New York State Phased Reopening Plan
Businesses in each region will re-open in phases, based on metrics set by New York State. To learn more about the four phases and the status of the Finger Lakes region, click here: forward.ny.gov/
For the most up-to-date information on Rochester's reopening phases, visit: cityofrochester.gov/coronavirus/
May 15, 2020
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting
Retail (Limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off)
May 29, 2020
Real Estate Services, Building and Property Management, Leasing, Rental, and Sales Services
Retail In-Store Shopping, Rental, Repair, and Cleaning
Motor Vehicle Sales/ Leases/ Rentals
Hair Salons and Barbershops (with limited services)
Restaurants (take-out and outdoor dining only)
June 12, 2020
Restaurants / Food Services (50% capacity)
Places of Worship (25% capacity)
June 26, 2020
Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment (33% capacity in any area)
Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment (25% capacity)
Guidance for Reopening
As businesses begin to open, they will need to take certain precautions to ensure that employees and customers stay healthy. See below for general and specific guidelines for reopening business and organizations.
General Reopening Guidance
Center for Disease Control (CDC): Guides for specific organizations
U.S. Department of Labor: OSHA Health and Safety Guide
New York Forward: Industry-specific guidance
New York Forward: Statewide Guidance
New York Forward: Safety Plan Template
Monroe County Guidelines: COVID-19 Resources
Opening After a Prolonged Closure
Center for Disease Control: "Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operations"
Water and Plumbing Guidelines: Letter from Commissioner Jones
Materials and Information by Business Types
Restaurants and Bars
NEW! New York Forward: "Reopening New York: Food Service Guidelines for Employers and Employees"
NYS Department of Health: "Interim Guidance for Outdoor & Take-Out/ Delivery Food Services"
NYS Department of Health: "Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work"
Center for Disease Control: "Considerations for Restaurants and Bars"
Streetsense: "Pandemic Relaunch Toolkit"
Personal services (e.g., barbershops and salons)
NEW! New York Forward: "Reopening New York: Personal Care Services Guidelines for Employers and Employees"
National Association of Barbers: "How to Prepare to Return to Your Shop"
Professional Beauty Association: "Back-to-Work Guidelines"
National Retail Federation: "Operation Open Doors Checklist- Version 2.0"
Places of Worship
Center for Disease Control: "Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith"
Center for Disease Control: "Manufacturing Workers and Employers"
Center for Disease Control: "COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings"
Financial Assistance for Businesses
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Relief Resources
The Employee Retention Credit is a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes equal to 50% of the qualified wages an eligible employer pays to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. You can get immediate access to the credit by reducing the employment tax deposits you are otherwise required to make. Also, if your employment tax deposits are not sufficient to cover the credit, you may get an advance payment from the IRS.
Coronavirus-Related Paid Leave for Workers and Tax Credits for Small- and Mid-Size Businesses
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (PDF) gives all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee's own health needs or to care for family members.
For more information on all of these programs, visit the IRS website for Coronavirus Tax Relief
Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Program
The Federal Reserve has announced that it is establishing a Main Street Lending Program to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program will operate through three facilities:
For more information on this program, visit the Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Program webpage
U.S. Treasury Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. If employers enrolled in this program keep all their employees on the payroll for eight weeks and the funds provided through the program are used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities the Small Business Association (SBA) will forgive a portion of the employer's loans.
You 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 in the program.
For more information visit the Paycheck Protection Program webpage
Small business owners have until August 8, 2020 to apply for the PPP grant.
Small Business Association (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories were able to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.
At this time, only agricultural business applications will be accepted due to limitations in funding availability and the unprecedented submission of applications already received. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will process these applications without the need for re-applying.
For more information visit the SBA Disaster Loan Application webpage
New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF)
NYFLF is a new economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting New York State small businesses, nonprofits, and small landlords as they reopen after the COVID-19 outbreak and NYS on PAUSE. The program is designed to support small businesses with 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (90% of all businesses), as well as nonprofits and small landlords that have seen a loss of rental income.
NYFLF is providing working capital loans so that small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords have access to credit and can cover upfront expenses as they reopen. These loans are available to small businesses, nonprofits, and small landlords that did not receive a loan from either the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for COVID-19 in 2020. The loans are not forgivable in part or whole. The loans will need to be paid back over a 5-year term with interest.
For more information visit the New York State website.
Emergency Business Retention Grants
Businesses economically impacted by the pandemic are eligible for financial assistance through the City of Rochester’s Business Emergency Retention Grant Program. If businesses have previously applied or received funds from this program, they are eligible for an average of $3,000 additional. If businesses have not applied or received funding through this program, they would be eligible for a maximum amount of $5,000 in the form of a grant which can be utilized towards unpaid rent, mortgage payments, insurance (including deductibles) and payroll, as long as businesses have not received funds through the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program as funding cannot pay for a duplication of expenses already receiving assistance. The same would apply for inventory which would be eligible unless being covered by insurance payments or other programs. Find the application here.
Note: The City will be reaching out to provide additional support to businesses that have been impacted by the events of May 30th-31st.
The Kiva Rochester Program
The Kiva Rochester crowdfunding program has expanded its access to interest-free loans to help local small businesses weather the economic downturn triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak. Kiva has increased the maximum loan amount to 15,000 (from $10,000); waived certain financial requirements to expand eligibility; and instituted a new six-month grace period on the first loan repayment. Learn how to apply for a Kiva loan at cityofrochester.gov/kiva
90 Day Loan Deferrals
Businesses that have current loans with the City of Rochester and/or the Rochester Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) are eligible for a 90-day deferral of loan payments.
Apply for Tax Agreements
The City offers property owners facing financial hardship the ability to pay taxes in installments. To access this option, please fill out an application and provide a few simple documents outlined in the application’s instructions. Please see the Tax Agreement program page here on the City website for more information.
Genesee Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council's Revolving Loan Fund
The Regional Revolving Loan Fund is available for small- and medium-sized businesses needing resources and generally participates with other public and private financing tools for fixed asset loans (eg. acquisition and improvement of land, buildings, plant, and equipment, including new construction or renovation of existing facilities, demolition and site preparation) and working capital loans for the start-up of new businesses or conduct of current businesses. Click here for more information.
NEW! Restaurant Grant for Home Delivery for Seniors
Housing Support for Renters & Owners
Beginning March 20, 2020, all evictions across New York State were suspended until June 19, 2020, and the courts are not accepting any new eviction or foreclosure cases. Beginning June 20, 2020 through August 20, 2020, tenants cannot be evicted for non-payment of rent if they are eligible for unemployment insurance or benefits or if they are otherwise facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, those tenants facing financial hardship can request to use their security deposit to pay rent and repay the security deposit over time. More information is available here.
Eviction or threat of eviction taking place during this timeframe is illegal. If you are a tenant currently experiencing an eviction threat, please contact the New York State Attorney General’s Office at email@example.com or calling 800-771-7755.
Tenants can't be charged fees for late rent payments during the period from March 20, 2020 through August 20, 2020.
However, all rent payments during this timeframe are still due as normal and unpaid rent will still be held against the tenant once the moratorium expires, including in eviction court. Tenants are strongly advised to continue to pay their landlord their monthly rent payments if possible.
We understand that financial situations have changed, jobs have been furloughed or lost, and some may need assistance to help them through this period of time. There are services available to anyone who is struggling to make rent or utility payments, facing eviction, or simply wants information on what their options are. However, support is not guaranteed, and access to resources may depend on an individual’s particular housing situation.
The City has increased its support to several local eviction and homelessness prevention service providers. This includes increased funding for services related to housing education, legal assistance, and direct financial assistance.
In general, anyone behind on rent or struggling to pay should:
Make a Plan – Make a budget and figure out how much you can pay, and when.
Seek out Resources – Apply for benefits (DHS), and/or search for employment.
Stay in Contact and Advocate for Yourself – Talk to your landlord, explain your situation and your plan, and negotiate/ask for time to pay or a payment plan.
Education and General Information
For general assistance navigating housing issues, please call The Housing Council hotline at 585-546-3700, between the hours of 9AM and 1PM to speak to a Housing Counselor
For those that are behind on rent, worried about eviction due to non-payment, and have received a 14 Day Notice to Pay or Quit, assistance may be available to you by contacting Catholic Family Center’s Community Resource Center at 585-232-2050. Please note, you should first apply for assistance through the Monroe County Department of Human Services (DHS) by calling 585-753-6960, but, if your income is too high or you have been denied benefits, Catholic Family Center may be able to help. You should also call 2-1-1/Lifeline or chat on 211lifeline.org to access other financial assistance resources that may be specific to your area or situation.
Legal Guidance and Assistance
If an eviction has already been filed and you have a court date set, you may still have access to the resources listed above, and we recommend that you continue to try to secure resources and stay in contact with any services or supports you have engaged. However, it is important that any legal questions you have get answered and that you seek out legal assistance. The City works with LawNY and the Legal Aid Society to help provide guidance and representation to those going through the eviction process. Contact LawNY by calling 585-325-2520 or visiting the LawNY website, and Legal Aid Society by calling 585-232-4090 or visiting the Legal Aid Society website.
Emergency Shelter and Other Resources
Anyone who is at imminent risk of losing their housing, or who finds themselves without housing can contact 2-1-1 for help finding resources related to your housing search, emergency food options, and more. If you are in need of immediate help and/or emergency shelter options, please contact Monroe County DHS at 585-753-6044, or 585-442-1742 after hours.
In line with rental evictions, there is a moratorium on evictions of homeowners facing bank foreclosure.
Homeowners not yet in foreclosure but facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 are advised to contact their mortgage servicer as early as possible. Most mortgage servicers are offering relief to homeowners. Some options include short-term “forbearances” during which payments are paused, to be repaid later. Others include long-term changes to mortgage terms. Some homeowners will benefit from a combination of short- and long-term options. Please visit this page for more information.
For City homeowners experiencing financial hardship, the City of Rochester continues to offer Property Tax Payment Agreements which allows for delayed, as well as, monthly payments. Click here to learn more.
For general assistance navigating housing issues, please call the Housing Council hotline at 585-546-3700, between the hours of 9AM and 1PM to speak to a Housing Counselor
Food & Meal Distribution
Rochester Grab & Go Meal Finder
With schools having closed during the COVID-19 Emergency, the City of Rochester and the Rochester City School District have partnered to serve children pre-packaged breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
This app will help you find the closest distribution site by entering your address into the search box or selecting “Use Current Location.” Click here to view the full-screen version of the map.
Foodlink Emergency Food Supply Boxes Program
Beginning June 1, Foodlink will resume drive-through distribution of grocery boxes for families in need of food during this crisis. A typical box may include: pasta, pasta sauce, canned soups, canned vegetables, canned fruits, canned tuna, cereal, and other foods. Some perishable goods – such as dairy products, eggs, and produce – may also be available. Please see Foodlink’s website here for more information on locations and schedules.
Lifespan Senior Food Delivery
Lifespan of Greater Rochester is distributing food to at-risk elderly homeowners affected by the pandemic. This is funded by the City’s CARES act additional allocation of CDBG funding. For more information, click here to visit their website.
NEW! Restaurant Grant for Home Delivery for Seniors
The City of Rochester is seeking to partner with up to 20 city restaurants to deliver meals to area seniors, age 60 and above, who are unable to travel or frequent restaurants due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Department of Neighborhood and Business Development will award Restaurant Grants of up to $15,000 to support selected restaurants in each quadrant of the city that agree to prepare free, meals for delivery to area seniors for up to three months. The City is contracting with Goodwill and its 211/Life Line program to perform facilitated enrollment services. Selected restaurants will coordinate with Goodwill to provide and deliver the free meals to seniors enrolled in the program at designated dates and times. Restaurants can use third-party delivery companies to support the operation.
The grant funds will be used by the selected restaurants as working capital to offset the operational expenses associated with the program. Funding for the program is provided through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
To receive a Restaurant Grant, restaurants must operate within the city and be in good standing with all regulatory requirements, including zoning codes, taxes and fees, insurance and fair hiring practices.
Click here for more information about the grant and to download an application.
Applications are due July 2.
NEW! New York Forward Child Care Expansion Incentive Program
Governor Cuomo announced that $65 million in federal CARES Act funding is now available for child care providers statewide. The funding available:
The funding available includes:
$20 million to assist childcare program with reopening and expansion of capacity by providing materials to support a more socially distant model, and for supplies and activities associated with reopening and expansion. This may include partitions, short term rental of space, etc.
$45 million in childcare Reopening and Expansion Incentive funds to pay for 50% of the cost of a newly opened classroom (maximum grant amount of $6,000) as an incentivize to open the classroom. The temporary funds will phase out over the second and third months as more parents bring their children back into childcare.
To be eligible for reopening funds, child care programs must have either been closed as of June 15 and have a plan to reopen within two weeks of applying or currently operating below their licensed capacity and would like to expand. The grants will be pro-rated as programs reach capacity. Programs must submit a detailed plan for use of funds and must remain open at least through the end of the year.
The maximum awards for the $20 million in Reopening and Restructuring Incentives depend on the size of the program and range from $300 to $1,600 one-time grants. Child care programs may apply to OCFS through July 15. More Information on the application process coming soon!
Click here for to view the Governor's announcement.
Child Care Scholarships for Essential Workers
Governor Cuomo announced that as of April 20th New York State will provide child care scholarships to all essential workers.
"Essential workers" include first responders such as health care providers, pharmaceutical staff, law enforcement, firefighters, food delivery workers, grocery store employees, and others who are needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Child care costs will be covered with $30 million in federal CARES Act funding to essential staff whose income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level – or $78,600 for a family of four – and will be paid up to the market rate for each region statewide.
Scholarships are available through the Child Care Council. Click here to find the application.
Monroe County Department of Human Services Child Care
Families with adults who are working, but are earning lower incomes, might qualify for a daycare subsidy through the Monroe County Department of Human Services (DHS). Families with income levels falling within a specific range are eligible.
To apply for a daycare subsidy please visit the DHS website here, or call the DHS Application Line 585-753-6960 to request a Child Care Application packet. You will be asked to complete the application, child care request, work schedule, and absent parent form (if applicable) and send it to:
Department of Human Services
111 Westfall Rd.
Rochester, NY 14620
Attn: Team 76 – Child Care