New York Small Business Pandemic Recovery Initiative Fact Sheet

Updated May 13th, 2021


The New York State 2021–22 Executive Budget passed in March includes $1 billion in financial relief for small businesses. The funding initiatives include:

  • $800 million for the Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program,
  • $25 million for the Restaurant Resiliency Program,
  • $40 million to Arts & Cultural Organizations,
  • $100 million NYC Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit, and
  • $35 million Restaurant Return to Work Credit. 


The $1 billion Business Pandemic Recovery Initiative is administered by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD).

Access to these programs is crucial  for the 27th District so my office and I have compiled information on each program and will keep you updated as more details and applications are finalized.

Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program ($800 Million)

What kinds of organizations can apply to Small Business Assistance Grants?

  • Small Businesses: defined as resident in this state, independently owned and operated, not dominant in its field, and employing 100 or fewer employees
  • Micro-businesses: defined as resident in this state, independently owned and operated, not dominant in its  field, and employing ten or fewer employees
  • For-profit independent arts & cultural institution: small or medium private for-profit, resident in this state,  independently operated, and employing 100 or fewer employees, excluding seasonal employees


What businesses are eligible for assistance?

  • Businesses are eligible if they are not eligible for federal grant assistance or are unable to receive sufficient  assistance from federal programs. They must:

    • Be incorporated in NYS or be licensed and registered to do business in the state;
    • Be a currently viable entity that was in existence prior to March 1st, 2019;
    • Have been negatively impacted by its compliance with COVID restrictions;
    • Demonstrate loss of revenue or other economic hardship as of December 31st, 2020, compared with the  same period in 2019 because of COVID-19; and
    • Not owe any federal, state, or local taxes prior to July 15th, 2020, or have repayment or deferral plan.


What can the grants be used for?

  • Grant funds can be used for all costs incurred as a result of COVID-19 related restrictions, including:
    • Operational costs including payroll costs, insurance costs, utility costs;
    • Mortgage payments or commercial rent;
    • Costs of repayment of local property or school taxes associated with the small business’s location; 
    • Costs of necessary personal protection equipment (PPE);
    • HVAC or other machinery necessary to comply with COVID-19 restrictions; and 
    • Other documented COVID-19 costs as approved by ESD.


Which businesses will receive prioritization?

  • The statute directs the Empire State Development Corporation to prioritize:
    • Socially and economically disadvantaged businesses;
    • MWBEs;
    • Veteran owned and operated businesses;
    • Service-disabled veteran-owned business enterprises; and
    • Small businesses located in communities that were economically distressed prior to March 1st, 2020, as determined by the most recent census data.


How can I apply?

Applications are not yet available. When these resources do become available, my office will distribute them. To receive updates directly from the Empire State Development Corporation about the COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program and to be alerted when applications are being accepted, please click here

What documents will I need to provide for the application?

While program details are still being finalized, this list of documentation requirements is provided to help NYS small businesses prepare for application to the COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program:

  • For proof of revenue loss or other economic hardship: 2019 and 2020 Business Income Tax returns
    • For partnerships – include IRS Form 1065 and Schedule K-1
    • For sole proprietors – include IRS Form 1040 Schedule C
  • Completed IRS Form 4506-T
  • Proof of business location and current operation (two of the following: current lease, utility bill, current business bank statement, current business mortgage statement, business credit card statement, professional insurance bill, payment processing statement, NYS ST-809 or ST-100 sales tax collection documentation).
  • Schedule of ownership (listing of names, addresses, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, e-mails, percentage ownership, and photo ID for any owners with more than 20% ownership of business).
  • Proof of number of employees:  Most recently submitted NYS-45 document for employer firms.
  • For funds distribution: IRS Form W-9 and bank account information.


New York State Restaurant Resiliency Program

$25 million in grants to restaurants providing free meals to  economically disadvantaged individuals in economically distressed communities to cover their operational  and material costs of meal preparation, provisions, and delivery.  Program details are still being finalized. To be alerted when applications are being accepted for the Restaurant Resiliency Program, click here.

Arts & Cultural Organization Recovery Grant Programs

$40 million in grants for nonprofit individual artists, arts professionals, and arts and cultural  organizations institutions for operating costs, mortgage/rent, equipment, and other related costs. This grant program is facilitated and administered by the New York State Council on the Arts. They regularly update available relief funds, loan programs, and legal assistance on their website

NYC Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit

A 2-year, $100 million program. The maximum credit  per production would be $3 million in the first year, but if the tourism sector recovers significantly in NYC,  then for year two, the maximum credit per production would be lowered to $1.5 million. The benefit goes  to the producer. Program details are still being finalized for this program, but if you would like to receive updates about the New York City Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit, please click here. You'll be alerted when more information is available and applications are being accepted.

Restaurant Return-to-Work Tax Credit

$35 million in refundable tax credits for restaurants with less than 100 employees that lost at least 40% of their revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.  were  subject to an indoor dining ban in NYC or as a result of red or orange zone designations outside of the  City for at least 30 days, who experienced year-to-year revenue or job losses of 40% or more. The tax credit will provide restaurants $5,000 per employee, with a maximum credit of $50,000 per restaurant, to rehire workers. The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has not yet released forms to apply for the credit

Federal Business Assistance Programs

These programs are administered by the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA). After watching our district’s small businesses suffer throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I am elated by the Division of the Budget’s projections that small businesses in New York State will be able to access $5.228 billion in federal assistance. Below find brief descriptions of these programs and links to application materials.

  • Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RFR): This $2.3 billion program will provide restaurants, caterers, food stands/trucks/carts, bars, and other eligible entities with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023. Applications are now open. You can apply through the online application portal: Or with participating POS providers: Square, Toast, Clover, NCR Corporation (Aloha), and Oracle. Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL): Through this $1.2 billion program, small business owners and qualified agricultural businesses in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to COVID-19. Loans will be in the amount of 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000 with proceeds to be used for working capital and normal operating expenses. Applications are now open:   provides support for certain small businesses, including agricultural businesses and nonprofits. 
  • Paycheck Protection Program: Congress appropriated $8.13 billion for loans to small businesses designed to provide a direct incentive  to keep their workers on payroll. Certain borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness. The Small Business Association SBA is currently offering PPP loans originated only by participating community financial institutions including Certified Development Companies (CDCs), SBA Microlenders, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) until May 31, 2021 or until remaining funds are exhausted. Visit the SBA website to find an eligible lender that is participating in PPP and identify which loans are available to you.
  • Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG): This program includes over $16 billion in grants to live venue and performing arts operators, theatrical producers, museum operators, motion picture theater operators, and talent representatives. Grant amounts will be based on 2019 revenue and those who have suffered the greatest economic loss will be the first applications processed. $2 billion of program funding is reserved for entities with less than 50 employees.  Eligible expenses for grants include payroll, rent, utilities, and personal protective equipment. Applications are now open on the SVOG portal:
  • Community Navigator Pilot Program: $8 million in funding for resource partners to  provide targeted outreach and technical assistance for small businesses in underserved communities to access COVID-19  relief programs. The funding will be open to proposals from state and local government partners, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), SCORE, Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) and other nonprofit organizations with deep roots in their communities. Details on the program and application are still to come, but potential applicants should familiarize themselves with Federal platforms including,, and Grant Solutions including any account registration requirements that can be completed in advance of Community Navigator funding announcement(s).


Additional FAQs

Are state programs redundant of federal programs that are also available?

No. State aid is intended for businesses that do not qualify for federal programs or whose needs cannot be sufficiently addressed by the existing federal aid or forgivable loan programs. This does not exclude those who have received federal loans or assistance other than grant.

Will ESD be able to keep track of which applicants meet these requirements?

Evaluating applications for grants and administering eligibility requirements are primary functions of the Empire State Development Corporation.  There is nothing novel about ESD administering this program as a backstop, and the agency will be fully  capable of screening and evaluating applicants. Additionally, assistance and outreach may be provided  through partnerships with local entities that have community ties. ESD would also be required to publish  detailed reports on the progress of the program every quarter beginning September 30.

Why are we limited to only $800 million (or $1 billion, including tax credits) for  small businesses?

The $1 billion in State aid to small businesses in this budget complements the large pot of federal aid that is also available to businesses, which the Division of the Budget estimates could be about $13.3 billion from the  Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, grants for food-service businesses,  and several other programs. The aid that the State is providing in this Budget is intended as a backstop to fill gaps in the federal aid programs.