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BLOG / 05.26.20 /andKenneth R. Jacobs

COVID-19: Reopening Guidance for Property Owners on Construction Projects; New NYS Small Business Loan Assistance





The Mid-Hudson Region reopens for Phase One today, and Long Island reopens with Phase 1 tomorrow. Phase 1 means that contractors in these Regions can resume non-essential construction work, subject to New York State and local guidelines. Retail (curbside and in-store pickup) and wholesale trade are also permitted.

Owners should take four important preliminary steps before you allow a contractor to return to work:

1. Review NYS business reopening guidelines: New York State has issued mandatory “Construction Guidelines for Employers and Employees” for the reopening of all businesses, available HERE.

2. Confirm that the contractor has affirmed the NYS “Interim Guidance”: New York State has issued an “Interim Guidance for Construction Activities During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” Contractors are required to affirm at the end of the Guidance that they have reviewed the guidelines for the protection of people, places and the construction process on their resumption of work. To access the Interim Guidance, CLICK HERE.

3. Review the contractor’s revised “Site Safety Plan.” New York State requires the contractor to develop a revised Site Safety Plan consistent with the Interim Guidance and to post it on site.

We have created a “Site Safety and Physical Distancing Rider” to be attached to existing construction contracts, which details the guidelines and procedures that a contractor must observe when it resumes construction. An updated copy of the Rider can be found [HERE].

4. Confirm that the contractor has developed a “Forward Safety Plan”: New York State also requires all businesses (including contractors) to create a “Forward Safety Plan” for their particular business. The Plan is not required to be submitted to the state, but is retained by the business for internal use – i.e., to enable the business to satisfactorily apply New York State’s mandated guidelines and best practices to the operations of that business. A template of the Forward Safety Plan can be found at HERE.


New York State has created a new small business loan assistance program, dubbed the “New York Forward Loan Fund” (“Forward Loan”), to coincide with the phased-in resumption of business throughout the state. The State is earmarking $100 million to the fund – 65% to small businesses, 5% to nonprofit organizations and 30% to small landlords to provide working capital to cover expenses incurred to comply with mandated re-opening guidelines. Applicants must “have suffered a direct economic hardship as a result of COVID-19 related social distancing policies and stay-at-home order that have materially impacted their operations.”

Forward Loans will be processed and funded through participating banks. The program seeks to disburse funds geographically in line with the regional breakdown currently being used for the Phase-In process. About 30% of funds are to be allocated to businesses in New York City, with another 18% in the Hudson Valley and 18% in Long Island.

For now, eligibility rules include the following:

  • Small businesses and nonprofit organizations with 20 or fewer full-time employees;
  • For small business applicants, gross annual revenue cannot exceed $3 million;
  • Nonprofits must provide services directly to the public and have an annual operating budget of less than $3 million per year;
  • Preferred property owners are those with residential buildings of 50 units or less (and no more than 200 units owned in total) and either located in an area serving low or moderate income tenants, or can meet a rent test.
  • Applicants must not have received federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) relief.

The Forward Loan is not a forgivable grant. According to the FAQ for the program, the maximum loan is $100,000, payable over 5 years at 3% interest for businesses and landlords and 2% interest for non-profits, with the first year interest only. Collateral is not required, but the business must have positive cash flow.

“Pre-Applications” open at noon on Tuesday, May 26. Priority will be given to businesses in regions that have reached Phase-One reopening (as of now, the Mid-Hudson region qualifies as of May 26th, and New York City and Long Island regions expect to qualify soon). If you are a small business in a qualifying Phase-One region, or waiting to qualify, you should consider the Forward Loan if you have not benefited by a PPP or EIDL loan.

For further information, CLICK HERE.