Reopening Downtown Brooklyn



Page last updated: July 21, 2020

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
New York City entered a limited Phase 4 of reopening this week. Zoos, botanical gardens, historic sites, and outdoor museums may resume limited outdoor operations. Gyms, malls, and spaces for indoor dining must remain closed. Restaurants and bars are still limited to only outdoor seating. 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.

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

Additional masks, cleaning products, and PPE: For the purchase of additional masks and other PPE as well as cleaning products and other supplies, an online marketplace of manufacturers and suppliers can be found here.

Commercial cleaning services: For cleaning and sanitizing needs, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce compiled a list of Brooklyn-based commercial cleaning companies 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.

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.

Visa + IFundWomen Grant Program
Application Status: Open through July 31
Eligibility: Small businesses
Visa, in partnership with IFundWomen, has launched a program for $10,000 and a 1-year IFundWomen membership, which will be awarded to ten Black women-owned small businesses. Click here for more information and how to apply.

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.

LISC Small Business Relief Grants
Application Status: Round 4 applications open July 27 – businesses can register for e-mail updates.
Eligibility: Small businesses
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has partnered with funders such as Verizon and Sam’s Club to offer grants of up to $10,000 for payroll, rent, and other immediate operational costs, with a focus on entrepreneurs of color and women-owned businesses. 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 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 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.

#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.

IMPACCT Brooklyn, a local community development corporation, is hosting a free webinar series to help entrepreneurs develop and sustain business during COVID-19.

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.

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 the state of emergency ends.

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
NYC’s Open Restaurants program expands outdoor seating options for restaurants and bars. More information, including details about applying to self-certify for sidewalk and / or roadway seating, is available here.

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

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.

Red Backpack Fund
Application Status: Open
Spanx and the Sara Blakely Foundation are awarding $5,000 grants to majority women-owned businesses and nonprofits.

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

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.