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Support Forest Hills Eateries
What is Support Forest Hills Eateries? Are you trying to sell me something?
Support Forest Hills Eateries is a group of community volunteers who connected to support local eateries in Forest Hills, Queens, NY through the economic impact of COVID-19. Our goals are: (1) Connect eateries to ways they can support themselves through COVID-19 and (2) Connect local residents and community groups to ways they can support the local eateries they love through COVID-19. You can contact us on our Contact page.
How can I receive updates on policy changes and opportunities for eateries in Forest Hills?
You can subscribe to our newsletter here.
How can Support Forest Hills Eateries support my eatery to gain visibility and traffic during COVID-19?
Support Forest Hills Eateries is maintaining a list of eateries open for takeout or delivery and sharing information via our website, Facebook Group, Instagram, and newsletter encouraging residents to support eateries by buying directly. Please let us know via our Contact page if you would like to be listed or to update information on takeout, delivery, or hours.
Public Health Guidance
When can I expect Forest Hills to reopen?
Eateries are designated essential businesses for takeout and delivery only. Within New York State’s four-phase reopening plan, restaurants and food services can more fully open in Phase Three. As of 6/16/20, New York City, including Forest Hills, is expected to reach the criteria for Phase Two of reopening in early July, when outdoor in-person seating would be permitted. You can track more specific metrics on reopening using New York Forward’s regional monitoring dashboard.
How can I prepare my eatery to reopen?
According to the New York City Department for Small Business Services, each business, including those designated as essential, which includes eateries in Forest Hills conducting takeout or delivery, must develop a written Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. This plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval but must be retained on the premises of the business and must be made available to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection. A plan template has been provided by the New York State Department of Health, which you may use, or you may create your own Safety Plan.
How can my eatery operate safely?
The New York City Department of Small Business Services has given the following guidance:
Offer contact-less delivery. If you or your customers prefer, you can offer to leave food just outside their doors instead of waiting for them to open the door for you
Follow NYC Health Code requirements for food preparation to prevent foodborne illness. No additional food protection protocols are required for COVID-19.
Do not make deliveries if you are sick. You should be at home if you are sick.
Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before and after each delivery.
Practice social distancing, keeping 6 feet between you and others.
If you do interact with a customer, remember to wash hands or use hand sanitizer after every transaction.
How does New York State define “in-store pickup”?
Until New York City reaches Phase Three of reopening, only takeout and delivery options are allowed. New York State has given the following guidance:
Can I deny entry to individuals not wearing a face-covering?
Yes, you have the ability to deny entry to those not wearing masks or other face-coverings if you choose to do so. On May 28, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order authorizing businesses to deny entry to individuals who do not wear masks or face-coverings.
What if I can’t obtain enough protective equipment for all of my employees?
According to New York Forward guidances, businesses can only reopen when able to fully supply required protective equipment, such as masks. There is currently a shortage of protective equipment. New York State has advised that businesses in Queens contact the New York City Office of Emergency Management for assistance in procuring PPE.
Where can I obtain testing for COVID-19?
You can sign up for a COVID-19 antibody survey appointment at nyc.bioreference.com/antibodysurvey and via telephone at (888)279-0967 (Hours of Operation are M-F 8 AM-8 PM; Sat/Sun 9 AM-5 PM). You will receive a confirmation code to bring to your appointment.
Disruption During COVID-19
I have less business as a result of COVID-19 and cannot keep all my employees full time. What options do I have?
New York State’s Shared Work Program is an alternative to laying off workers. Through the program, employees can work a schedule reduced by between 20% and 60% and collect partial Unemployment Insurance benefits for up to 26 weeks. The Shared Work Program only applies to a reduction in an employee’s “normal work” hours, so does not apply to a reduction in an employee’s overtime hours.
My food business is now unable to obtain a certain food item, or I have excess supply of one or more food items. What do I do?
You may benefit from New York City’s Food Supply Match. The City is working to connect food sellers and buyers, including NYC grocers, markets, and distributors.
I am dealing with a commercial lease issue. Where can I find legal advice?
Non-franchise small businesses in the City of New York may be eligible for free legal services through the City’s Commercial Lease Assistance Program. This includes discussing signing a new commercial lease; amending, renewing, or terminating an existing commercial lease; or addressing another commercial lease-related issue.
Are there any attorneys that have volunteered to help small businesses pro bono?
The New York City Department of Small Business Services has aggregated COVID-19 guidance for business owners, including opportunities for free legal consultations through the City Bar Justice Center (CBJC)’s COVID-19 Small Business Remote Legal Clinic and the Small Business Legal Relief Alliance (SBLRA).
Where can I access information on unemployment insurance? Are there any changes to those policies?
Information on unemployment insurance can be found at the New York State Department of Labor here. Beginning March 12, 2020, the 7-day waiting period for claiming unemployment insurance has been waived, and New York has extended the period covered by unemployment benefits by 13 weeks, for a total of 39 weeks.
Obtaining Financial Relief
How can I access direct financial resources for my small business?
The Small Business Administration has several forms of funding available for small businesses seeking relief, which can be accessed here. The main sources currently available include:
The Paycheck Protection Program Loan: entities including small businesses, franchisees, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons may be eligible for loans from the Small Business Administration designed to incentivize businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. A new exemption extends this loan forgiveness for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined.
SBA Debt Relief: the Small Business Administration is paying 6 months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a), 504, and Microloans in regular servicing status as well as new 7(a), 504, and Microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020. You do not need to apply for this assistance. If you have made a payment since March 27, 2020, you have the option of having the loan payment returned by the lender or applying the loan payment to further reduce the loan balance after SBA's payment.
The Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is no longer receiving applications from non-agricultural businesses, after funding ran out during the second round of applications. You can read more about the EIDL on Forbes here. If we have any updates on the EIDL, you can get them by signing up for our newsletter
The City of New York is providing businesses free financing assistance in applying for loans like the Paycheck Protection Program and assistance connecting with lenders including banks, credit unions, non-profit lenders, and the Small Business Administration. Request financing assistance here.
The New York Forward Loan Fund: announced May 22, is targeted towards small businesses, nonprofits, and small landlords in areas of New York State that are in the process of reopening. Applications are reviewed in different regions on a rolling basis, with 30% reserved for the New York City region. While Forest Hills is not reopening as soon as other parts of the state, businesses can still begin preparing their application (further information here). A FAQ document on the New York Forward Loan Fund can be accessed here. (Last updated 5/27/20)
The City of New York’s Small Business Continuity Loan Program has paused accepting applications, due to high interest (Updated 5/27/20). If we have any updates on the Continuity Loan Program, you can get them by signing up for our newsletter. You can sign up to receive updates from the NYC Department of Small Business Services here.
Where can I access information on New York State taxes and the coronavirus? Is there tax relief?
Information on the New York State Tax Department’s response to the coronavirus can be accessed here.
Where can I obtain more in-depth information on the coronavirus and the restaurant industry in New York?
The National Restaurant Association has created a page with information on the coronavirus and the restaurant industry, including on operating safely and navigating public health restrictions. Further resources on restaurants and the coronavirus can be found at the New York City Department of Small Business Services and at the New York State Restaurant Association.
Where can I access other local resources with services for my business?
Forest Hills Patch is creating a directory of local businesses and their status during the economic impact of COVID-19. You can read more here.
My question isn’t answered here. Where can I get further information from Support Forest Hills Eateries?
You can reach one of our team members through our Contact page. We would love to hear from you!
While this situation is not easy to understand, SFHE is working to make information comprehensible. Toggle the FAQ categories or use the search bar for more information.
Still have a question? Contact Us.
Disclaimer: This information will be regularly updated to the best of abilities and is only meant to be an aggregation of information and research.