Reopening Downtown Brooklyn



A number of federal, local, and private resources are available to businesses affected by COVID-19. This page will continue to be updated to reflect the most current information.

New York Forward Reopening Plan
Businesses must follow industry guidelines outlined by the Governor’s Office, including requirements for social distancing, communicating to employees, cleanliness and hygiene, and health screening. For more guidance please visit the New York Forward website here and view New York City’s additional guidance here.

Small business hotline: The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has launched a hotline for questions related to reopening, including latest guidelines and regulations, at 888-727-4692.

Face mask distribution: DBP is partnering with the City to distribute face masks at no cost to small businesses and their employees. Email us at info@downtownbrooklyn.com for more information.


Phase 4 Update - Gyms + Fitness Centers Reopening Starting 9/2

As of September 2, NYC gyms and fitness centers—excluding indoor fitness classes and indoor pools—are allowed to reopen at reduced capacity, provided that the owner has requested an inspection from the NYC Health Department. More information about inspections and New York State reopening guidelines can be found here.

Phase 4 Update - Indoor Shopping Malls Reopening Starting 9/9

As of September 9, malls in NYC are permitted to reopen with a 50% occupancy limit and safety protocols, including enforcement of face coverings, traffic clow and seating to avoid crowded, and enhanced air filtration, ventilation, and purification standards. New York State reopening guidance for the sector can be found here.

Phase 3 of NYC Reopening

NYC entered Phase 3 of reopening on July 6. Personal care businesses and services, including tattoo and piercing facilities, appearance enhancement practitioners, massage therapy, spas, cosmetology, nail salons, tanning, and waxing were able to resume operations.

Find the State guidelines for reopening personal care businesses here. Additional guidance from NYC Department of Health can be found here.

Although originally included in Phase 3, reopening indoor dining in NYC has been postponed at this time. In the meantime, the City will continue with its outdoor dining program.

Phase 2 of NYC Reopening

NYC entered Phase 2 of reopening on June 22, which permitted the following industries to reopen:

Phase 1 of NYC Reopening

On June 8th, New York City entered Phase I of reopening, which allowed the following industries to reopen:

  • Construction
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
  • Retail (limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off)
  • Manufacturing
  • Wholesale Trade

Look up your eligibility to reopen and health and safety compliance requirements with the New York Forward Business Reopening Lookup Tool here.

Clover Back2Business Grants
Application Status: Currently accepting pre-application inquiries.
Eligibility: Minority-owned small businesses Financial services tech firm Fiserv and the Clover platform recently launched a nationwide program offering $10K grants to eligible small businesses, to support payroll, rent and lease payments, technology, and re-design for safety and public health. Register here to learn more and be considered for a future grant.

Bring Back Brooklyn Fund Loan + Grant Program
Application Status: Open
Eligibility: Small businesses
Applications are now live for grants for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and deep cleanings through the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s Bring Back Brooklyn Fund. The Fund was created through donations from local stakeholders ranging from corporations to consumers. Loans for recovery efforts are also available. More information and a link to apply can be found here.

Hello Alice COVID-19 Business for All Emergency Grant
Application Status: Open
Eligibility: Small businesses
Alice, a free digital platform for entrepreneurs, is awarding $10,000 emergency grants to small business owners affected by COVID-19. The site also features a central resource hub aimed at supporting small businesses, with new resources shared daily.

Rethink Restaurant Response Program
Application Status: Open
Eligibility: Small businesses (food + beverage industry)
Rethink’s program provides funding to eligible restaurants to enable them to remain open in order to help feed those in need.

Robin Hood COVID-19 Relief Fund
Application Status: Open
Eligibility: Nonprofits
Robin Hood has opened applications for program-specific and general operations grants to frontline 501(c)(3) organizations in New York City that are providing relief and services to underserved communities.

Southern Smoke Foundation Emergency Relief Program
Application Status: Open
Eligibility: Individuals (food + beverage industry)
The Southern Smoke Foundation is providing support in the form of individual grants to restaurant and bar owners and employees who have emergency expenses that are not covered by insurance. Disponible en Español.

NYC Nightlife United Emergency Relief Fund
Application Status: Temporarily paused – businesses can register for e-mail updates Eligibility: Small businesses and individual artists This program offers emergency grant funds for eligible shuttered cultural programming centers and individual artists and performers affected by COVID-19.

Google Ad Credits
Eligibility: Small- and medium-sized businesses
Google is offering free ad credits to existing customers that can be used towards future ad spend until the end of 2020 across the Google Ads platforms.

The federal CARES Act relief package includes the following loans:

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides loan funding to eligible businesses and nonprofits for payroll payments, mortgage interest payments, rent, and utilities. The Small Business Administration (SBA) will forgive the loans if certain conditions are met. The Federal government passed legislation to amend PPP, including extending the deadline to apply to August 8, 2020, extending the time period to use funds from 8 to 24 weeks, and reducing the amount of the loan required to be spent on payroll from 75% to 60%. More information here.
  • The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides eligible small businesses and nonprofits with working capital loans of up to $2 million. Businesses may also apply for an emergency EIDL Advance of up to $10,000 to support the temporary loss of revenue. New applications are currently being accepted.
  • The Express Bridge Loan enables eligible small businesses who have an existing relationship with an SBA Express Lender to quickly access up to $25,000. Eligibility requirements for this and other SBA 7(a) loans can be found here.
  • SBA is deferring payments on Serviced Disaster Loans through December 31, 2020, paying the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months, and paying the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans through September 27, 2020.

Additional information about CARES Act loans can be found at the following links:

Several agencies and organizations are helping businesses navigate CARES Act loan applications:

Bring Back Brooklyn Fund Loan + Grant Program
Application Status: Open
Eligibility: Small business
Applications are now live for no-interest loans for recovery and reopening efforts through the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s Bring Back Brooklyn Fund. The Fund was created through donations from local stakeholders ranging from corporations to consumers. Grants for PPE and deep cleanings are also available. More information and a link to apply can be found here.

New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF)
Application Status: Open
Eligibility: Small businesses and nonprofits
This State program offers working capital loans to provide small businesses and nonprofits with access to credit as they reopen. Loans are available to eligible businesses that did not receive funding from the SBA PPP or EIDL programs.

Main Street Lending Program
Application Status: Open
Eligibility: Small- and medium-sized businesses
The Federal Reserve’s program is designed to provide credit to small- and medium-sized businesses that were in good financial condition but currently need assistance to recover from, or adapt to, the impacts of COVID-19. Interested businesses should work with an eligible lender to determine if they meet program requirements.

Kiva
Application Status: Open
Eligibility: Small businesses
Crowdfunding platform Kiva is expanding loan eligibility to support small businesses and entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19 with zero-interest loans up to $15,000.

Hebrew Free Loan Society (HFLS) Coronavirus Financial Impact Loan
Application Status: Open
Eligibility: Individuals
HFLS’s zero-interest loans of up to $5,000 are open to New York City, Westchester, and Long Island residents who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19, including small business losses.

The COVID-19 Pro Bono Collaborative is partnering with WE NYC and Start Small Think Big and to offer free emergency legal and financial assistance clinics to small business owners. Click here to request a session. Disponible en Español.

The Department of Small Business Services’ WE NYC program also offers free legal consultations to women entrepreneurs through WE Legal.

The Office of Small Business Services (SBS) is offering free legal assistance to small businesses through the Commercial Lease Assistance Program. Services include help with signing a new lease; amending, renewing, or terminating an existing lease; and addressing other lease-related issues.

The City’s newly launched Mediating Establishment and Neighbor Disputes (MEND) NYC program will help mediate disputes between hospitality businesses and their neighbors in quality-of-life issues, including those stemming from 311 complaints and conflicts with landlords.

The Small Business Legal Relief Alliance (SBLRA) is providing free consultations with pro bono lawyers for small businesses, nonprofits, and self-employed individuals affected by COVID-19.

The City Bar Justice Center (CBJC)’s COVID-19 Small Business Legal Clinic offers 45-minute remote support consultations for COVID-19 related inquiries from New York City small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Lawyers Alliance for New York is offering virtual consultations with volunteers from its partner firms for nonprofits seeking general information about SBA loan programs.

NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) is offering webinars in English, Spanish, and Mandarin to help business owners learn about a range of assistance programs available for small businesses affected by COVID-19. SBS has also launched a series of free online courses in partnership with Coursera in topics ranging from launching a new business to identifying growth opportunities.

In support of small businesses during the pandemic, Bespoke Post, a subscription box service and online shop, is purchasing products from emerging brands and small manufacturers. Visit their site to pitch products.

Wallplay and Sidewalk Labs co-developed a ground-floor pop-up toolkit that shares advice and resources for companies, organizations, and landlords interested in producing pop-ups to activate vacant spaces. A network of architecture and design professionals is offering free, Open Restaurants-compliant design services to NYC restaurants through the newly launched Design Corps: Small Business Recovery Network program.

#OpenWeStand: Web hosting company GoDaddy and other corporate partners are offering support for small businesses and entrepreneurs through #OpenWeStand, including a website with advice, services, and special offers for the business community during reopening and recovery.

SCORE, a nationwide network of volunteer business mentors, is providing free remote mentoring and offering webinars and workshops around managing business during COVID-19.

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network is providing consultations and trainings for small businesses and offering webinars on policy updates and management advice during COVID-19.

Brooklyn Public Library offers webinars on managing business during COVID-19 and general small business guidance.

CodingDojo is offering assistance with web development for small businesses through its volunteer alumni network. Interested business owners can contact the Tech for American program to learn more.

Almanac has developed a comprehensive and regularly-updated COVID-19 financial assistance guide for startups.

Engine has compiled a list of resources for startups, with information ranging from guidance on protecting the health and safety of employees to recommendations for accessing federal economic relief.

The New York State Council on the Arts has compiled a list of resources for artists and arts organizations, ranging from webinars to emergency funding opportunities for individuals and organizations.

State Liquor Authority: Per SLA guidance, businesses that sell or serve alcohol must ensure that everyone within 100 feet of the business comply with open container rules, adhere to social distancing and face covering, and follow all existing regulations. Violations can result in suspension or revocation of licenses and fines of up to $10,000 per violation, and patrons may be fined as well. As of July 17, alcohol sold on the premises must also be accompanied by a food item as detailed in the newly issued SLA guidance and FAQ here.

Retail + dining in POPS: Uses allowed in privately owned public spaces (POPS) citywide have been temporarily expanded to include both outdoor dining and retail merchandising stands by adjacent businesses, as well as kiosks and queuing. Protocols and next steps for property owners are available from the Department of City Planning, which requires notification before any changes are made on-site.

Delivery app fees: delivery apps are prohibited from charging restaurants more than 20% in fees and charging for phone calls that do not result in an order, effective until 90 days after indoor dining in NYC is resumed at maximum capacity.

Sidewalk café fees: the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is temporarily waiving consent fees for sidewalk café applicants and licensees, through February 28, 2021.

Open Restaurants
The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) is offering one-on-one free virtual compliance consultations to help businesses understand common compliance challenges related to the Open Restaurants Program. Violations or fines will not be issued during the consultations. Please click this link to sign up for a consultation.

Food + Beverage Operator Survey
NYC Department of Small Business Services is collecting information from independent restaurant and bar owners, to directly inform work currently being done across City agencies on a Restaurant Recovery Plan. Take the survey here in English or Español.

Financial Assistance

Rethink Restaurant Response Program
Application Status: Open
Rethink’s program provides funding to eligible restaurants to enable them to remain open in order to help feed those in need.

Southern Smoke Foundation Emergency Relief Program
Application Status: Open
The Southern Smoke Foundation is providing support in the form of individual grants to restaurant and bar owners and employees who have emergency expenses that are not covered by insurance. Disponible en Español.

Additional Resources

Rockwell Group, in coordination with the NYC Hospitality Alliance, developed DineOut NYC, a free toolkit for designing outdoor dining. The downloadable PDF contains modular design references for dining and bar pavilions and plexiglass dividers.

The Aspen Institute, in partnership with three other organizations, developed a food preparation and sanitation guide for reopening restaurants. Disponible en Español.

The James Beard Foundation is hosting a series of webinars on the impact of COVID-19 in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

The National Restaurant Association has a frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) section and a compilation of resources for the restaurant industry.

Financial Assistance

Robin Hood COVID-19 Relief Fund
Application Status: Open
Robin Hood has opened applications for program-specific and general operations grants to frontline 501(c)(3) organizations in New York City that are providing relief and services to underserved communities.

NYC Nightlife United Emergency Relief Fund
Application Status: Temporarily paused – businesses can register for e-mail updates
This program offers emergency grant funds for eligible shuttered cultural programming centers and individual artists and performers affected by COVID-19.

New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF)
Application Status: Open
This State program offers working capital loans to provide small businesses and nonprofits with access to credit as they reopen. Loans are available to eligible businesses that did not receive funding from the SBA PPP or EIDL programs.

Additional Resources

Wallplay and Sidewalk Labs co-developed a ground-floor pop-up toolkit that shares advice and resources for companies, organizations, and landlords interested in producing pop-ups to activate vacant spaces.

New York Cares is offering assistance with sourcing volunteers to nonprofit organizations in need of support around critical services. Additional guidance on volunteer management during a crisis can be found here.

The Nonprofit Finance Fund has compiled several resources for nonprofits, including a cash flow template and insights from partner organizations. Disponible en Español.

The New York State Council on the Arts has compiled a list of resources for artists and arts organizations, ranging from webinars to emergency funding opportunities for individuals and organizations.

During this time, the three Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) that DBP manages are maintaining their high level of service with our Public Safety and Clean Street teams.

If you wish to report a safety issue, please contact the DBP Public Safety Office at (718) 797-5996 or publicsafety@downtownbrooklyn.com. In cases of emergency, always call 911.

We’ll update this page as new information becomes available. If you have any information you would like us to share with the Downtown Brooklyn community, please contact us here.