Senator Kevin Thomas And Senate Majority Advance Legislation to Protect Small Businesses Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

(Albany, NY) -- Senator Kevin Thomas, together with the Senate Majority, advanced legislation today to support small businesses that have taken the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. This action builds on legislation passed in July 2020 to help hardworking New Yorkers and struggling small businesses. The legislative package advanced by the Senate Majority includes protecting small businesses from eviction and foreclosure with the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Business Act, protecting restaurants from third-party delivery fees, implementing third-party restaurant posting requirements, promoting the shared work eligibility program, freezing unemployment insurance rates, and establishing a partial-unemployment system.

Senator Kevin Thomas said, “Small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities. This legislation will provide the resources, relief, and protections needed to help them succeed and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. New York State continues to lead the way in protecting small businesses during this public health crisis.”   

The bills advanced by Senator Kevin Thomas and the Senate Majority include: 

  • Small Business Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium: This bill, S.471A, sponsored by Senator Anna Kaplan, establishes the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Business Act to protect small businesses with COVID-19 related financial hardships from eviction and foreclosure until May 1. 
  • Third-Party Restaurant Posting: This bill, S.1630A, sponsored by Senator Diane Savino, prohibits any third party food delivery platform from listing, selling or advertising products of any food service establishment without a written agreement with them.
  • Restricting Third-Party Delivery Fees: This bill, S.1554B, sponsored by Senator Brian Kavanagh, creates a maximum limit for the total fee that can be charged to a food service establishment by a third-party food delivery service (such as Grubhub, Seamless, Postmates, Doordash, etc.)
  • Increased Outreach From DOL on the Shared Work Program: This bill, S.18A, sponsored by Senator Shelley Mayer, creates a requirement for the Department of Labor to increase their efforts to provide information to employers about shared work program eligibility and have information available on the Department's website.  The shared work program can help reduce layoffs and is fully funded by the federal CARES Act during the pandemic.
  • Freezing Employers Unemployment Insurance Premiums: This bill, S.1197, sponsored by Senator Roxanne Persaud, freezes New York State’s unemployment insurance experience rating for one year for layoffs and closures that occurred due to COVID-19. This action will prevent significant increases in costs to employers who have experienced higher unemployment rates in 2020. 
  • Partial Unemployment Insurance: This bill, S.1042A, sponsored by Senator Jessica Ramos, establishes a system of partial-unemployment. This would shift the current calculation that any day of work leads to a 25% reduction in benefits, and instead would reduce benefits by an amount proportional with the amount earned. This legislation will help incentivize part-time work by reducing the disincentive that a day of work will lead to a disproportionate reduction of benefits.