New York City will provide relief for small businesses across the City seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19.

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Open Storefronts Program

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Sidewalk Sales
Mayor announces the Open Storefronts program to begin Friday 10/30/20 and applications are now available
The program allows eligible businesses to conduct activity on sidewalks directly in front of your business. Find the application, diagram, and FAQ here.
 
How can I apply and what is the cost?
  • The application is online and it takes around 5 minutes to apply. It is free to apply. You must know your EIN, basic information about your business, and measure the length and width of the sidewalk in front of your business.
  • If you have multiple businesses, you must apply for each address separately.
Requirements:
Your sidewalk must be at least 8 feet wide and your merchandise should be placed within 5 feet of the external wall of your building. (You can find the width of your sidewalk here but we don’t think this online map is always accurate. We suggest you refer to it if the map looks right but if it doesn’t look correct, we urge you to remeasure your sidewalk’s width yourself.)
 
Which businesses can participate?
Any ground floor storefront business predominantly involved in the sale of goods and/or services directly to the public. Includes businesses engaged in retail trade (i.e. clothing and equipment stores, retail food stores, health and personal care stores) as well as repair stores, personal care services, and dry-cleaning and laundry services.
 
Which activities are/are not allowed in Open Storefronts?
  • You can display and sell goods outside, use A-frame signs, place temporary seating, place collapsible umbrellas with weighted bases and tents (these must be brought inside at the end of each day), lighting (as long as it doesn’t blind shoppers and it complies with FDNY codes), etc. 
  • Not allowed: amplified sound or outdoor heaters, personal care services (hair cuts, etc.)
  • Please look at the full FAQ for more rules.
When will this be in effect? 
The program will start on Fri. 10/30/20 and run through Thurs. 12/31/20. Once your application is approved and starting 10/30/20, you can operate outdoors during your normal business hours within the following hours:
  • Mon. – Sat. 8am – 11pm
  • Sun. 10am – 11pm
I don’t understand or want to discuss what I want to do. Where do I go for answers?
You can call the SBS hotline (888-727-4692) or contact us at the BID directly with any questions.

End of July 2020 update

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fruit

 

1. Zoom call for BID members on Mon. 8/3/20 at 1pm
Join us on Mon. 8/3/20 for updates, networking, and discussion of shifting activities outdoors as well as exploring one member’s idea about sharing commercial space for businesses who, due to the shut down, are no longer able to keep their storefronts. You do not need to register in advance.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87406594769

Meeting ID: 874 0659 4769
One tap mobile +16465588656,,87406594769# US (New York)

2. One more week to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan (PPP)
The last day that the SBA will be accepting PPP applications from lenders is Sat. 8/8/20 (you can only apply for a PPP through a lender). We have been speaking with TruFund and they are still accepting PPP applications until Wed. 8/5/20 and will help walk you through the process. If you are interested in applying, contact Valerie H. Johnson-Brown, Client Engagement Manager:  office: 212.204.1347; cell: 631.365.9905   vhaynes@trufund.org

3. There is still time to apply for LISC Small Business Relief Grant (application due by Mon. 8/3/20 at 11:59pm)
Go here to apply for a grant ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.

4. Check here for our regularly updated list of reopening information, available loans and grants, and more.

4. As always, if you’re a member of the Flatbush Avenue BID and you are not receiving our emails giving you information about loans and grants, free PPE, and business webinars, or if you need individual help available for free for all BID members, contact us today at FlatbushAveBID1@gmail.com!

Best,
Lauren, Hope, & Sneha

July 2020 Updates

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Flatbush Ave.

We have been focusing on direct emails and calls with members while using social media to promote our businesses as the City starts reopening. We wanted to post a few pre-Fourth of July updates here…

*BID businesses should be on our email list if you want the inside scoop. Email Lauren at FlatbushAveBID1@gmail.com to get on the list or with any questions.

*Reopening: Many of the BID’s businesses are now open as the City waits for Phase 4 and for announcements about gyms, indoor dining, movie theaters, and indoor malls. Many of our retail stores are open for business and most of our dine-in and fast food restaurants are doing steady take-out and delivery. See the list of our open businesses here.

*Our recommended loans:  We regularly update our list of COVID-19 resources for businesses. Right now, we’re encouraging business owners to apply for the following loans:

  1. NY Forward Loan: Available from NYS.
  2. Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s Bring Back Brooklyn fund.
  3. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): This loan’s deadline has been extended until Aug. 8, 2020.
  4. Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL): Apply directly through the Small Business Administration (includes advance of up to $1,000 per employee up to $10k). We like this program better than the PPP because it’s more flexible in how you can spend the money.

*Still to come:  We are looking for creative ways that indoor dining and fitness and dance studios can reopen soon. We encourage any restaurants interested in offering outdoor seating through Open Restaurants to contact us.

Updates and how to reach us

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COVID-19: During this incredibly difficult time, the BID’s staff is working remotely as we continue to gather information on programs that can help you as a property owner and business owner, advocate for safe and business-supporting regulations to get you through this crisis, and prepare to help you rebuild after the crisis is over. To reach us, please email FlatbushAveBID1@gmail.com or message us on our Facebook page.

  1. The first place we will post COVID-19 updates is on our Facebook page.

  2. The second place is this website under News & Events.

  3. Links to our recommended sources of the city, state, and federal governments’ COVID-19 information, as well as information about grants and loans, is located on this site under Neighborhood/Resources.

Assistance for Businesses Impacted Due to Coronavirus

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Assistance for Businesses Impacted Due to Novel Coronavirus (updated 3/20/20)

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on March 8 that the City will provide relief for small businesses across the City seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19.

The NYC Dept. of Small Business Services’ has opened the applications for grants for small businesses who are struggling in light of COVID-19 (applications for loans will open next week). We urge you to fill out the application now available online and note that there are financial documents you will need to gather. If you have any difficulties completing the application, please email or text Lauren Collins (917-538-5784) with the best way to contact you and one of the BID’s staff will get in touch with you to assist.

As this is a rapidly changing situation, we encourage you to visit NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene’s website at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/coronavirus.page for up-to-date information.

 

Plastic Bag Ban Details

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FACT SHEET: Plastic Bags Outlawed in NYC starting March 1, 2020 (upd. 3/3/20)
(some sections below provided courtesy of the Jerome Gun Hill BID)

If you have further questions about your business’s bag use, please contact NYS Dept. of Environmental
Conservation at 518-402-8706 or Lauren at the BID at 718-282-2500, x66351 or laurenc@churchavenue.org.

* * * * * *

The NYS Bag Waste Reduction Act prohibits the distribution of plastic carryout bags by retailers in NYS.

Q: Which retailers are no longer allowed to provide plastic bags?
A: Any person required to collect NYS Sales tax will no longer be able to provide plastic carryout bags.
Stores that are covered by the bag waste reduction law include, but are not limited to: clothing stores,
convenience stores, drug stores and pharmacies, grocery stores, hardware stores, liquor stores, office
supply store, restaurants/food service establishments located within the above stores. The paper
carryout bag fee does not apply to food pantries or soup kitchens.

Q: What does the term “plastic carryout bag” mean? Does this include all plastic bags?
A: “Plastic carryout bag” means any film plastic bag, other than an exempt bag (see list below), that is
provided to a customer by a person required to collect tax to be used by the customer to carry tangible
personal property, regardless of whether such person to collect sales tax sells any tangible personal
property or service to the customer, and regardless of whether any tangible personal property or service
sold is exempt from tax under Article 28 of the NYS Tax Law.

Are there any exceptions?
The following plastic bags may still be distributed if they are:
 Bags used solely to contain or wrap uncooked meat, fish or poultry;
 Bags used by a consumer solely to package bulk items such as fruits, vegetables, grains or candy;
 Bags used solely to contain food sliced or prepared to order;
 Bags used solely to contain a newspaper for delivery to a subscriber;
 Bags sold in bulk to a consumer at the point of sale;
 Trash bags;
 Food storage bags;
 Garment bags used by dry cleaners and laundry services;
 Bags prepackaged for sale to a customer;
 Plastic carryout bags provided by a restaurant, tavern, or similar food service establishment, as defined
in the state sanitary code, to carry out or deliver food; or
 Bags provided by a pharmacy to carry prescription drugs

 Reusable bags (must meet all of the three categories below)

  • Must be made either of cloth or other machine-washable fabric or other non-film plastic
    washable material, and
  • Has at least one strap or handle that doesn’t stretch and is attached to the bag in such a
    manner that it allows the bag to have a lifespan of at least 125 uses with the ability to carry
    at least 22 pounds over a distance of 175 feet, and
  • Has a fabric weight of at least 10 milliliters thick or equivalent for bags made of non-film
    plastic.

Q: What about paper bags?
A: New York City will enact a five-cent fee on paper carryout bags, which will also take effect on 3/1/20.
This fee must be stated clearly on customer receipts and is due quarterly to the NYS Dept. of Taxation and
Finance. The fee does not apply to exempt bags or customers using SNAP or WIC. Go here for details on the
paper bag fee: https://www.tax.ny.gov/bus/st/paper-carryout-bag-fee.htm.

Q: Will there be a grace period?
A: Yes. the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation agreed to not take any enforcement action until
4/1/20. We’ve been told by the DEC that the first violation is a warning with, if there isn’t compliance,
followed by a first fine of $250 and a second within the same calendar year of $500. This is for your general
information but please note that this could change.

Q: Are stores required to offer reusable bags for purchase or at no charge?
A: Only certain larger and chain stores are required to offer reusable bags. “Store” is defined as a retail
establishment that has over 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space or is part of a chain engaged in the same general
field of business which operates five or more units of over 5,000 sq. ft. of retail space under common
ownership and management. In other words, a small convenience store (less than 10,000 sq. ft. or not part of a
chain with 5 or more units over 5,000 sq. ft. in size) would not be required to make reusable bags available.

Questions from other BID members

Q: I have a grocery store and we sell sliced meat, packaged goods, and refrigerated items. If a customer
buys sliced meat, a box of cookies, and a carton of milk, can’t we put the entire thing in a plastic bag since
sliced meat is one of the exempt items?
A: No. The sliced meat is exempt and can go in its own plastic deli bag but if the customer doesn’t bring
their own bag, the total items can only go in a paper bag.

Q: Does the five-cent paper bag fee apply to the paper bags my pharmacy uses to carry prescription drugs?
A: No, the five-cent paper bag fee only applies to paper bags being used as an alternative to the banned
film plastic bags.

Q: My clothing store uses plastic bags with reinforced handles. They are stronger than the typical plastic
carryout bag. Can we still use these?
A: Unless the bag meets all three criteria under the “Reusable Bags” bullet point above, they can’t be used
after 3/1/20.