COVID-19 Information for Ulster County Businesses

Ulster County Office of Economic Development


Ulster County Department of Economic Development is available and ready to help our local businesses face these challenging times.  Please call or email us with your concerns and questions.


 
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), announced that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will re-open the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. The ‘Raising the Bar’ Restaurant Recovery Fund will also open on January 11, and offer $5,000 to full-service restaurant owners who qualify.  

The Payroll Protection Program is a federally-backed forgivable loan program that offers small business owners financial relief in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

To promote access to capital, initially, only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13.  The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. Updated PPP guidance outlining Program changes is linked below.  

This round of the PPP continues to prioritize millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $284 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses through March 31, 2021, and by allowing certain existing PPP borrowers to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.

Key PPP updates include:
PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs;

PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures;

The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, direct marketing organizations, among other types of organizations;

The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees;

Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount;

Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan. 

A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower:
Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses;

Has no more than 300 employees;

and can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. 

The new guidance released includes:
PPP Guidance from SBA Administrator Carranza on Accessing Capital for Minority, Underserved, Veteran, and Women-owned Business Concerns;

Interim Final Rule on Paycheck Protection Program as Amended by Economic Aid Act;

Interim Final Rule on Second Draw PPP Loans. 

For more information on SBA’s assistance to small businesses, visit sba.gov/ppp
 
New Funding Opportunity: Raising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund 
 
This fund will open on Monday, January 11th and offers ​approximately $3 million in reimbursement grants with up to $5,000 per eligible business. 
 
The program is intended to support full-service restaurants – the industry hit hardest by the pandemic – during the winter months when outdoor dining is limited and as restaurants adjust to New York State’s COVID-19 safety restrictions and new mandates.
 
Restaurants can apply to the Rising the Bar Restaurant Recovery Fund starting Monday, January 11, 2021.
 
To qualify for the program, an establishment must: 

Be full-service restaurants (NAICS code 722511), or establishments engaged in providing food services and meals prepared on-premises to patrons who traditionally order and are served while seated (i.e., waiter/waitress service), including on-premises food and drinking establishments licensed through the State Liquor Authority (SLA). 

Establishments providing take out or grab and go food services due to COVID-19 restrictions are also eligible;  

Franchises are not eligible; 

Have no more than $3 million in 2019 revenue; 

Be located in New York State; 
Have been in operation on or before March 1, 2019; 

Certify and demonstrate that they have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19 

Agree to comply with all applicable New York State and local reopening guidance and COVID-19 health and safety policies 

Learn more here.
 
If you are an Ulster County restaurant and are ineligible for ‘Raising the Bar’ for any reason, please contact us so that we may help you search for alternate sources of funding. 

The State’s New York Forward website has the latest information on COVID-19 clusters, as well as industry specific guidelines and tools for businesses.

The State also issued guidance for businesses in determining whether they are subject to a workforce reduction under the October 23, 2020 Executive Order.

The New York Forward business reopening lookup tool is located here.

Safety plan templates are available by visiting https://forward.ny.gov/industries-reopening-phase

Financial Resources

Economic Injury Disaster Loan

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the deadline to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for the COVID-19 Pandemic disaster declaration is extended to Dec. 31, 2021.  The deadline extension comes as a result of the recent bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress and enacted by President Trump on Dec. 27, 2020.

EIDL loan applications will continue to be accepted through December 2021, pending the availability of funds. Loans are offered at very affordable terms, with a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and 2.75% interest rate for nonprofit organizations, a 30-year maturity, and an automatic deferment of one year before monthly payments begin. Every eligible small business and nonprofit are encouraged to apply to get the resources they need.

Revolving Loan Funds

Ulster County offers low-cost, flexible financing through countywide and municipal Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs). RLFS are financing tools for communities to provide loans to local businesses, which in turn, create jobs and leverage other private investment while helping a community diversify and stabilize its economy.

RLFs fill the gap between a businesses’ financial needs and the amount that can be borrowed from a lender. RLFs can help to complete a business’ financing package by offering fixed rate, low-interest loans, revolving lines of credit or loan guarantees. RLFs have an application fee, closing costs and attorney fees.

SBA Debt Relief

The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of their coronavirus debt relief efforts, the SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a), 504, and Microloans in regular servicing status as well as new 7(a), 504, and Microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020. This relief is not available for Paycheck Protection Program loans or Economic Injury Disaster loans. Borrowers do not need to apply for this assistance. It will be automatically provided as follows:

  • For loans not on deferment, SBA will begin making payments with the next payment due on the loan and will make six monthly payments.
  • For loans currently on deferment, SBA will begin making payments with the next payment due after the deferment period has ended, and will make six monthly payments.
  • For loans made after March 27, 2020 and fully disbursed prior to September 27, 2020, SBA will begin making payments with the first payment due on the loan and will make six monthly payments.

SBA has notified 7(a), 504 and Microloan Lenders that it will pay these borrower loan payments. Lenders have been instructed to refrain from collecting loan payments from borrowers. If a borrower’s payment was collected after March 27, 2020, lenders were instructed to inform the borrower that they have the option of having the loan payment returned by the lender or applying the loan payment to further reduce the loan balance after SBA’s payment.

Borrowers should contact their lender if they have any questions regarding this payment relief.https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/sba-debt-relief

Local businesses are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Economic Development for options on other financial resources, as well as questions and concerns.

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Ulster County partners, Ulster RESPOND, are helping businesses respond to the Pandemic Economic Environment. www.ulsterrespond.com