RESOURCES for Businesses affected by COVID-19

We are here to assist you and your employees in any way possible.

Below are a variety of very helpful business resources, and we are adding to the list as quickly as we get information in.


NYS COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program

Small Business Recovery Program


The Niagara SBDC and the NC Center for Economic Development have fantastic resources for businesses!

The NCCC Small Business Development Center is available to offer loan application guidance or to assist you with the application process. You can reach them at (716) 210-2515 or at

What to do if an employee refuses to return to work?  Click here for more info 

Did you know? 

Paycheck Protection Program Update

The United States House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. This bill makes the following changes to the Paycheck Protection Program:

  • Extends the loan term from 8 weeks to 24 weeks;
  • Lowers the percentage of loan proceeds that must be used on payroll from 75% to 60%; and
  • Extends the PPP from June 30th to Dec. 31, 2020.

The measure must now pass the Senate.

Liability Protection for Employers

Help Us Fight for Liability Protections for Employers

Join the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and employer organizations throughout New York State in asking Governor Cuomo to enact liability protections related to COVID-19.

As New York’s economy beings to reopen, businesses and non-profits are justifiably worried about potential COVID-19 related lawsuits.

The business community is asking Governor Cuomo to enact liability protections to protect businesses acting in good faith and following government issued guidance.  Add your voice to this important issue now.

The guidelines also provide a Business Safety Plan Template.

FAQ on NY Forward and Business Reopening


For the full list of the Governor's 12 Guidelines for Regional Re-opening


Survey results are in: 

Here are the results for the Buffalo Niagara Partnership's WNY COVID-19 Business Impact Survey
Or you can watch the full Webisode presentation here.

Below is a breakdown of the allocations, provided by our partners at Niagara County's Center for Economic Development:

  • CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program. An additional $320 billion has been allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program, which quickly ran out of funding shortly after being unveiled. It is important to note that $60 billion of this funding is reserved for small and medium-sized banks and credit unions, to encourage business owner from all communities to participate in the program.

  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. An additional $60 billion in funding has been granted to the Small Business Administration to assist businesses throughout the country. $50 billion is for the Small Business Administration's emergency disaster loans, and $10 billion for disaster grants. One significant update is that agricultural businesses will now be eligible for funding.

  • Hospital Relief. Hospitals across the country will be able to tap into $75 billion in funding designed to assist with costs associated with the fight against COVID-19 and losses associated with the virus.

  • Funding for COVID-19 Testing. $25 billion is earmarked to help cover the costs associated with COVID-19 and antibody testing. This will allow for a significant increase in the testing capacity nationwide.

  • Who to Contact for Assistance. If you would like to apply for assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program or the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan you can contact an SBA approved lending institution to complete an application. NCCC SBDC specialists are available via email or at (716) 210-2515 to assist you as you navigate through the process of either the Paycheck Protection Program or the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. If you have already applied for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan and received an application number, you will be contacted by a representative from the Small Business Administration.

Resources and Information (A - Z)

Agriculture-Based Business assistance: Various federal and state agencies have recently announced programs available to help businesses in the agricultural community during the COVID-19 crisis. Check out all of the programs that are currently available on this NCCED important links page. Find everything that you are looking for under the heading Important Information for Agricultural-Based Businesses.

Business Owners and Unemployment: the NYS Department of Labor is advising that Business Owners who have been forced to close due to COVID-19 restrictions on Non-essential Services should claim unemployment benefits. (Please be cannot claim benefits for any day you do any work for your business) For Unemployment Insurance Information

- Call to Action from Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance. The Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance (BNMA) is collecting masks, gloves and safety glasses that can be donated to our local medical system. If you have any of these items and would like to make a donation, contact Catherine Muth at (585) 216-5860. BNMA will coordinate pick-up and delivery.

- CARES Act = Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

Link to a brief 3/30/20 webinar with the US Chamber of Commerce hosted by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. The focus was the CARES Act and it's business impact;

The presenter was Timothy Maney, Executive Director, Congressional & Public Affairs, US Chamber of Commerce

- CARES Act Coronavirus Emergency Loans...Small Business Guide and Checklist provided by the US Chamber of Commerce

CDC Resources for Businesses and Employers includes:

  • Interim guidance
  • Cleaning & disinfection recommendations

- Childcare Resource for Essential Workers. The Community Child Care Clearinghouse of Niagara can assist families of essential workers that are in need of childcare assistance. Call the Clearinghouse Hotline at (716) 285-8572 x109 or x105 for help finding childcare in your area.

Coronvirus Small Business Guide - complete coronavirus coverage, updated daily with new resources to assist you and your business -provided by the US Chamber of Commerce


Designation as an Essential Business If your business was deemed non-essential based on the list distributed by New York State, and you believe that you should be considered essential, complete this form and submit it to the email address at the bottom of the form for review. offers information about programs and ideas to make your business stand out! 

Donating, Manufacturing, Volunteering or Selling Goods to New York State

Empire State Development

Information regarding COVID-19 and business-related issues such as Executive Orders

COVID-19 Related Resource page

COVID-19 FAQs for Businesses

Ask YOUR COVID-19 business issue question!

Employee Retention Credit: The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. Available to all employers regardless of size, including tax-exempt organizations. Two exceptions: State and local governments and their instrumentalities and small businesses who take small business loans.

Qualifying employers must fall into one of two categories:

  1. The employer's business is fully or partially suspended by government order due to COVID-19 during the calendar quarter.
  2. The employer's gross receipts are below 50% of the comparable quarter in 2019. Once the employer's gross receipts go above 80% of a comparable quarter in 2019, they no longer qualify after the end of that quarter.

-  FREE Face Masks from Niagara County Department of Emergency Services for local Businesses:

The Niagara County Department of Emergency Services has obtained a supply of cloth Face Masks and is making those available at no cost to all local businesses in the area who are starting to put in place their re-opening plans and will need these masks in the future. These Face masks were acquired through the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Email or call (716) 438-3171 - supplies are limited.

Face Coverings: Sources in Niagara County

On April 17th, Governor Cuomo's Executive Order went into effect requiring all people of New York to wear a face covering if they are in public and not able to maintain social distancing guidelines. If you are in need of face coverings, either for personal use, or to protect you and your employees at work, the Niagara County Center for Economic Development's COVID-19:Important Links page has a list of Niagara County companies that are making them. If you know another business who is also providing this essential service, please let the NCCED know and they will be added to their list.

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where we operate.

Go to Meeting is offering FREE Emergency Remote Work Kits providing organization-wide access to many of their products for 3 months to critical service providers including healthcare providers and non-profits

- "Help to get you through these tough times" resource page, Blog and #Open-We-Stand from GoDaddy

Legal Assistance for Businesses

Harris Beach is holding COVID-19 Virtual Open Office Hours for Employers as a way to assist area businesses as they navigate the impacts of this pandemic.
Click HERE to learn more and to sign up for one, or several of these "Flash Sessions" where Harris Beach attorneys inform you of the latest COVD-19 impacts/status on particular critical business issues and field your questions, in an interactive, 30 minute audio/video conference.

National Grid - On March 13th we temporarily suspended collections-related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any financial hardships for our customers. These policies will remain in effect at least until the end of April, when we will evaluate their continued need. National Grid is also not charging late payment charges.


Niagara County Center for Economic Development COVID-19 tab

Niagara County Restaurants providing take-out and delivery service  Support Local!  (compiled by Niagara County Department of Health) 

- OSHA publication; Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 

Paid Leave for COVID-19.  Guidance for Businesses

Path Forward: Navigating the Return to Work - webinar serries every Monday & Thursday from 3pm - 4pm with the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation

QuickBooks Small Buisness Relief Initiative : The Small Business Relief Fund will provide one-timmatching grants to qualifying small businesses to help alleviate the financial burdens during these pressing times. Donations to the relief fund will be paid out as grants to businesses that qualify, and have created a fundraiser through the Small Business Relief Initiative or had an existing GoFundMe that raises atleast $500.

Save Small Business Fund:

This initiative by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is funded by corporate and philanthropic partners, and is a collective effort to provide $5,000 grants to as many small employers as possible. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hopes these supplemental funds will help bridge the gap in the days and weeks ahead.  To qualify, you must employ between 3 and 20 people, be located in an economically vulnerable community and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic

-  Shared Work - May be an option for some businesses that won’t have a full shut down of work, but need an option to retain employees while working an abbreviated schedule.

      Fact Sheet

       To file a Shared Work Plan - Employees included on a plan can be full-time, part-time, temporary, or seasonal. A plan can include as few as two employees.

If you would like to learn more, please contact Michele Taylor, NYS Department of Labor Rapid Response Coordinator for the Western region at (716) 851-2655 


Small Business Coronavirus Relief OptionsOverview and links

        - Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

        - Small Business Disaster Loan Assistance available. 

     Using dropdown box, select New York State, your County - then click the "Filter" button - you will see a COVID-19 disaster loan link.
     PowerPoint created by  Empire State Development to assist with how to apply for these SBA loans

     Empire State Development Resource website for COVID-19 SBA Disaster Loans

Spanish Language COVID-19 Workplace Safety Resources (provided by USDOL)

Treasury, IRS and Labor announcement regarding Paid Leave for workers and Tax Credits for Small to Mid size companies

- USDOL Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued National Interest Exemption

Winery Business Optimization of the CARES Act: Gregg McConnell from Farm Credit East provides some helpful tips to New York State wineries on how to navigate the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program and the IRS Employer Retention Credit and provides some scenarios to demonstrate which may be a better fit given your current circumstances.