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Are you a Webster business struggling because of COVID-19?

Webster Chamber shares list of business resources

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As COVID-19 continues, many businesses are either struggling to make ends meet or shutting down - either temporarily or permanently. Not all businesses are aware of the programs and resources that are available to help them through this difficult time.


That’s where the Webster Chamber of Commerce comes in.


The Webster Chamber has been keeping its website updated with useful resources to help businesses and employees navigate this economic curveball.


Below are the list of resources and their brief descriptions as they appear on the Chamber’s website. Please note that this list was last updated by the Chamber on April 7.


Cares Act - Loans & Grants for immediate and longer term assistance:

Most businesses (and self employed) are eligible for multiple funding assistance programs available from the Small Business Administration (some through your bank) - click here to see options.


The US Treasury released new information & guidance for Small Business Assistance

The US Chamber Small Business Loan Guide (answers most of your questions).


Updates on Unemployment and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance:

Click on this link to SEE IF YOU QUALIFY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT - most people do, even self employed and sole practitioners.


Here are the latest (updated on 03/31/2020) answers to Unemployment questions - click to link.


Here's specific guidance for self employed and how to apply for Unemployment - click to view.


Click on this link for RELIEF FOR WORKERS AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS ACT information.


Click on this link for the RELIEF FOR WORKERS FLOWCHART Information.


NYS Website / NY On Pause (now extended to 04/29) website with the latest NYS information:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued a new executive order mandating all businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state to reduce their in-person workforce at any location by 100%, excepting operations deemed essential. This mandate goes into effect at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 22. Businesses not in compliance with this mandate face civil penalties and/or closure.


Here is New York State's regularly updated (throughout the day) website providing a broad array of information including further links and information for businesses and the latest announcements: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home


Chamber Members offering help to Chamber Members:

Chamber members are offering assistance to other businesses during this situation. Those businesses have provided the following information and links:


Harter Secrest & Emery LLP: The Law firm is providing free webinars with guidance for employers during the COVID situation. The March 25th webinar is at 11:00 AM and will cover information on SBA Loans - here the link. There are also recordings of previous guidance for employers webinars by them.


CMSMAX is one of the largest website developers and content management providers in the area and is offering free services during the situation. CLICK HERE to go to their website for all the information.


Computer Works Pro, Inc is an independent IT consultant and Computer Sales & Service Provider. They are open and available to assist you. CLICK here to go to their Facebook page.


Feed Rochester is a website for all food purveyors to list their hours and links to their information. It is powered by CMSMAX and offered free of charge. If you’re a local restaurant, grocery store or food service provider, you can list and update your information on the Feed Rochester website completely free of charge. The CMS Max support staff will help with everything from initial listings to business information updates. CLICK here to go to Feed Rochester.


Spectrum Internet: Spectrum is aware that reduction in staff at offices and businesses is creating needs for internet connections to be set up for their employees at home. They are also hearing from businesses that need to stream meetings requiring higher bandwidth or that need a new internet connection. With higher demand for internet, customers may need to upgrade the internet at the office-- especially if they have employees that need to VPN into the office. Steve Conger from Spectrum has been helping members with internet services during this time. Please email Steve if you need assistance.


CMIT Solutions: CMIT is waiving on-boarding fees for Webster Chamber members through the month of April (must have 10 or more employees). Members can have a remote assessment about their IT support needs to see how CMIT Solutions can be of help. Email Cheryl Nelan for more information.


Monroe County Emergency Small Business Assistance for Business Affected by COVID-19:

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, Monroe County has established a loan program to support small businesses (defined as businesses having 50 or fewer full-time or full-time equivalent employees) impacted by the pandemic. Those seeking financial assistance can click here to get the information and the online application.


Monroe County Job Portal:

Monroe County announced a job portal that will connect essential businesses who are looking to expand their workforce during the COVID-19 crisis and individuals across the community who are healthy and looking for work. While the local economic impact of COVID-19 is already visible, this is an effort to direct both employers looking to hire workers and residents seeking work to a single platform. Job seekers and employers are encouraged to use the RochesterWorks system, which may be accessed at www.monroecounty.gov/works.


Empire State Development Web Portal:

Guidance on Essential Businesses (updated 03/27/2020): Click here. FAQs are here: Click here for FAQs regarding if you are subject to the rules (and look at #13).


Click here for General FAQs, here's a link to the Empire State COVID-19 Related Resources.


Guidance on Family Leave Laws - NYS and Federal from the Small Business Council:

The Webster Chamber is a member of the NYS Small Business Council. They are providing guidance (as of 03/19/2020) on the Federal and NYS Leave Laws, including employer mandates, eligibility and strategy for employees. Click here to review that updated information.


SBA Disaster Loans (see above for CARES ACT Information):

Here is a deck of slides from a Webinar that Empire State Development and The Chamber Alliance of NYS (the Webster Chamber is a member) did on 03/26/2020. It is a comprehensive review of the process and requirements to get SBA Disaster loans. Click here for the slides.


Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.


Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For complete details on SBA, visit www.sba.gov. SBA Customer Service Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process at 1-800-659-2955.


Layoffs and temporary layoffs:

If you need to layoff workers, you can direct them to the NYS Department of Labor website to register for Unemployment Insurance. Let your employee know if the layoff is temporary or permanent and if you have an estimated return to work date. Currently, the normal 7 day waiting period to collect unemployment has been waived. Instructions to applicants can be found on that website. In an effort to maintain their application website, the DOL has specific times for applicants to submit, based on your last name. See their website for details.


New York State Shared Work Program:

Consider the Shared Work program as you manage your work force. Shared Work lets you keep trained staff and avoid layoffs. Employees can receive partial Unemployment Insurance benefits while working reduced hours. Full-time, part-time and seasonal employees are eligible. See the website for details.


Special enrollment period to get Health Insurance:

NY State of Health, today (March 18th. 2020) announced that New York will make a Special Enrollment Period available to New Yorkers during which eligible individuals will be able to enroll in insurance coverage through NY State of Health, New York’s official health plan Marketplace, and directly through insurers. This step is being taken in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency to further protect the public health of New Yorkers. NY State of Health, DFS, and New York State health insurers are taking this action so that individuals do not avoid seeking testing or medical care for fear of cost.


Individuals who enroll in Qualified Health Plans through NY State of Health or directly through insurers between March 16 and April 15, 2020 will have coverage effective starting April 1, 2020.


Please call the Webster Chamber of Commerce for enrollment assistance.


Mandated Sick Leave and Sick Pay:

There are current negotiations between the Governor, Assembly, and the State Senate that will require employers to provide sick leave to employees; in some circumstances it will require that to be paid sick leave. So far, this is not in addition to any sick leave benefit you may already offer, but will set the minimum NYS requirements for employers. Check back as we are watching this legislation daily.


Harter Secrest & Emery LLP Resource Page and Webinars:

Chamber member Harter Secrest & Emery LLP Law Firm has a dedicated web page with resources for employers: https://www.hselaw.com/guidance-for-employers-on-responding-to-covid-19


Economic Stimulus - $1000 to individuals:

President Trump has proposed a stimulus package (that needs to be passed by both houses of Congress) that would provide a payment of $1000 to each taxpayer to stimulate the economy. This is similar to the package enacted in the crisis of 2008. Check back for more information as it becomes available.


The Webster Chamber of Commerce has limited hours for essential services only (e.g. payments, documents, health insurance enrollment processing, etc.):


  • Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. until 12:00 Noon


The Chamber can be reached via phone at (585) 265-3960 or email at BHoward@WebsterChamber.com.


Visit the Chamber’s website (www.WebsterChamber.com) for the latest updates regarding business restrictions, closures, essential services, SBA loans, Paid Family Leave, Unemployment, and other related issues during the coronavirus pandemic.


***Please consider donating to Webster Online’s GoFundMe to keep this independently-run news site operating and Webster residents informed during these challenging times.***

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