presented by Vision Long Island and the Long Island Main Street Alliance
April 17th, 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 500 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.
Wednesday Day 31 of the Coronavirus shutdown took us to the Village of Rockville Centre.
The Village of Rockville Centre, awarded Vision Long Island’s “Sense of Place” designation at the Smart Growth Awards in 2018, is a vibrant community with a thriving downtown. With the growth of downtown businesses and residential development, the Village has been able to both retain millennials and seniors alike. With beautiful parks and services, families are also drawn to this area, creating an urban suburban feel.
Recent economic impacts, resulting from the present pandemic, threatens Rockville Centre’s upward trajectory.
Like every downtown, the community is trying to weather the storm. “This administration continues to work to ensure public safety, prioritize health and welfare of our residents and reduce the circle of exposure of Covid 19 in our community,” says Francis Murray, Mayor of Village of Rockville Centre. “We are confident that as a community, we will whether these challenging times together as we always do.”
Downtown businesses are feeling the stress and the local Chamber is doing its best to remind the residents of the importance of supporting these businesses. “Our village is filled with passionate and unique merchants that give Rockville Centre its identity. Be sure to support the individuals whose expertise and homegrown experience make our business community so special. During these times they need us the most! Remember to shop local,” the Rockville Centre Chamber of Commerce advises.
The Chamber outlines various ways that residents can easily help support local businesses: Share their social media pages to improve their following; talk about them, word of mouth advertising is the best advertising; and buy gift cards to use a later date.
Below is a working list of restaurants offering pickup, take-out or curbside compiled by the Rockville Centre Chamber of Commerce. Please call and ask any local businesses about their offerings.
CJ’s Coffee Shop
Front Street Bakery
Kollner’s Prime Meats
Pipeline Coffee Co
Polka Dot Pound Cake
The Wild Feast Café
Village Cheese Merchants
Vines & Branches RVC
Zora’s Hala Grill
Patchogue, Babylon Business Owner Provides Free Meals for Healthcare Workers
“One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others.” - Lewis Carroll
Restaurant owner and Babylon resident John Murray, owner of Kilwins in Babylon and Patchogue, and The Hero Joint in Patchogue, has stepped up in a big way to deliver food to frontline healthcare workers on the overnight shifts.
Murray, who began helping out by sending lunch and dinner to local healthcare workers, quickly became aware that the frontline workers who work the nightshifts were not being fed. "My sister-in-law is an overnight nurse who had no food to eat,” Murray explains. “She had to eat an ice-cream sandwich for breakfast at 1:00am.” It was then that Murray decided to help feed overnight healthcare workers at hospitals across Long Island during the coronavirus pandemic. And that’s exactly what he, and his crew, are doing in the dead of night.
With a band of volunteers, Murray delivers food to multiple hospitals, including Syosset Hospital, North Shore University Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, Southside Hospital, Stony Brook University Hospital, St. Francis, Mercy Medical Center, South Nassau/Mount Sinai, St. Catherine of Sienna and Long Island Community Hospital.
"The goal is to pull up at 1 AM with as much nutritious food as possible,” Murray states. "I just want to feed as many people as I can. These are the people trying to save lives and they really should be nourished so they can fight."
Thousands of healthcare workers have already been fed, with thousands more to come. “You ain’t seen nothing yet. The pedal is to the metal,” Murray promises.
A Go Fund Me site has been set up, Feed The Nurses (PM Shift), raising to date over $14,000. All money raised goes towards purchasing products such as yogurt, granola bars, fresh fruit and pastries, to be delivered to hospital nightshift workers. Donations of money and food are rolling in. Goldman Sachs as even recently “adopted” two hospitals. “Big thanks to them,” Murray states, “As a finance major, this is about as cool as it gets.”
Appreciation, respect and thanks to all our healthcare warriors and champions, such as John Murray and his army of volunteers, who care for them.
Pink Tie Delivers Makes First Drop Off
Despite awful news on multiple fronts, Vision Long Island was excited to be a part of the newly launched Pink Tie delivery service.
PinkTie Delivers is a program that will pick up food donations that gets them to local pantries in hard hit communities in Nassau and Suffolk. With the help of the limo company Late Night Chauffers, PinkTie volunteers will pick up food donations from people’s doorsteps and deliver them to food pantries across Long Island. The service will pick up donations in Woodbury, Syosset, Bethpage, Hicksville, Melville, Huntington, and Farmingdale. The locations that will receive food include Pastor Roger Blackmore of Genesis Church Food Pantry, Pastor Charles Roberts of Salvation Army Nassau, Mastic Beach Food Pantry, and the Babylon Food Pantry.
“Anything we do always stays here in the local communities,” said Pink Tie Founder Rich Cave. “We want to see that direct impact. There’s nothing more important that we can think of doing right now than this."
The donations must be a minimum of one bag and include non-perishable food items and cleaning supplies. Pick-ups will only be made Monday through Friday from noon to 4 pm. The first drop was at the Salvation Army Hempstead Center with our good friend Captain Charles Roberts, who has been pulling together food for his center and the other Salvation Army locations.
“At one point our pantry was actually empty,” said Pastor Charles Roberts. “We know that it’s not over and we’re still in it. We’re fighting. We’re praying. We’ve been here. We will be here. We’ll still be here.”"
It is so important that: 1) corporate philanthropy start to emerge through this Coronavirus shutdown and 2) that the resources go directly to local communities. With this program, both of those are achieved.
A big thank you to Pink Tie and Late Night Chauffeurs for getting it done. Special thanks to Danielle Campbell and her team at News 12 for the thoughtful and timely coverage.
You can donate or volunteer here.
Governor Cuomo Announces Extension of Shutdown to May 15th
The following is yesterday's update from the Governor's website:
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced all NYS on Pause restrictions and closures will be extended until May 15th. This action is taken in consultation with other regional states. The states will re-evaluate after this additional closure period.
Governor Cuomo also directed all New Yorkers to wear masks or face coverings on public transportation systems and while taking private transportation or riding in for-hire vehicles. Additionally, all operators of public systems, private carriers and for-hire vehicles must wear a mask or face covering at all times while working. These directives expand on the Executive Order announced by the Governor yesterday requiring all people in New York to wear a mask or a face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. The Executive Order will go into effect on Friday, April 17th, at 8 PM.
The Governor also announced the state will give 100 ventilators to New Jersey. Yesterday the Governor announced the state will give 100 ventilators to Michigan and 50 ventilators to Maryland.
"Unpausing New York and reopening our economy is going to be an ongoing process over the coming weeks that we're working through with other states, but we have to do it in a way that doesn't drive up the infection rate and create a second wave of the virus," Governor Cuomo said. "We have shown that we can control the spread of the virus, but we can't now undo all the progress we've made. As we continue to work on a regional plan to get people back to work and get businesses back up and running in a safe and responsible way, we are extending all NYS on Pause functions until May 15th in coordination with other states in our multi-state council because although we can control the beast, we need to get that infection rate down even more and we are not there yet."
Finally, the Governor confirmed 8,505 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 222,284 confirmed cases in New York State.
You can watch the full press briefing here.
Today's press conference included the following key points:
• Appears more and more likely that we have hit the apex of the health crisis.
• Hospitalizations, ICU Admissions, and Intubations are all down.
• Unfortunately, number of new cases remain high at about 2,000 per day, which has hovered around that number for weeks.
• Number of deaths yesterday was 630, which is also still too high.
• A plan is being put in place to “un-pause” New York.
• Won’t be back to normal without a vaccine or some sort of medical treatment, but could be up to ayear away.
• Will be an incremental process in the meantime governed by a phase-in period.
• Must control the rate of infection, strengthen the healthcare system, and work with the federal government before we can return to what will be a new normal.
• Phase 1 is where are at with an estimated infection rate of about 1.4 people being infected for every case of COVID-19, and the state is now working ramped up the hospital system to absorb any spikes.
• Phase 2 will need to bring the infection rate down to below 1 person for every infection and will need to involve testing, tracing, and isolating in order to control further spread.
• The state will also need to stabilize its finances after this as the coffers are being drained thanks to the response.
• A chain o public and private labs are currently working to perform tests at an increased level in order to identify and trace new cases.
• Governor Cuomo is issuing an executive order to ensure prioritizing of diagnostic testing for public health and restarting the economy.
You can watch the full briefing here.
This morning Newsdy and the LIA hosted a webinar with Senator Chuck Schumer regarding COVID-19 legislation.
Schumer described what was in the last bill (referred to as COVID 3), as well as what they are working on for the next bill (COVID 4). In the next bill, which they are hoping to have approved in the beginning of May, they are hoping to fix some of the problems that happened with the previous one. This included the difficulty for many small business owners to receive funding through the Paycheck Protection Plan. They are negotiating a separate funding stream of $125 billion that will be geared towards small businesses so they aren’t in direct competition with larger small businesses for funding. This would include all non-profits, religious institutions, self-employed and “gig” workers.
"Mostly this virus is different because it isolates us," said Senator Schumer during the webinar. "We’re New Yorkers, we like to come together and be with one another. We can’t here. We want to make sure that Long Islanders at every rung of society and the companies that employ them, get significant and rapid infusion of money."
In addition, they are developing a more robust unemployment program to cover full salaries up to $75,000/year until July 31st and allocating funding for state and local governments whose budgets have been devastated over the past few weeks. The federal government is also looking to expand this to include towns and villages as well as the counties who should be receiving $250 million each. New York State would receive $10 billion, including $1 billion for education, $4 billion for the MTA, and $5 billion for the state as needed.
A future bill (COVID 5) will focus on long term economic recovery and would likely include infrastructure stimulus funding among other types. The biggest concern by those on the call was the need for businesses to access cash immediately since many cannot wait weeks for grants or loans that may come in the future. The EIDL $10000 advance was quickly depleted, and they are working to get additional funding to extend that as well.
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, email@example.com 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.
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
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