The Latest on NY Reopening: Regional Openings Phase 1 and NY Low Risk Business

Date: May 13, 2020

The latest state-specific update

5/12

New York Forward – Phase One Reopening Begins After May 15 in Certain Regions

Governor Cuomo has outlined an initial plan called New York Forward for reopening the state on a regional basis. Each region must meet a set of criteria before it can begin the reopening process. As of today, three regions, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country, and Southern Tier, have met the criteria for reopening and can prepare for phase one. New York State has launched a regional monitoring dashboard for New Yorkers to track where their region stands on the criteria.

Each region has a “Regional Control Room,” appointees that will monitor regional metrics during the reopening process. These control rooms will alert the state if the region’s metrics no longer meet the reopening guidelines and will adjust the reopening plan accordingly. The New York Forward website lists the members of the regional control rooms.

Phase one of the reopening plan includes construction, manufacturing, retail (curbside pickup), wholesale trade, and agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting. For a more detailed list of these business types, click here. Prior to reopening, each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and customers. NFIB is waiting for additional guidance on this, but according to the New York Forward outline business plans should consider the following factors:

  • Protections for employees and customers (possible adjustments to hours and shifts, reducing workplace density, social distancing protocols)
  • Changes to physical workspace (including requiring employees and customers to wear masks and implementing cleaning and sanitation standards)
  • Implementing processes that meet our changing public health obligations (possible screening of individuals, reporting confirmed positives, etc.)

Empire State Development (ESD) is in the process of developing frequently asked questions (FAQ) on business reopening. If businesses have an immediate question, they can contact their regional ESD office.

Additionally, New York will reopen certain low-risk business and recreational activities statewide on May 15. This includes landscaping and gardening, low-risk outdoor recreational activities (like tennis) and drive-in movie theaters. NFIB is waiting for additional guidance on these types of businesses and activities.

 

4/21

Empire State Development (ESD) Updated Guidance On Essential and Non-Essential Businesses

ESD has updated its formal guidelines regarding essential businesses and the operation of certain non-essential businesses. Some of the changes include allowing private golf courses and marinas to operate as long as social distancing protocols are followed. Businesses should review ESD’s detailed list of conditions and guidance, which can be found on ESD’s website.

ESD continues to change the guidance on essential businesses; therefore, businesses should check ESD’s website regularly. If your business is still not captured by the updated guidelines, you may resubmit a designation request to ESD through the agency’s online process here.

New Application for Self-Employed to Access Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The New York Dept. of Labor announced the launch of a new application to access unemployment benefits or the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which covers self-employed New Yorkers and independent contractors.

The updated unemployment benefits application system will determine which unemployment program (Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) New Yorkers should apply for. More information on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance can be found here. To access the unemployment benefits application system, click here.

Mandatory Work-From-Home Order & Business Closures Extended to May 15th

Today, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State will continue with its social distancing plan to contain the spread of COVID-19. All non-essential businesses  and work-home-orders will remain closed through May 15.

All New Yorkers to Wear Masks or Face Coverings

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo announced that all New Yorkers must wear face coverings when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. The Executive Order will go into effect on Friday, April 17.

 

4/14

New Executive Order Regarding Essential Businesses and Face Masks

Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.16, which requires all essential businesses operating in New York to provide face coverings to their employees if they are in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide the face masks at their own expense.

The Dept. of Health has released guidance for complying with the Executive Order. The guidance allows for a range of face coverings, including homemade sewn cloth masks, bandanas, surgical masks, N-95 respirators, and face shields. Employees are allowed to use their own face coverings; however, this can not be mandated by the employer. Employees are required to wear the face coverings when in direct contact with the public, unless doing so will impair their own health. If an employer is unable to procure face coverings for their employees, they may consult with their local office of emergency management to determine if there are extra supplies available. Not being able to procure face coverings DOES NOT relieve an employer’s obligation to adhere to this Executive Order.  

This requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, April 15 at 8 PM. Local governments and law enforcement will enforce the order.

4/13

New Executive Order Regarding Essential Businesses and Face Masks

Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.16, which requires all essential businesses operating in New York to provide face masks to their employees if they are in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide the face masks at their own expense. This requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, April 18 at 8 PM. Local governments and law enforcement will enforce the order.

 

4/9

Empire State Development (ESD) Updated Guidance On Essential Businesses

ESD has updated its formal guidelines regarding essential businesses. Some of the changes include clarification on essential construction, realtors, landscaping, and allowing retailers that were designated non-essential to deliver orders to placed via phone or online. ESD’s complete guidance can be found on ESD’s website.

ESD continues to change the guidance on essential businesses; therefore, businesses should check ESD’s website regularly. If your business is still not captured by the updated guidelines, you may resubmit a designation request to ESD through the agency’s online process here.

4/6

Mandatory Work-From-Home Order & Business Closures Extended

Today, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State will continue with its social distancing plan to contain the spread of COVID-19. All non-essential businesses and schools will remain closed through April 29. Fines will be doubled for those who do not comply with social distancing.

3/31

Deferrals of Premium Payments for Life Insurance and Property & Casualty Insurance

Under Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 202.13, consumers and businesses who demonstrate financial hardships will be eligible to defer payments on certain insurance premiums. The New York State Dept. of Financial Services (DFS) issued the following emergency regulations:

Life Insurance: Policyholders or certificate holders (consumers) who can demonstrate financial hardships due to COVID-19 will be provided a 90-day grace period for the payment of premiums and fees. All late payment fees will be waived and the premiums not paid during the 90-day period can be paid over the course of the following year in 12 equal monthly installments.

Property and Casualty Insurance: Consumers and small businesses who can demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19 will be provided a 60-day grace period for the payment of premiums and fees, cancellation, conditional renewal, or non-renewal of a policyholders’ insurance policies. Premiums not paid during the 60-day period can be paid over the course of the following year in 12 equal monthly installments. Late payment fees will be waived during the 60-day period. Small business is defined as a business with 100 employees or less, independently owned and operated, and resident in New York State. This provision applies to auto, homeowners, renters, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, and certain other lines of commercial insurance.

Policyholders must contact their insurance carriers to discuss these financial hardship deferrals and repayment options.

3/27

Updated Guidance on Essential & Non-Essential Businesses: Construction

Under a revised Executive Order, most construction is now considered non-essential. All non-essential construction must shut down, with the exception of emergency construction (a project necessary to protect health and safety of the occupants, or to continue a project if it would be unsafe to allow to remain undone until it is safe to shut the site).

At this time the following essential construction may continue: roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters. All other construction is considered non-essential.

At every construction site, you must maintain social distance, including for purposes of elevators, meals, entry, and exit. Sites that cannot maintain social distance must close. This will be enforced and will include fines of up to $10,000 per violation.

Construction work does not include a single worker, who is the sole employee/worker on the job site.

For more information on the guidance, click here.

3/24/2020

New information on sales taxes for business:

New York Sales Tax Remittance Deadline

New York’s monthly sales tax deadline is still in effect. The Dept. of Tax and Finance has released guidance allowing businesses that file quarterly or annually to remit payments late without being charged interest or penalties as long as they submit a waiver. If you are a quarterly or annual sales tax filer, and you were unable to pay your March 20, 2020 sales tax return due to COVID-19, you must apply for a waiver online. Click here for the waiver request

 

3/20/2020

New York State Announces Mandatory Work-From-Home Order, Mandatory Closures, and Guidance for Cleaning Retail Establishments 

New York State on PAUSE (Policies Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone)

Only essential businesses can remain open with employees reporting to work. All New York State residents are required to stay at home and avoid contact with others to the greatest extent possible.

Mandatory Work-From-Home for Non-Essential Businesses (Until Further Notice)

Effective Sunday, March 22 at 8 PM, ALL non-essential businesses in New York are directed to implement work-from-home policies. Non-essential businesses are prohibited from allowing employees to be in the office.

Exemptions include but are not necessarily limited to shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions, any business related to infrastructure, trash collection, construction, mail and shipping, vendors that provide services or products to any of the above mentioned businesses. Empire State Development has issued guidance for determining essential businesses. For a complete list of essential businesses click here, and to request a designation as an essential business click here

Any business not in compliance with work-from-home orders will face civil fines and mandatory closures.

Mandatory Business Closures (Until Further Notice)

Effective Saturday, March 21 at 8 PM, Governor Cuomo announced the mandatory closure of all barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing salons, nail salons, hair removal services and related personal care services.

Effective Thursday, March 19 at 8 PM, Governor Cuomo announced the mandatory closure of all indoor portions of retail shopping malls with an excess of 100,000 square feet of retail space. Any stores (not already mandatorily closed) that are located within shopping malls with their own external entrances may remain open. Food service establishments must limit themselves to take out or delivery only. All places of public amusement must close, including amusement rides, parks, and carnivals; water parks; aquariums; zoos; fairs; theme parks, play centers, funplexes, and arcades; bowling alleys; and any other family and children’s attractions.

Effective Monday, March 16 at 8 PM, Governor Cuomo announced the mandatory closure of all gyms, movie theaters, casinos, and bars and restaurants (except delivery or take-out).

New York Sales Tax Remittance Deadline

New York’s monthly sales tax deadline is still in effect. The Dept. of Tax and Finance has released guidance allowing businesses that file quarterly or annually to remit payments late without being charged interest or penalties as long as they submit a waiver. If you are a quarterly or annual sales tax filer, and you were unable to pay your March 20, 2020 sales tax return due to COVID-19, you must apply for a waiver online. Click here for the waiver request

 
 

Moratorium on Evictions for 90 Days

Governor Cuomo announced a moratorium on both commercial and residential evictions for 90 days.

Small Business Administration Loans

New York State has been granted disaster status, which allows small businesses to receive a disaster loan through the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans will offer up to $2 million in assistance to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that cannot be paid because of the impact of Coronavirus. For more information or to apply, click here.

NFIB will continue to make every effort to share relevant information with members. 

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) continues to provide interim guidance for businesses and employers. For retail stores, DOH has provided Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting for COVID-19

The New York State Department of Health has also established a Novel Coronavirus Hotline: 1-888-364-3065 

FOR MORE CLICK HERE

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