members and friends. We can only speculate but a fair amount of praying has been happening given the health, economic and social stress and pain folks are going through.
Great to see the Easter spirit and the holiday spirit from all faiths keep Long Islanders going.
Day 27 of the Coronavirus economic shutdown brings us to the hamlet of East Meadow.
East Meadow is a thriving community with many small businesses serving a large population. The Chamber of Commerce, Council of East Meadow Community Organizations (Cemco), and fraternal organizations all collaborate with the library, school district and emergency services to serve the community. They have access to Nassau University Medical Center, multiple adjacent colleges and are home to Eisenhower Park which is the central park of Nassau County.
Before the Coronavirus the Chamber of Commerce would convene over 100 restaurants for a Culinary Delights fundraiser to show the diversity of offerings in the community.
After the Coronavirus like most community business districts many businesses are shuttered.
The residents and shopowners have come together in a number of charitable endeavors. Residents have pulled together to feed hospital workers and local food pantries. The Chamber is assisting as well
"Over the last three weeks the chamber has launched a program to bring the Chamber and the Community together to support our essential workers, first responders and hard working small business owners,” said Richard Krug, President, East Meadow Chamber of Commerce.
East Meadow Chamber of Commerce, also hopes to help local businesses stay afloat by letting them know about programs like the federal government’s Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
“We’ve been hosting virtual meetings to talk about the small business loan process and what that’s like,” said Richie Krug.
The Zoom videoconferences began as a way for chamber members to share ideas and how they’ve been coping during the pandemic. They have also encouraged the community to patronize the local businesses that are open.
Here is a selection of businesses that are open for takeout or delivery:
Amia’s Delicatessan & Catering
The Bagel Place
Borrelli’s Italian Family Restaurant
Brooklyn Dip Burger
The Greene Turtle
The Halal Guys
La Novella Ristorante
Mama Theresa’s of East Meadow
Pietro’ Pizza & Italian Restaurant
Qdoba Mexican Eats
Sal’s Lunch Box
Sobel East Meadow
Spice & Curry Kebab & Grill
Friday Day 26 of the Coronavirus economic shutdown takes is to downtown Bethpage.
Bethpage is a tight knit community that features strong schools, a plethora of community, business and service organizations, local parks and Bethpage State Park. Their downtown business district is at a scale to service their immediate community and has commercial development and housing clustered in walking distance to their active train station.
In recent years they have been working successfully with NYS and other levels of government to fight pollution from the former Grumman facility. Simultaneously there has been an effort to revitalize their downtown and train station area led by the Bethpage Chamber of Commerce and Bethpage Community Council.
While many businesses are shuttered and working remotely, the streets are often lively with ‘socially distant’ walkers and bicyclists as they make their way around normally bustling streets and pathways to the adjacent Bethpage State Park.
The Chamber of Commerce strives to be a conduit of information to promote the restaurants and delicatessens that are open for take out and delivery, as well as constantly updating our members of the ever changing landscape of programs and loans available to small business owners.
Many groups and organizations band together to help out those in need. BK Sweeney’s partnered with Campagne House, Pappardelles Pizza, The Bethpage Fire Department, Ciminelli’s Pizza, C21 Catapano Homes, Zorn’s of Bethpage, Broadway Deli and the Lostritto Family of Steel Equities in running ‘Operation Hope’ which is an ongoing event to collect food and money for the food pantry of St. Martin of Tours Ministry, where there is so much need in these trying times.
Many clubs and organizations such as Kiwanis and the Bethpage Community Council and Bethpage School District all helped to promote and get the word out.
There have been other initiatives such as Pappardelles Pizza’s ‘Feeding First Responders’ and countless other random acts of kindness and collections.
“Like many ‘Hometowns’ we have banded together to help each other through, because it’s always in our darkest days that the Bethpage Light burns brightest! We pray for each other and all our friends and neighbors across the region to be strong, remain positive and stay well, “ said Teri Catapano Black, President, Bethpage Chamber of Commerce
Here are some of the independent businesses that remain open for takeout and delivery:
A&A Italian Deli
Print Shop Making Signs for Open Businesses
Agora Graphics, a Bohemia based custom print production house, understands the importance of signs, and have been giving them away.
“For small businesses across the world, the COVD-19 crisis has presented a set of challenges unlike any other. As a grassroots business ourselves, we fully understand the stress of uncertainty, but we’ve decided to channel our energy towards a more positive end,” the Company explains.
In order to help small businesses on Long Island’s Main Streets, the company has been providing WE ARE OPEN banners to local restaurants. Sales representatives Larry Farrell and Marc Zeller visited over 200 restaurants, dropping off signs for windows and doors. They traveled through Bay Shore, Patchogue, Hauppauge, Ronkonkoma, Nesconset, Smithtown and Commack.
“Every business was quite grateful and after driving past a couple of days later, the vast majority were displaying the signs as intended,” Larry Farrell observed.
If any business wants a sign, they are still available. Simply register on the company’s webpage and a free WE ARE OPEN vinyl sign will be shipped.
“It's just our small way of paying back to our local Main Street businesses,” Farrell says. The Company’s generosity is their way of giving back to the community they proudly call home.
Kudos to the entire team at Agora Graphics.
Governor Cuomo Briefs on Progress in fight against Coronavirus, Plans to Re-Open Economy
Governor Cuomo’s hit a few key points in his briefing earlier today:
• The numbers show that the curve is beginning to flatten and that we are at the beginning of a plateau, but unclear how long that will last before decline.
• Total number of hospitalizations is falling as is the net change in ICU admissions.
• Intubations are also falling, which is good news as that is usually the worst case scenario.
• NYC and Long Island remain hot spots though they are stabilizing.
• Unfortunately, people are still dying, with 671 new deaths reported on Easter Sunday, driving the total number of deaths to 10,056 New Yorkers.
• New York remains the most affected state in the US by the numbers.
• Reopening is a concern, but it will be a delicate balance and no one really knows how to do it since this situation is unprecedented.
• Warning signs are there from other countries that have tried to reopen and seen a spike in cases.
• Objectives will be to ease isolation, increase economic activity, recalibrate “essential worker” economy, apply more testing and precautions, and putting safeguards in place to not increase infection rates.
• The reopening plan will be designed by experts and designed with New York and geographic neighbors to coordinate economic, transportation, schools, and other institutions to work in concert.
• Will need help from the federal government to reopen.
• This has been an extraordinary point in history and efforts are working but we need to stay the course to honor all of those who are making sacrifices for the good of all of us during this time.
You can watch Governor Cuomo’s full briefing from today here.
Here is Governor Cuomo’s message from yesterday, printed from his official website:
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he will issue an Executive Order directing employers to provide essential workers with cloth or surgical masks free of charge to wear when directly interacting with the public.
Governor Cuomo also announced he will issue an Executive Order to expand eligibility of individuals to conduct antibody tests to help ensure as many New Yorkers as possible have access to antibody testing as the state continues to bring this critical testing to scale. The State previously provided labs with the flexibility to allow more workers to do testing for COVID-19; this executive order expands that authority so the same workers can perform antibody tests.
The Governor also joined National Governors Association Chair, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in a bipartisan effort calling for $500 billion in aid to states. The federal CARES Act contained zero funding to offset drastic state revenue shortfalls. The Governor also reiterated his call for the Federal government to repeal SALT.
Earlier today, Governor Cuomo returned ventilators to the Pathways Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Niskayuna. Pathways Nursing home made an unsolicited contribution of these lifesaving machines to New York State as part of the ongoing efforts against COVID-19. The Governor also delivered cookies for staff and nursing home residents baked by his daughters.
"The big question for everyone right now is when do we reopen the economy, but first we need to make sure we have a smart, safe and coordinated plan in place to do it without risking public health," Governor Cuomo said. "The keys to reopening the economy are continuing to limit the spread of the virus and ramping up antibody testing. I am going to issue two executive orders - one directing employers to provide essential workers with a mask to wear when they are interacting with the public, and one to expand the number of people who are eligible to conduct the antibody test. These measures will be key to getting people back to work and making sure they are protected when they do go back."
Finally, the Governor confirmed 8,236 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 188,694 confirmed cases in New York State.
NICE Bus and Suffolk Transit still Transporting Riders during time of Crisis
In spite of the risk in the ongoing health crisis, NICE Bus and Suffolk transit are both still providing much-needed services to riders during the pandemic.
Even with a shrinking in the numbers of daily riders, NICE bus is still seeing about a third of its usual riders and Suffolk Transit about half. At the same time, Long Island Railroad has lost almost 97% of its usual ridership. These numbers seemingly demonstrate a need for the bus system for workers who are on the frontlines of the epidemic and providing needed services.
“They’re grocery store workers. They’re home health care aides. They’re the kind of people who need to be on the bus, and their work requires them to physically be somewhere,” said Nick Sifuentes, executive director for Tri-State Transportation Director. “These are the folks who are the most exposed on the front lines of the crisis.”
The average bus rider has a household income less than $50,000, making the need to retain their jobs even more necessary as the economic crisis deepens.
NICE Bus is also working to keep drivers separated from riders with the first six rows roped off with riders entering the bus at the rear of the vehicle. They will also monitor to see if a route is starting to become crowded and will dispatch extra buses to try and keep too many riders from boarding the same vehicle. Finally, NICE Bus has suspended the needs for fares so as to minimize contact while Suffolk Transit is encouraging riders to use its app to pay before boarding. Both systems are also disinfecting busses on a regular basis.
“We just made the decision to be the most equitable possible and remove all the barriers and to go fare free,” said NICE Bus CEO Jack Khzouz. “Yes, it does have a major effect on our operating budget as we go forward … but, currently, right now, safety is the most important thing.”
You can read more at Newsday.
Paycheck Protection Program for Small Businesses Goes into Effect
The US Department of Treasury has released guidelines for small businesses seeking relief from payroll costs during the Coronavirus pandemic. This program called the Paycheck Protection Program, will provide small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. 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. All loans under this program will have an interest rate of 0.5%, maturity of 2 years, be 100% guaranteed by the SBA, and the first payment will be deferred for 6 months.
Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors— are eligible. Businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries. Maximum loan amounts will be up to $10 million.
People can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating. All loans will have the same terms regardless of lender or borrower. A list of participating lenders as well as additional information and full terms can be found at www.sba.gov.
Small Businesses Urged to Apply for SBA Loans
There are still a lot of questions in regards to the impact of the Federal aid package on small businesses.
Here is the latest fact sheets from US Congresswoman Kathleen Rice that outlines the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (here) and the SBA’s Paycheck Program Loan with the updated guidelines (here). Congressman Lee Zeldin recently had an SBA representative encourage folks to apply for loans no matter what.
In the meantime, there has been an effort to encourage small businesses to work to apply for loans asap. The LI Main Street Alliance and the Nassau & Suffolk Chambers are working to get information out to the small business community to help as much as possible.
Newsday and the LIA are both hosting, and will continue to host, video conferences on a range of business resources as well.
This past Friday morning, the Queens Chamber of Commerce hosted a webinar for businesses to learn how to apply for SBA loans. Man-Li Lin, from the New York District office of the U.S. Small Business Administration presented information to explain how to apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This information is subject to change as the situation remains fluid. The local Small Business Development Centers at Farmingdale State College (here) and Stony Brook University (here) will have new information as updates occur.
While SBA loans are typically only available for small businesses, during a declared national disaster, they are also available for private not for profit entities as well. Most small businesses and non-profits are eligible except for businesses relating to gambling, religious organizations, investment or lending companies, charitable organizations, speculative activities, or agricultural enterprises.
Loans of up to $2 million are available with no payments for 12 months. They can be used to pay expenses such as fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, or other bills affected by the disaster. Interest rates are 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for private non-profits and long term repayments for COVID crisis will be 30 years. Loans cannot be used for lost revenue, just for expenses. Typically, businesses are not eligible if they are able to secure credit elsewhere. However, they are currently allowing applications without denial letters from other lenders.
There is no cost to apply and no obligation to take the loan if it is offered. The amount of the loan application should reflect six months of operating expenses. Documentation of a typical months expenses is required. Businesses are eligible even if they already have a previous SBA loan, disaster loan or other types of SBA loans. Loans over $25000 require collateral, but won’t be denied simply for lack of collateral, they will require a pledge of what is available. Criteria for approval will include eligibility, credit history and the ability to repay.
US Small Business Administration
Processing and Disbursement Center
You can also contact the SBA disaster customer service center at 1-800-659-2955, firstname.lastname@example.org or TTY:1-800-877-8339. They recommend email as the best way to get in touch with someone. If applicants are receiving a 404 error, they recommend clearing your cache and trying again.
Upcoming Webinars for Small Businesses Seeking Relief Loans
While this process is still evolving, businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible and provide all required documentationfor relief loans from the Small Business Administration. Representatives from the SBA will follow up with questions.
Webinars will be held to help guide businesses through the application process, the times are as follows:
April 14th, 12 pm to 1 pm. Zoom link here. Phone number: 1-929-436-2866
April 15th, 9:30 am to 11:30 am. Zoom link here. Phone number: 1-929-436-2866
US Representative Kathleen Rice to host Informational Conference Call with SBA on April 14th
Please join Representative Kathleen Rice for an Informational Conference Call with the Small Business Administration tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14th, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 noon.
To join in the conference call please dial 516-517-4848. Long Island SBA Branch Manager Robert Piechots will be available to answer questions about your concerns with the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program.
If you have any questions, please contact Representative Rice’s Garden City Office at NY04.RSVP@mail,house.gov or (516) 739-3008.
CDC Guidelines on Coronavirus Prevention
As concern about the ever-expanding impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) grows, we can minimize or prevent the spread of coronavirus by taking these steps:
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.
For more information see the CDC website or call the NY State Coronavirus hotline to speak with a representative 888-364-3065
Our Daily Sponsor
Cronin & Cronin Law Firm, PLLC
Cronin & Cronin specializes in Tax Certiorari, protesting the real property tax assessments and condemnation for commercial properties throughout New York State. They have over 75 years of legal experience in New York State.
Theirr success in the field of Tax Certiorari is due to their reputation for honesty, integrity and excellence. Because of their reputation, as well as their extensive knowledge and years of experience in property matters, they have established a positive relationship with the various municipalities.
We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to email@example.com for consideration.
If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.
Vision Long Island