COVID-19 Information for Ulster County Businesses

Ulster County Department of Economic Development is focused on getting factual, timely information to our business community and will do our best to update you on a daily basis.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions our office has received with our most up to date answers.

To receive email updates on news impacting the business community, contact us at oed@co.ulster.ny.us  

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my business have to close?

Governor’s Executive Order No. 202.6

All businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state shall utilize, shall reduce the in-person workforce at any work location by 100%, effective March 22, 2020 at 8pm. Any “essential business or entity” providing essential services or functions shall not be subject to the in-person restrictions.

To find a list of Essential businesses go to: esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026

If you are not on the exempted list but believe your business should be, you can request a waiver from Empire State Development by emailing COVID19BusinessWaiver@esd.ny.gov

If my business is determined to be an “Essential Business” are all employees permitted to work at the business location?

No. Only those employees that are needed to provide the products and services that are essential to provide such products or services are permitted to work at the business location.

Is there a place where businesses designated essential can get getting cleaning supplies?

All State and local governments, schools, not-for-profits and other authorized users are able to purchase from OGS centralized contracts.  Products on contract, such as cleaning supplies, associated with helping to minimize the spread of COVID 19 can be found here: https://ogs.ny.gov/

What if my business is not essential, but a person must pick up the mail or perform a similar routine function each day?

A single person attending a non-essential closed business temporarily to perform a specific task is permitted so long as they will not be in contact with other people.

What if my business is NOT an “Essential Business” listed on ESD’s guidance but provides services, materials, supplies or other support to an Essential Business?

If your firm is a vendor, supplier or provides other support to an Essential Business that is required for the Essential Business’s operation, then your business is exempt from the employment reduction provisions contained in Executive Orders 202.8. However, only those employees necessary to support the Essential Business are exempt from the employment reduction requirements and your business is still required to utilize telecommuting or work from home procedures to the maximum extent possible.

How do we apply for the SBA Disaster Loans?

The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance Program (EIDL) application can be found at:  disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ 

For assistance the application process or have any questions call the Mid-Hudson Small Business Development Center: 845-802-9150.

We do recommend preparing all of your application materials in documents saved on your computer, then pasting and uploading into the SBA portal to avoid losing your work.

What about support to independent contractors, gig employees?

The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) has a website with city, state and federal information and resources to guide, support and advocate for the self-employed.

You can visit their site at www.nase.org/covid-19  They too will update as information is received.

How can I help my employees?

For information on Sick Leave, Paid Family Leave and Disability Benefits for employees impacted by mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation, as well as information about additional protections for healthcare workers, and health and safety issues can be found at: ag.ny.gov/coronavirus#emergency

What are the Rules on Unemployment Insurance Benefits?

NY State is waiving the 7-day waiting period for benefits for people who are out of work due to closures or quarantines. 

Individuals can apply online at www.labor.ny.gov or by phone at 1-888-209-8124.

If your business is in danger of experiencing a mass lay-off, contact New York State Department of Labor at www.ny.labor.gov/home or by phone at 845-443-8066.

What can help part-time workers?

The Shared Work Program allows employees on a reduced schedule to collect unemployment for days not worked helping to offset reduced incomes. NYS DOL has removed the 3-4 week approval process. If a business applies remotely it will be approved within a week. The business must be approved, and then the individuals must be eligible for unemployment insurance. Full-time, part-time and seasonal employees are eligible.

More info at: www.labor.ny.gov/ui/employerinfo/shared-work-program.shtm

How Can My Business Help with Needed Medical Supplies or Food Efforts?

Repurposing your business: Governor Cuomo is looking for manufacturing facilities who can easily shift their production lines to the manufacturing of vital supplies such as masks, gowns, hand sanitizers and respirators.

Please send an email to: Covid19supplies@esd.ny.gov indicating your interest. Please include:

  • Company Name
  • Contact Person and Info
  • Tell us about what critical supplies/equipment you think your company could produce

Project Resilience is a community fund and local food distribution effort to support residents impacted by COVID-19. This new initiative will help residents in need and simultaneously provide support to small businesses. Ulster County is partnering with United Way and many other area organizations and businesses to mobilize food and services. The County will utilize County vehicles and partner with non-profits and municipalities to deliver meals to residents in need. Sign up for meal assistance or to be a participating meal provider here. Donate to the United Way to support the program here.

Medical Supplies – If you have medical supplies or are able to produce them, please contact the Ulster County COVID-19 hotline at 845-443-8888

Is the County considering any tax breaks for tourism related (or other) businesses to (such as waiving bed tax) that would provide economic relief and help with recovery from this unprecedented event?

County Executive Ryan enacted a 30-day grace period for all hotels and lodging facilities on payment of their occupancy tax in order to help those struggling financially due to the financial impacts COVID-19.

Can NYS consider an extension for businesses paying NYS sales tax this coming March 20, 2020, without penalties?

The Governor announced on March 20 that interest and late fees for payment of sales and use tax from businesses to the state have been waived for 60 days.

What are Other Resources or Concessions Available?

Evictions or foreclosures on both individuals and corporate entities are suspended for 90 days.

Financial institutions are required to provide any consumer an opportunity for a forbearance of payments for a mortgage for any person or entity facing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the applications must be granted “in all reasonable and prudent circumstances.”

And fees for the use of ATMs, overdraft fees and credit card late fees, may be restricted by the Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services.

Central Hudson and NYSEG have announced that they are suspending customer shut offs due to unpaid bills for a period of 30 days, at which point they will reevaluate the situation.

Central Hudson will be waiving finance charges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What other actions can businesses take?

  1. Pull together all current tax information, profit and loss statements, personal financial information, sales volume and other data supporting your loss. This will be needed to fill out loan or grant applications. In a disaster, documented loss is essential.
  2. Talk to your bank. Our office spoke with representatives from over a dozen local lending institutions who said they can help businesses on a case-by-case basis with:
    • Loan Modifications at no fee
    • Deferments without a fee
    • Waiving early withdrawal penalties for CDs or other time deposit account.
  3. If you have a Payroll Service such as ADP please contact them for guidance on how to document leave time, sick time, work from home hours, all of which may be part of a bill which could potentially allot businesses tax credit at the end of 2020.
  4. Develop remote work and non-essential staff policies. Here are some articles and websites that might provide guidance:
  5. Keep in contact with your customers – especially if you will be closing for any reason. If you have a Facebook, Insta or webpage, post any reduced hours or services. Let your customers know how you’re doing. We’re all one community!
  6. Help your customers keep purchasing from you. Can you offer products for delivery or takeout? Do you have services you can offer remotely? Can you make gift cards available online or by phone? Make sure your customers know how to reach you.
  7. Our community is our strongest resource in times like these. So ASK for HELP, from your lender, your landlord, your suppliers. And OFFER HELP, to your customers, your employees, your neighbors. Caring for each other is how we’ll get through this.

Other Organizations Offering Business Assistance

Mid-Hudson Small Business Development Center:

  • Phone: 845- 802-9150
  • Email: sbdc@sunyulster.edu
  • Free business counseling, mentoring and assistance with SBA Loan applications.

SCORE:

  • Phone: 845-339-0468
  • Website: www.score.org/
  • Free business counseling to businesses and assistance to direct you to potential financial assistance. 

Stay informed through the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065

Business Resources: