COVID-19 / Coronavirus Information and Updates

COVID-19 Resources for Businesses and Individuals

Last updated on April 1, 2020 01:39 pm

Open for Business in Allegany County

Parts of our local business community are “open for business” even if it isn’t “business as usual.”  Please consider supporting our local open businesses and enjoy shopping from home – take a look at the list of businesses that remain open and ready to serve you: http://alleganychamber.org/MemberDirectory/OpenforBusiness.aspx

If you are a business that is open and want to be included on the list, please email info@alleganychamber.org and include the following information:
  • Business Name
  • Type of Business (Restaurant, Essential Business or E-Commerce Business)
  • Address
  • Website 

The Greater Allegany County Chamber of Commerce will be updating business information regularly.  If you’re on the open list and that status changes, please update us so we may remove your listing. 

Resources for Businesses

FEMA Recovery

    • FEMA is offering disaster recovery funds to local governments, non-profits and healthcare facilities that meet the necessary criteria they’ve provided. There are several webx calls being held on April 1 and April 2, 2020 with times listed here. Please note at this time they are not being offered to private businesses or individuals. Those who do not qualify should contact the SBA for information regarding assistance programs listed below.
    • FEMA is also offering an online training that will help participants understand how to use federal funds during an emergency. FEMA Training Opportunity
    • A fact sheet has been provided for those who are utilizing contracted resources: FEMA Fact Sheet
    • The original briefing announcement can be found here: Applicant Briefings For Public Assistance – NFPs and Local Government

Small Business Administration Loans

      • The SBA works directly with Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
      • The process by which a state becomes eligible for SBA disaster loan assistance is through a Governor’s request and formal certification of business impact. SBA Field Operations staff and state Emergency Management divisions work through this process together to support the official disaster declaration request.
        • When a request is submitted and approved, SBA public information officers and District Office staff work with the state to announce the opportunity. SBA will then post a link on their website for small businesses to apply for economic injury disaster loans (EIDL).
        • As of March 17, New York has applied for a disaster designation for all counties impacting the 23rd Congressional District and is awaiting approval. 3 New York counties have been designated disaster areas (Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester) as contiguous to Connecticut.
      • Resources:

Internal Revenue Service/Department of Treasury

    • 90 day deferral for tax payments, up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for corporations, with no interest and no penalties.
    • On March 17, the IRS also alerted its employees that effective immediately, the IRS will stop some enforcement actions, including certain levies and collection notices, until further notice.
    • Covid-19 dedicated IRS webpage: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Resources for Individuals

Unemployment Benefits – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”) 

  • On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”) to provide nearly $2 trillion of support to families and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • CARES expands unemployment insurance benefits (“UI benefits”) through the Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act.
    • Please note that some of these UI benefits also extend to the self-employed and independent contractors, two types of worker not typically covered by UI benefits.
    • These benefits are not available to those who can work remotely or already are receiving paid leave benefits, including those benefits available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • Expansion of Benefits:
    • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – $600 Additional Weekly Benefit:
      • CARES provides an addition $600 per week benefit to certain employees receiving UI benefits. Under this expansion, individuals who ordinarily would qualify for unemployment compensation benefits under State law are entitled to both: (1) the regular amount of compensation available under State law, as well as (2) an additional flat-fee amount of $600 per week, which is referred as “Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.”
    • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation – Up to 13 Additional Weeks of Unemployment Compensation:
      • New Yorkers are eligible for 26 weeks of UI benefits under State law. CARES provides an additional 13 weeks of UI benefits as Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
  • Resources:

Internal Revenue Service/Department of Treasury

  • On March 17, the Treasury Department announced a 90 day deferral for tax payments, up to $1 million for individuals, with no interest and no penalties.
  • On March 17, the IRS also alerted its employees that effective immediately, the IRS will stop some enforcement actions, including certain levies and collection notices, until further notice.
  • Covid-19 dedicated IRS webpage: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Nutrition Assistance

  • On March 14, the House passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The Senate is expected to pass the legislation this week. The bill includes:
    • $500 million in emergency funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.
    • $400 million for the Commodity Assistance Program for the emergency food assistance program (TEFAP), $100 million of which could be used for costs related to the distribution of goods.
  • SNAP Benefits for Kids: If a school is closed for at least five consecutive days because of a coronavirus-related public health emergency, states could adjust their SNAP to provide additional aid to households with children eligible for free or reduced price school meals.
  • SNAP Work Requirements: The bill would waive federal work requirements for SNAP eligibility. The waiver would begin the first full month after the bill is enacted and terminate at the end of the first full month after a federal coronavirus-related emergency declaration is lifted.
    • State-imposed work requirements would not be changed, but a person’s participation in SNAP during the emergency could not be counted for determining compliance with work requirements.
  • Other SNAP Benefits: States that make their own emergency or disaster declarations related to Covid-19 could request emergency allotments of food aid to support increased participation in SNAP and address temporary food needs.
  • Meal Program Waivers: The bill allows USDA to waive statutory requirements for several food programs to ensure that meals can be provided during the emergency and to implement safety measures related to preventing the spread of Covid-19. It would allow nationwide waivers of eligible National School Lunch ProgramSchool Breakfast ProgramChild and Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food Service Program requirements.
    • The department could waive nutritional content requirements and rules to provide meals through the Child and Adult Care Food Program in group settings.
    • Waivers related to Covid-19 that increase the cost to the federal government for school meals would be allowed.
  • WIC Waivers: The measure would allow states to request waivers for the requirement that The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) recipients certify their eligibility in person and for deferring biometric and bloodwork requirements. USDA could also modify or waive WIC administrative requirements that a state can’t meet due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

COVID-19 Employee Leave Policies

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick or family leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date on April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick time at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and
  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Covered Employers: The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.[1] Most employees of the federal government are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by this Act, and are therefore not covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA. However, federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act are covered by the paid sick leave provision.

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

Eligible Employees: All employees of covered employers are eligible for two weeks of paid sick time for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Employees employed for at least 30 days are eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave to care for a child under certain circumstances related to COVID-19.[2]

Notice: Where leave is foreseeable, an employee should provide notice of leave to the employer as is practicable. After the first workday of paid sick time, an employer may require employees to follow reasonable notice procedures in order to continue receiving paid sick time.

Qualifying Reasons for Leave:

Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave because the employee:

  1. is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
  3. is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
  5. is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19; or
  6. is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.

Under the FFCRA, an employee qualifies for expanded family and medical leave if the employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.

Duration of Leave:

For reasons (1)-(4) and (6): A full-time employee is eligible for 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.

For reason (5): A full-time employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave (two weeks of paid sick leave followed by up to 10 weeks of paid expanded family & medical leave) at 40 hours a week, and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.

Calculation of Pay:[3]

For leave reasons (1), (2), or (3): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at either their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).

For leave reasons (4) or (6): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).

For leave reason (5): employees taking leave are entitled to pay at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 12-week period).[4]


[1] Certain provisions may not apply to certain employers with fewer than 50 employees. See Department FFCRA regulations (expected April 2020).

[2] Under the Act, special rules apply for Health Care Providers and Emergency Responders.

[3] Paid sick time provided under this Act does not carryover from one year to the next. Employees are not entitled to reimbursement for unused leave upon termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.

[4] An employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for the first two weeks of partial paid leave under this section.

 

Tax Credits: Covered employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA. Qualifying wages are those paid to an employee who takes leave under the Act for a qualifying reason, up to the appropriate per diem and aggregate payment caps. Applicable tax credits also extend to amounts paid or incurred to maintain health insurance coverage. For more information, please see the Department of the Treasury’s website.

Employer Notice: Each covered employer must post in a conspicuous place on its premises a notice of FFCRA requirements. Download and print a copy of the poster that will satisfy the FFCRA notice requirements here: https://www.agcnys.org/wp-content/uploads/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf [7]

Prohibitions: Employers may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against any employee who takes expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA and files a complaint or institutes a proceeding under or related to the FFCRA.

Penalties and Enforcement: Employers in violation of the first two weeks’ expanded family and medical leave or unlawful termination provisions of the FFCRA will be subject to the penalties and enforcement described in Sections 16 and 17 of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 29 U.S.C. 216; 217. Employers in violation of the provisions providing for up to an additional 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) are subject to the enforcement provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Department will observe a temporary period of non-enforcement for the first 30 days after the Act takes effect, so long as the employer has acted reasonably and in good faith to comply with the Act.  For purposes of this non-enforcement position, “good faith” exists when violations are remedied and the employee is made whole as soon as practicable by the employer, the violations were not willful, and the Department receives a written commitment from the employer to comply with the Act in the future.

  • An equivalent tax credit is available for self-employed persons
  • The Department of Labor has authority to exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees if paid sick leave requirements “would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.”
  • Both the federal government and New York State are requiring certain employers to provide paid sick and family leave to their employees: to the extent that the two requirements overlap, the federal tax credit will cover the costs imposed by the state requirements. Where the state requirements go beyond the federal requirements (whether in time of leave of wage amount covered), however, the federal tax credit will not cover those expenses.

For more information on COVID-19 and the Workplace, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hours Division Website:  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

Family & Medical Leave

  • 12 weeks of family leave to provide for children due to school closure or lack of childcare because of a public health emergency.
    • Applicable to companies with 500 or fewer employees
    • First 10 days of leave are unpaid
    • Employers would be required to pay employees two-thirds of their wages starting on day 11 (pro-rata rules would apply to part-time employees) and would receive a refundable tax credit for wages required to be paid, capped at $200 per day, and $10,000 altogether.
    • The Department of Labor has authority to:
      • Issue regulations for businesses with fewer than 50 employees if paid sick leave requirements “would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern”
      • Exclude health care providers and emergency responders from the requirements

COVID-19 NYS Mandates for Employees and Employers

Unemployment Insurance Waiting Period Waived

Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave

  • On March 18, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed emergency legislation guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
  • The new law enacts emergency paid sick leave to guarantee workers job protection and provide financial compensation while they are on a mandatory or precautionary quarantine due to the Coronavirus.
  • New York State will guarantee two full weeks of paid leave for all state workers who are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine as a result of the novel coronavirus.
  • Employees will not have to charge accruals during the time taken off work for quarantine. This will apply to all state employees, regardless of civil service classification, bargaining unit, and regardless of part time or accrual status.

Telecommuting for State Workers

DOL Shared Work Program

  • The DOL is reminding businesses of its Shared Work Program that can provide an alternative to laying off employees during business downturns by allowing workers to work a reduced work schedule and collect partial unemployment insurance benefits for up to 26 weeks. Instead of cutting staff, you able to reduce the number of hours of all employees or just a certain group:  https://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/employerinfo/shared-work-program.shtm

NYS on PAUSE Executive Order

Governor Cuomo announced the “New York State on PAUSE” executive order, a 10-point policy to assure uniform safety for everyone.

The 10-point NYS on PAUSE plan is as follows:

  1. Effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22, all non-essential businesses statewide will be closed;
  2. Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed at this time;
  3. Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services and social distancing should be practiced;
  4. When in public individuals must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others;
  5. Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet;
  6. Individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people;
  7. Individuals should limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary and should limit potential exposure by spacing out at least six feet from other riders;
  8. Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care and only after a telehealth visit to determine if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health;
  9. Young people should also practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations; and
  10. Use precautionary sanitizer practices such as using isopropyl alcohol wipes

100% Workforce Reduction Mandate (Executive Order No. 202.8 – 03/20/2020)

Empire State Development (ESD) Offers COVID-19 Related Guidance

  • As New York State continually monitors and responds to developments related to COVID-19, ESD is providing up-to-date guidance for the agency’s partners and other stakeholders impacted by the virus.
  • For individuals and businesses to relay business-related COVID-19 questions and concerns, please submit any information or issue through the Empire State Development (ESD) Online Intake Portal; from there it will be routed to the relevant ESD department, enabling the agency to rapidly respond to questions from our stakeholders across the state.

Stop the Spread of COVID-19: Get Involved

  • New York State is doing all it can to keep New Yorkers safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.  Governor Cuomo is calling on health care professionals, schools of public health or medicine and PPE products providers and manufacturers to come forward to support the state’s response.  Learn more here: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/get-involved-how-you-can-help