Long Island Main Street News April 8th, 2020

Here is LI Main Street News for day 24 of the shutdown featuring new downtown updates and a communities helping communities section along with grant resources and updated guidance from NYS and both Counties.

presented by Vision Long Island and the Long Island Main Street Alliance


April 8th, 2020


Quotes of Day


“As the COVID pandemic has reached alarming new levels, our health care system is strained to the max, our economy is strained to the max. Doctors and nurses, medical personnel of all types are putting their lives on the line every single day to fight this disease and save others. And so are people not in the medical profession but in essential services: grocery store workers, truck drivers, drug store workers, and pharmacists. For these Americans, working from home is not an option. Social distancing is not an option. We’re calling it a ‘Heroes Fund’ because that’s who it’s for, our heroes.” – Hon. Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senator

“You know, the unsung heroes are THE heroes. They are facing the same stress as everyone else, the uncertainty that comes with COVID-19 and how this could affect their family is real. At the same time these folks are here every day so people can get in. You know, the folks who have been cleaning stations and cleaning the trains at a frequency that has never been seen before, it is a testament to all of them because what we want is for people that are so stressed out right now to know that if they’re taking the railroad, it’s safe that we’re cleaning it, we’re sanitizing it and that we are running enough service to allow them to socially distance when they’re commuting. And that’s all going a long way because I think this is a 24/7 mental strain in terms of, you know, everyone wanting to get to the finish line, and none of us knowing when it’s there.” – Phil Eng, LIRR President

“People are looking for something to be positive about. Adam Moramarco, owner of Advantage Tennis on Post Avenue, has started to broadcast music, both patriotic and popular, through the public address system. I can’t tell you the positive comments I’ve received from people driving through. It just has an uplifting effect on people. It’s a little thing that I think goes a long way to create a different mood.” – Hon. Peter Cavallaro, Mayor, Village of Westbury

“Order your meal from one of our many restaurants offering take out of delivery, work on some gardening after visiting our local nursery for seeds for the vegetable garden or order your groceries online from our local supermarket.” – Jenny Jorge, Freeport Chamber of Commerce.

“With many people stuck at home and using the internet and social media more frequently, scammers are cashing in by trying to steal money, personal information, or to sell bogus medications. We urge anyone who believes they have been a victim of a scam to contact our hotline for assistance.” – Hon. Madeline Singas, Nassau County DA

“In times like these, every challenge our households face is magnified. The heightened anxiety we’re feeling is perfect for scammers, whose preferred tactic is to make people panic at the thought of getting their power shut off. That’s why it’s important for people to know that, during this crisis, PSEG Long Island is not shutting off power due to nonpayment due to financial burdens.” – Rick Walden, PSEG Long Island’s vice president of Customer Services

A message from Vision Long Island and
the Long Island Main Street Alliance…

Helping Main Street through the
Coronavirus Shutdown

Day 24 of shutdown – Wednesday April 8, 2020

The Coronavirus economic shutdown is on day 23.  One of the big news items of the day is that Senator Schumer is proposing a $25,000 heroes fund for frontline providers as part of the next Federal stimulus.

There is still massive confusion regarding SBA loans and stimulus and local banks being overwhelmed with applications for the Payroll Protection Program.  More outreach with local officials who know their small business community is needed on the main street level to access these resources.   Folks should take advantage of the SBA webinars available in the coming days.  

Lots of scams are floating about and Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, PSEG and others have hotlines to report this activity.

The stories of community level philanthropy are coming from all over heartwarming and we will profile at least one each day today check out music playing in downtown Westbury. 

Here are some updates for today:

• Senator Schumer proposed a “Heroes Fund” of $25,000 for all first line responders as part of the newest Federal Stimulus package

 Governor Cuomo held his daily briefing today and he covered the status of Coronavirus cases in the state.  He launched an ad campaign encouraging NYers to stay home.

• Over 30 downtowns participated in yesterday’s LI Main Street Alliance Nassau & Suffolk conference calls and key issues were access to SBA programs, food insecurity, unemployment and keeping spirits up amidst economic dislocation.   Main Street leaders are banding together with creative ideas to celebrate easter, support their neighbors and their small businesses.
The community profiled today is the Village of Freeport
The LI Main Street Alliance’s “We’re Open” Facebook page is now live sharing all of the local businesses still operating in 40 local communities.   Like it and share it and most importantly support your Main Street.

• The biggest issue is still getting access to the two key SBA programs.   Very little outreach has been done to the small business community to help folks understand the benefits of these programs.    Here is information directly from the SBA:
For detailed information on SBA programs for the coronavirus, please visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus and for information on all federal programs, visit www.usa.gov/coronavirus or www.gobierno.usa.gov/coronavirus (en Español).
We know you are facing challenging times in this current health crisis. The U.S. Small Business Administration is committed to help bring relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the CARES Act, which provided additional assistance for small business owners and non-profits, including the opportunity to get up to a $10,000 Advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This Advance may be available even if your EIDL application was declined or is still pending, and will be forgiven.
If you wish to apply for the Advance on your EIDL, please visit www.SBA.gov/Disaster as soon as possible to fill out a new, streamlined application. In order to qualify for the Advance, you need to submit this new application even if you previously submitted an EIDL application. Applying for the Advance will not impact the status or slow your existing application.
Also, we encourage you to subscribe to our email updates via www.SBA.gov/Updates and follow us on Twitter at @SBAgov for the latest news on available SBA resources and services. If you need additional assistance, you can find your local SBA office and resource partners at www.SBA.gov/LocalAssistance. If you have questions, you may also call 1-800-659-2955.
Here is a direct link to the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program
Folks have been scrambling to see where there bank is regarding the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program – here is a list of the most active SBA lenders.

• Support food for front line providers during the night shifts – There are many efforts during the day for food but night shift folks are not getting the meals as readily.  Some Main Street restaurants are stepping up to feed folks after hours – here is one Go Fund Me page from a Main Street business in Patchogue, assisting 7 hospitals!

• NY Blood Center and Mt. Sinai are looking for plasma donations from patients who have successfully recovered for COVID-19 for convalescent plasma treatments, here is the information:
NY Blood Center
While COVID has no proven treatment, it is possible that plasma taken from those who have recovered (convalescent plasma), which has antibodies against the virus, could help. If you had a positive test, AND your symptoms have been gone for 14 days, AND you are willing to DONATE, please complete and submit this form.
All information provided will be kept confidential and will only be used to qualify you as a donor.
Mount Sinai COVID-19 Plasma Donation
If you had COVID-19 and have recovered you can help save a life. Your blood may contain antibodies that fight the virus and can help critically ill people. Mount Sinai is looking to screen you as a volunteer. Please fill out this form to see if you are eligible.

• If you are a senior, every Thursday AARP has live Q and A call to help you manage the Coronavirus crisis.

• Supervisor Bosworth and the Town of North Hempstead launched a new program to provide our seniors with remote companionship during these isolating times. The “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program matches volunteers with seniors in the Project Independence program, and is designed to provide a sense of reassurance and comfort. To participate or to volunteer, call 311 or 516-869-6311

• Student loan borrowers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 can obtain relief for loans not covered by the CARES Act. Available relief includes 90 days of deferred monthly payments, waived late fees, no negative reporting to credit agencies and enrolling eligible borrowers in available long-term assistance programs. New York student loan borrowers should visit the Department of Financial Services’ website at dfs.ny.gov for more information about available student loan relief.

• Resources for displaced bartenders.

• Resources for displaced hospitality workers.

• If you are an artist the NYS Foundation for the Arts has Emergency Grants

• If you are a photographer there are small grants available

• The LI Herald has created a grant program that counts towards 50% discounts on advertising your business.

• Newsday has set up a page on their website for free messages for community organizations

• If you are home and desperately trying to figure out what to do with your child that is remotely productive here are 16 simple things that count as learning.

• Unemployment is still one of the most critical issues facing tens of thousands of Long Islanders.  Here is the latest guidance from the NYS Department of Labor regarding their backlog.

• It goes without saying that the front line providers in health care, police, ambulance, food services and many others are working round the clock and are the true heroes in this.

At 7pm tonight fire departments and communities islandwide will shout out to all of the frontline providers selflessly assisting their neighbors.

Participate in the “Letters to Our Heroes” initiative!  Families can send emails (or scan letters or artwork) to show their support for our first responders, doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who are helping to control the COVID-19 outbreak and keep our communities healthy. You can email them to: LSchaefer@NassauCountyNY.gov  

The SBA sites and webinars and NYS DOL unemployment websites continue to be overloaded with requests.  SBA webinars have been filled to capacity.  The 311 call center in Suffolk, the call lines in Nassau as well and every Town, Village and community organizations are taking enormous amount of calls to answer questions and guide residents to resources where they are available.

For the small businesses that are still open there is a movement to continue to support them and keep them operating.  To their credit that is largely happening in most downtowns across Long Island. 

As we head into the fourth week of shutdown please think about supporting your local businesses at least once if not multiple times.    We have spoken to over 400 local business in over 40 downtown communities and they need your help.

RECENT NEWS FROM GOVERNMENT

• Senator Schumer’s release on $2 trillion Federal rescue package with $112 billion headed to NYS

• Governor Cuomo’s April 8th message

• Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s April 8th message

• Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s April 8th message

• Lupinacci Orders Flags to Half-Staff to Honor Former Elected Officials, Huntington Hospital Nurse and Other Lives Lost

• Town of Huntington to Close Tennis Courts, Crab Meadow Golf Course Monday

• Town of Hempstead Board Announce Economic Stimulus Plan to Help Workers Recover After COVID-19 Crisis – Pledge $40 Million Investment for Town Road Improvements

• A message from the desk of Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand

• A message from Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro

• The Village of Great Neck Plaza’s most recent newsletter

• Village of Babylon’s Village Hall Offices will be Closed April 6th to April 20th

• The Village of Valley Stream is Supporting Small Business

• Updated NYS guidance document on essential vs nonessential businesses.

• PSEG Long Island is warning you to look out for scams and fraud feeding on the pandemic

RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESS

• US Senator Kristin Gillibrand has provided this thorough Q&A on the CARES Act.

• The US Chamber of Commerce has produced a guide to the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program which is very useful.

• The US Senate has provided this resource guide for small businesses and the CARES act.

• A Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act.

• The NYS Department of Labor has instituted a new system to spread out applications.  Check out the PSA that explains their new guidelines to get folks their benefits.

• The SBA Paycheck Protection Program is an important program and details are coming forward.

• With the passage last Friday of the CARES Act, small business owners and nonprofits can get up to a $10,000 advance on an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

• Also check the Suffolk Chambers and Nassau Chambers website for important news and links.
Newsday and the LIA hosted a webinar with NYS SBDC and you can check it out here

• The LI Main Street Alliances “We Are Open” Facebook page is now live sharing all of the local businesses still operating in 40 local communities.   Like it and share it and most importantly support your Main Street.

• The Suffolk County online Coronavirus case tracker is back up and running.

• Our friends at LISTnet have a Coronavirus support page.

• National Federation of Independent Businesses is holding webinars on small business loans and has videos of past ones on their site.

• If you are in the construction industry here is a very thoughtful webinar from the KOW consulting group on changes underway.

• Updated information regarding REVISED SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan application can be found here.

• SBA’s Coronavirus landing page has been updated as well, and has important information including on the SBA Bridge Loan Program

• Property and casualty insurance premiums were waived for small business

• The Small Business Association announced an automatic deferment for loans from previous disasters

• All nonessential construction is shutdown

• Updated NYS guidance document on essential vs nonessential businesses

• NYS has developed a Shared Work program for folks to apply for partial unemployment to supplement a reduced work schedule

• Dining Bonds created to help local small businesses

• The free New York State business advisement services of the Small Business Centers at Stony Brook University and Farmingdale are also available to assist

• Facebook has grants for small businesses

• Kiva has grants for small business

• Amazon has a grant fund for small business

• Verizon has set up a small business recovery fund

• SCORE Long Island is available to assist businesses with their SBA applications

• Read the Editorial from Stuart Richner of the Herald calling for a Small Business Stimulus to lead us into the recovery.

• Here is a video with Leg. William Doc Spencer on safely supporting Main Street businesses

• Rose Walker visited local downtowns to remind residents to patronize businesses that are struggling right now.

• Legislator Laura Schaefer has a series of videos on her Facebook page promoting takeout and delivery to independent small businesses.  Here is one for West Hempstead.

 Nassau County Minority Affairs Director Lionel Chitty provides an update on small business disaster loans.

• If you are searching for hand sanitizer for your organization, community or business you can order a batch here at reasonable prices.

• Nassau County and Suffolk County are surveying small businesses: The Nassau County survey is here.  The Suffolk County survey is here.

• LI Business News and Newsday have done a great job reporting on the need to support local businesses.  Here are a couple of recent stories spotlighting downtown businesses and the LI Main Street Alliance members:

Eating on the Run at LIBN
Survey of Downtown Businesses Shows Potential Closurees at Newsday
How to keep the money from the federal small business bailout at Crane’s New York (Subscription required)

RESOURCES FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT / SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS

• The NYS Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has weblinks for assistance here.

• FEMA Emergency Grants for local governments and service organizations

COVID-19 Guidance: Procurements Under Grants During Periods of Emergency or Exigency

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides financial assistance to states, territories, tribes, local governments, nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and other non-Federal entities. All FEMA grant programs are subject to the Federal procurement standards found at 2 C.F.R. §§ 200.317 – 200.326.

This 1-hour training will help participants understand how to properly contract during emergency or exigent circumstances when using federal funds.

Target Audience:
State, local, and tribal emergency management personnel, houses of worship, and private nonprofit entities; Public Assistance applicants

Topics include:
Sole sourcing under Emergency or Exigency (E&E); additional procurement under grant requirements under E&E; use of pre-existing contracts during E&E

Delivery Format:
Online training trough Adobe Connect. If you have never used this platform, test your connection in advance here.

Training dates and access information are provided below.

FEMA Region 2 (NJ, NY, PR, VI) Training Schedule:

4/8/2020 – 9:30 AM (EDT) – Phone Number: 1-888-270-9936 – Access Code: 101-7496
4/10/2020 – 9:30 AM (EDT) – Phone Number: 1-888-270-9936 – Access Code: 101-7496

https://www.fema.gov/procurement-disaster-assistance-team

• New grant resource for folks who provide meals to children from No Kid Hungry

• If you are a school providing meals during the Coronavirus crisis grants are available.

BILLS BILLS BILLS

• Some tips on bills you need to pay and some that you don’t as this crisis gets prolonged

• The IRS has created a Q&A page with information on what you need to do with your taxes

• Up to date information in accessing unemployment from NYS DOL

• Status of accessing unemployment with 1000% increase in requests

• If you filed for unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, you do not need to prove you are searching for employment to make a claim. Department of Labor Commissioner Reardon has signed a new order that limits all work search activities for all unemployment claimants. No activities are required during the pandemic to receive unemployment benefits.

• Life Insurance payments deferred – For a 90-day period, New Yorkers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may defer paying life insurance premiums. Late payments will be payable over a one-year period. Additionally, consumers and small businesses experiencing Coronavirus-related financial hardship may defer paying premiums for property and casualty insurance for a 60-day period. This includes auto, homeowners, renters and other kinds of insurance. (No late fees will be assessed and there will be no negative impact to your credit.)

• Pharmacies will now offer free home delivery to New Yorkers. All NYS major pharmacy chains, pharmacies have agreed to offer free home delivery to help reduce long lines for prescriptions at their facilities

• PSEG has a Coronavirus page that is updated regularly

• There is now a 90 day waiver on mortgage payments which is a relief to the thousands of Long Islanders that had those bills hanging over their head during an extended forced shutdown.

• Freddie Mac is prohibiting evictions on properties where their loans are in place

• All NYS Department of Motor Vehicles licenses, ID’s and registrations are extended.   All offices closed and transactions are shifted to online service.

• AT&T suspends collection activities during the Coronavirus crisis

• PSEG Long Island Halts Service Shut Offs

• National Grid Halts Service Shut Offs

• Verizon Suspends Collection Activities

 Geico postponed collectons during Coronavirus shutdown

• Folks can check out this stimulus calculator that tells you what you might receive in the form of a direct payment from the Federal government.

• You may be able to temporarily stop making your student loan payments.

• If you are struggling with various bills to pay and worry about automatic payments from your bank account here is guidance on how to stop them.

HUMAN NEEDS

• Folks need FoodIf you are in need of food Island Harvest has their food locater and is working round the clock to continue supplies to those in need

• Domestic Violence is up 10%:  Many experts in the area of domestic violence prevention have pointed out lately that Isolation and unemployment are a recipe for disaster in a household with a history of intimate partner violence. If you need help, contact the Safe Center 24/7 at 516-542-0404 or the NY Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline at 800-942-6906. If you are in any personal crisis, you can also call the Long Island Crisis Center 24/7 hotline at 516-679-1111.

• How is your mental health? A mental health hotline is available to New Yorkers who need it. We can’t underestimate the impact this pandemic is having on mental health. Over 6,000 mental health professionals have volunteered their time to help with New York’s Coronavirus response. For free emotional support, consultation and referral to a provider, call 1-844-863-9314

• If you are pregnant?  Many pregnant women and their families are facing uncertainty about what the COVID-19 outbreak means for their ability to have a safe, supported delivery in Nassau County hospitals.   In response to these concerns, Nassau County has launched a hotline: 516-4UR-CARE. Pregnant patients can call this line and get answers and advice about how to have a safe childbirth under COVID-19 conditions.

• Salvation Army has a Coronavirus hotline for their services of food, counseling and other emergency services

• Stay Clean – NYS is supplying their hand sanitizer to front line providers on an as need basis.   Here is the request form.

• New York State has a Coronavirus hotline and website for information or to schedule a test.  Please call 888-364-3065 or navigate here.

• If you lost your health care, NYS has reopened its health exchange.

• If you are a Senior check out the AARP Thursday conference call with info on social security, tax deadlines and other services.

 If you are a Veteran and struggling through these difficult times you can have virtual Coffee with a Veteran each day at noon until Apr 30.   Email Dave-rogers1969@live.com to sign up.

HELP NEEDED

• Island Harvest is seeking food donations from commercial food establishments impacted by the coronavirus.

• Blood donations are needed: The New York Blood Center said it is in urgent need of donors, since coronavirus concerns have resulted in “critically low blood and platelet appointments” across Long Island. The NYBC has six centers in Nassau and Suffolk and said safety protocols are in place as they urge healthy individuals, who have not been exposed to coronavirus, to donate. The NYBC said if you are unsure if you can donate, you can ask their experts at 800-688-0900 or navigate to their webpage here.

St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center is calling for people to make appointments to donate blood.

• Nassau & Suffolk County need Emergency Personal protective Equipment – Drive is underway.   Info is here.

• New York is calling for qualified health professionals and related professionals to supplement hospital capacity on a temporary basis to help treat seriously ill coronavirus patients.

HELP WANTED

• Tens of thousands of Long Islanders are out of work.   There are many service industry positions seeking temporary or permanent employment.   Here are some:

7-11 (looking to add 20,000 jobs)
Aldi (5,000 open positions)
Amazon (looking to add 100,000 employees)
CVS (looking to hire 50,000 employees)
Dollar Tree/Family Dollar (25,000 full- and part-time associates)
Domino’s (looking to hire up to 10,000 employees)
Pepsi (bring another 6,000 people on board)
Pizza Hut (over 30,000 open positions)
ShopRite
Stop & Shop
Walgreens (fill roughly 9,500 full- and part-time positions)
Walmart (adding 150,000 temporary positions)

General Listings:

Indeed
Long Island’s Craigslist
New York Jobs

Simply Hired

• If someone is looking for a procurement opportunity through the state you can fill out this form here.

• If someone is looking for a procurement opportunity with the federal government check out this source

HOME & STIR CRAZY

• If you are stir crazy with kids at home the Cradle of Aviation uses a video service to bring the museum to residents.

• Bored at home?  East End Arts is providing virtual access to artists.

• The Staller Center for the Arts has a virtual tour of  many instruments and their outreach activities

• Folks are at home with their families and children for extended periods.   It’s important to know how to talk to your kids about Coronavirus so they don’t think we are living in an episode of the Walking Dead.  Here is also some guidance from PBS.

• If you are trying to figure out what to do at home with your kid while they have very limited hours with their teachers online.  Western Suffolk BOCES has produced an online toolkit for learning.

An added bonus to the toolkit is an activity with Mo Willems, Author of “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” and many other cool stories

 If you are searching for something to do with your kids Chocolate Works has Easter kits.  For every one you buy they will donate one to a local food pantry.

• Turn off your Zoom call once you are done.

• Bored at home – Fifty libraries in Nassau County now offer digital cards, allowing residents to explore their hometown library’s book, music and art collections online from the comfort of their couch.

• How to make your own face mask.

• How to make homemade disinfectant spray and wipes.

• Check out a virtual landscape art exhibit from the Westbury Arts Council

• Always wanted to learn to play guitar but never had time?  Fender is giving free lessons from the next three months.

INNOVATION UNDERWAY

• Folks are answering Governor Cuomo’s call for ventilators, masks:

The Business Incubator Association has created an invitation to ventilate.   

The LI Racing Association folks have a go fund me page to increase production of their reusable n95 masks.

A Long Island Distillery is making hand sanitizer.

ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORTATION & SUSTAINABILITY

• SUEZ – who manages Nassau’s major sewage treatment plants in Cedar Creek and Bay Park is urging residents to NOT flush wipes down the toilet but instead place in garbage.  

• One benefit of Coronavirus: traffic is down and more folks walking, biking

• Environmental regulation impacted as EPA Suspended all Environmental Rules

• PSEG Long Island Continues to Storm-Harden the Grid

• MTA Distributes N95 Masks to Heroic Workforce

• MTA Announces Virtual Board Meeting to Be Held on April 22

• LIPA provides update on coordination plan and current projects and initiative

• NICE buses in Nassau County will switch to a reduced schedule. The service will operate on a Saturday schedule from Monday-Saturday, and Sunday service will be unchanged. This does not apply to the Elmont Flexi Shuttle, the Mercy Medical Community Shuttle, the Port Washington Shuttle, and the n19, n57, and n80 routes, which will all continue to run normally

OTHER NEWS & RESOURCES

• Nassau County Map of updates from Across the County

• Suffolk County Map of confirmed Coronavirus cases

• Thinking Globally?   Here is a website documenting the world impact of Coronavirus.

• Thomas Friedman wrote a thoughtful opinion piece on how to get the economy back on track without sacrificing public health.

• Inspirational op-ed from LIBN editor Joe Dowd

• Gary Labarbara from the NYS Building Trades Council speaks about safety for construction workers.

• Celebrities have time on their hands and are letting us know how they feel including Ben Stiller, Danny Devito, Cardi B, Robert Deniro and Madonna encouraging folks to stay home.  Sean Penn was looking to send in the military.  Arnold Schwartzeneger was telling folks to stay home while smoking a cigar in his hot tub, Neil Diamond even wrote a song called “Hands Washing Hands” sung to the tune of Sweet Caroline.

HOW CAN I HELP?

There are hundreds of thousands unemployed in NY but there are many more as folks can’t or haven’t navigated the system for benefits to date.

That is not simply an eye catching statistic but real people with lives upended.

For the folks that are still working I hope you are:

1) humble, sober and aware of the fact that right now millions of americans are in pain,
2) if you have resources to help local folks – patronize open small businesses to limit further job loss,
3) donate to local food pantries,
4) donate other resources directly to real people you may know in need and
5) if you have resources to give to groups make it very local groups who are on the ground and getting them needed help in this time.

CORPORATE PHILANTHROPY

• We are starting to see some Corporate Philanthropy develop that has been missing through this crisis.   Stay tuned for a more thorough report.

Locally
– The Long Island Community Foundation has set up a Coronavirus fund for community services and organizations.
– Pink Tie and the LI Nets have developed a Pink Tie delivers program – more on that in the coming days.
– Trader Joe’s has been making donations to local food pantries
– The Long Island East End Group purchased 15,000 masks for distribution to front line providers.
– The Estée Lauder Companies provided 10,000 hand sanitizer bottles (8 ounces each) per week for 4-5 weeks
– Owners of Shinn Estate Vineyards donate $100,000 to Eastern Long Island Hospitals
– LI Jobs with Justice Solidarity Fund
– Long Island Ambulatory Surgery Center donated a Ventilator
– In addition the United Way, The Townwide Fund of Huntington and the 1763 Foundation are all raising money to distribute to folks that meet their guidelines.  

• The United Way has a fund to assist low income wage earners who were either (1) laid off or (2) furloughed from their jobs due to COVID-19.  People can search for assistance here.

Nationally
– JP Morgan Chase has committed $50 million
– Lowes has announced $25 million in grants and in-kind donations
– Citi Foundation has announced a $15 million fund
– Google has announced $15 million in cash grants
– Citizens Bank has announced $5 million
– Anna Wintour has set up a fund for folks in the fashion industry who are displaced.
– A number of grants for displaced local artists are starting to emerge
– Bank of America has dedicated a $100 million fund nationwide.
– Verizon has set up a small business recovery fund.

There is still a dearth of real community level information and tons of questions from folks stay tuned daily for updates on the range of actions taken to get us through this public health and economic crisis. 

We need you out there to tell is what is happening and what resources are available.   No matter what please join the LI Main Street Alliance by emailing us at ea@visionlongisland.org or call 631-804-9128.  

You can read previous editions of Long Island Main Street News here.

IMPORTANT WEBSITES TO TRACK:

Northwell Health Digital Resource Center

The US Small Business Administration

New York State Department of Labor

NYS Department of Health

CDC Website

Occupational Safety and Health

New York City

Nassau County

Suffolk County

Town of Hempstead

Town of North Hempstead

Town of Oyster Bay

Town of Babylon

Town of Brookhaven

Town of East Hampton

Town of Huntington

Town of Islip

Town of Riverhead

Town of Shelter Island

Town of Smithtown

Town of Southampton

Town of Southold

City of Glen Cove

City of Long Beach

MTA Information

School Closings

AARP’s Updates on the Coronavirus

Island Harvest’s Food Pantry Tracker

Suffolk County Alliance of Chamber’s Disaster Relief Information

Global Dashboard of Infection Data

Worldometers Coronavirus totals in the US

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Reports from Local Downtowns

At this time of uncertainty, we are beginning to see a number of downtowns being shuttered as bars, restaurants, and any place where multiple people congregate are running up against fears of and caution at spreading the Coronavirus. While this is a socially responsible action that will help to save lives, in the short term these actions are having a number of adverse effects on our local communities.

Vision Long Island and Long Island Main Street Alliance members have collected a number of experiences from local restaurants and service businesses, but before we go into that we would like to encourage everyone reading this to find a way to responsibly patronize local establishments. Many stores are offering curbside pickup or online shopping to help them get through this difficult time. And your favorite restaurants are also currently open for business with takeout available.

We also urge you to consider gift cards in order to purchase something at a later date for yourself, or perhaps to give as a present.

Local shops are in a capable position to provide you with what you need in the short-term. Many will also be willing to accommodate you if you contact them ahead of time with requests that will minimize contact and help to lower the spread of this virus.

Vision has connected to nearly 400 small businesses in over 40 downtowns as they weather the economic storm through the Coronavirus. We encourage people to responsibly patronize these and other open establishments who need your help in this time of crisis.

Many of these businesses have been there for local organizations and philanthropy – they now need our support.

In the meantime, here is the featured downtown for today.

For a complete list of downtowns profiles, please check out our website here.You can find our Yes!

Communities Helping Communities: Downtown Westbury

“Art and Life are not two different things.” – Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

Downtown Westbury, like so many others on Long Island, seems very quiet these days, but a closer look, and listen, reveals messages of hope.

Mayor Peter Cavallaro explains, “People are looking for something to be positive about.” The Mayor describes the efforts many are taking to liven up downtown. “Adam Moramarco, owner of Advantage Tennis on Post Avenue, has started to broadcast music, both patriotic and popular, through the public address system,” says Mayor Cavallaro. “I can’t tell you the positive comments I’ve received from people driving through. It just has an uplifting effect on people. It’s a little thing that I think goes a long way to create a different mood.”

Adam Moramarco reflects how he came up with the idea, “During Christmas time I play songs to get people in the spirit. On the way to work recently, I noticed just how quiet the street was and I thought about the music. Music makes people happy and residents are loving it.”

Uniformly, the comments have been all positive: “Thank you! Definitely helps to lift our spirits, and nice when taking your dog for a quick walk,” “Love it,” “Beautiful Westbury,” “Great idea!” and the list goes on.

The Westbury Arts Council has also added to the brightening of downtown. Chalk rainbows can be found on the sidewalks and in store windows. “So, although these are little symbolic gestures, it is an attempt to show that normalcy is going to return and people should hang in there,” Mayor Cavallaro counsels.

Admiration and appreciation go out to all the folks in the Village of Westbury, residents, government and businesses that are working hard to keep the Village the special place it is, even in this time of uncertainty.

Governor Cuomo Briefs on Progress in fight against Coronavirus

Governor Cuomo opened the briefing by noting that the dramatic action taken seems to be working as the number of cases seems to be leveling off.

The number of patients coming into hospitals is dropping rapidly as well with individual hospitals and larger systems reporting that more patients are being released than are coming in.  Capacity is increasing at the same time, making it easier to absorb incoming patients.  The trend is heading towards stabilization over the next coming of weeks and will minimize a need for overflow.

However, even with the good news, it’s all dependent on continuing with the regulations and restrictions in place, which the Governor believes has led directly to the flattening curve.  He stressed that now is not a time to become complacent and rush towards a return to normalcy that could upend the results.  He cited Italy’s healthcare system, which was overrun.

Unfortunately, the death toll continues to rise, reaching a new height of 779 deaths in a single day yesterday.  The number is expected to rise as the patients who have been hospitalized for a longer period of time succumb to the virus.

Cuomo also noted that the number of deaths aren’t just numbers.  They are each a person with family and friends who are feeling the loss.  A number of them are also healthcare workers and first responders who are working to keep others safe and healthy during this crisis.  He used their sacrifice as a plea to New Yorkers to continue with the social distancing and to take responsibility for not just your own but everyone’s health.

He also made an announcement that all flags in New York be flown at half-mast to honor those that were lost to the virus.

At the same time he talked about what we’ll be dealing with as we go forward.  Things will not return to the previous normal but rather the state will enter a new normal that will draw from the lessons of this pandemic.  There is much to learn, both positive and negative, from this whole thing.  We have learned that the world is smaller than we thought where someone who is sick somewhere across the globe can bring that to our neighborhood.

It has also revealed that our public health system will need to be reimagined in the wake of this disaster.  This includes increasing testing capacity in case we see similar outbreaks in the future.  We’re also beginning to learn whole new ways of using technology to improve existing systems.  We are seeing whole new ways of working together in the virtual world as we move forward.

He also talked about the need to figure out why the disease seems to be affecting black and minority populations at a higher rate.  Cuomo believes that at least some of it is related to the fact that it always seems as though the poorest and least among us pay the highest price during disasters of this nature.  He called for a need to figure that out and try to learn so we can reverse that trend in the future.  This will require an increase in research and data that will help in the future.

Next, he announced that an additional $600 will be payed to all unemployed worker, which will be reimbursed by the Federal government.  The state will also extend the period that people can be covered by unemployment an additional 13 weeks to 39 weeks.

He also spoke about voting and the upcoming primaries.  He praised Wisconson voters for doing their civic duty when they were forced to vote in person this past week but also described it as ludicrous.  He then announced that all New Yorkers will be able to vote with absentee ballots in the June 23rd primaries.

Governor Cuomo ended his briefing by thanking the direct care workers and essential State workers who have been risking themselves on the frontline through all of this.  He talked about why it is important to continue social distancing and why it’s so important to protect the health of our fellow New Yorkers.  We still have more work to do, but Governor Cuomo feels that New York is resilient enough to get through this moment in history and come out stronger on the other end.

You can watch his full press conference here.

Paycheck Protection Program for Small Businesses Goes into Effect

The US Department of Treasury has released guidelines for small businesses seeking relief from payroll costs during the Coronavirus pandemic.  This program called the Paycheck Protection Program, will provide small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.

Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.  All loans under this program will have an interest rate of 0.5%, maturity of 2 years, be 100% guaranteed by the SBA, and the first payment will be deferred for 6 months.

Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors— are eligible. Businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries.  Maximum loan amounts will be up to $10 million.
Qualifying small businesses and sole proprietorships will be apply to apply beginning this Friday, April 3rd.  Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply beginning April 10th.  People are encouraged to apply as quickly as possible as there is a funding cap in place.

People can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating. All loans will have the same terms regardless of lender or borrower. A list of participating lenders as well as additional information and full terms can be found at www.sba.gov.

You can find more information on the loans here. You can read more at Long Island Business News.

Small Businesses Urged to Apply for SBA Loans

There are still a lot of questions in regards to the impact of the Federal aid package on small businesses.

Here is the latest fact sheets from US Congresswoman Kathleen Rice that outlines the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (here) and the SBA’s Paycheck Program Loan with the updated guidelines (here).  Congressman Lee Zeldin recently had an SBA representative encourage folks to apply for loans no matter what.

In the meantime, there has been an effort to encourage small businesses to work to apply for loans asap.  The LI Main Street Alliance and the Nassau & Suffolk Chambers are working to get information out to the small business community to help as much as possible.

Newsday and the LIA are both hosting, and will continue to host, video conferences on a range of business resources as well.

This past Friday morning, the Queens Chamber of Commerce hosted a webinar for businesses to learn how to apply for SBA loans.  Man-Li Lin, from the New York District office of the U.S. Small Business Administration presented information to explain how to apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).  This information is subject to change as the situation remains fluid. The local Small Business Development Centers at Farmingdale State College (here) and Stony Brook University (here) will have new information as updates occur.

While SBA loans are typically only available for small businesses, during a declared national disaster, they are also available for private not for profit entities as well.  Most small businesses and non-profits are eligible except for businesses relating to gambling, religious organizations, investment or lending companies, charitable organizations, speculative activities, or agricultural enterprises. 

Loans of up to $2 million are available with no payments for 12 months.  They can be used to pay expenses such as fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, or other bills affected by the disaster.  Interest rates are 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for private non-profits and long term repayments for COVID crisis will be 30 years.  Loans cannot be used for lost revenue, just for expenses.  Typically, businesses are not eligible if they are able to secure credit elsewhere.  However, they are currently allowing applications without denial letters from other lenders.

There is no cost to apply and no obligation to take the loan if it is offered.  The amount of the loan application should reflect six months of operating expenses.  Documentation of a typical months expenses is required.  Businesses are eligible even if they already have a previous SBA loan, disaster loan or other types of SBA loans.  Loans over $25000 require collateral, but won’t be denied simply for lack of collateral, they will require a pledge of what is available.  Criteria for approval will include eligibility, credit history and the ability to repay.
The application forms can be downloaded here.  Once the forms have been completed, they can be uploaded to the site or hardcopies mailed to:

US Small Business Administration

Processing and Disbursement Center
14925 Kingsport Road
Ft. Worth, TX 76155-2243

You can also contact the SBA disaster customer service center at 1-800-659-2955, disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or TTY:1-800-877-8339.  They recommend email as the best way to get in touch with someone.  If applicants are receiving a 404 error, they recommend clearing your cache and trying again.

Upcoming Webinars for Small Businesses Seeking Relief Loans

While this process is still evolving, businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible and provide all required documentationfor relief loans from the Small Business Administration. Representatives from the SBA will follow up with questions.

Webinars will be held to help guide businesses through the application process, the times are as follows:

April 14th, 12 pm to 1 pm. Zoom link here. Phone number: 1-929-436-2866

April 15th, 9:30 am to 11:30 am. Zoom link here. Phone number: 1-929-436-2866

April 16th, 9:30 am to 11:30 am. Zoom link here. Phone number: 1-929-436-2866

CDC Guidelines on Coronavirus Prevention

As concern about the ever-expanding impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) grows, we can minimize or prevent the spread of coronavirus by taking these steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.  Wash or sanitize your hands thoroughly.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or antiseptic wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

For more information see the CDC website or call the NY State Coronavirus hotline to speak with a representative 888-364-3065

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Smart Talk

Contributors:
Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Elissa Kyle, Placemaking Director; Jon Siebert, Administrative Director

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to info@visionlongisland.org for consideration.

If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.

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Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.
Email: info@visionlongisland.org

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