Important Links:

Below are links to helpful contacts, as well as information important to businesses during the COVID-19 public health crisis.  Check back often as new links will be added as they are made available.  


Sources for Face Coverings

  • On April 17, 2020, Governor Cuomo's Executive Order went into effect requiring all people of New York to wear a face covering if they are in public and not able to maintain social distancing guidelines.  If you are in need of face coverings, either for personal use, or to protect you and your employees at work, below are several places in Niagara County where they are available.
  • If you are looking for other PPE items beyond face masks this list provides contact information for 71 companies and descriptions highlighting the products available.


Empire State Development:

  • Many of our area businesses have asked about where to find the latest facts regarding COVID-19 and its impact on New York State businesses. This resource from Empire State Development (ESD) is a useful tool to get answers to the questions that you have.
  • Are you a business owner wondering if your business is considered an essential services or if you need to comply with the workforce reduction mandates imposed by Governor Cuomo during this health crisis. You can find information detailing the types of businesses exempt, and those that must comply here.
  • Do you have a specific question related to your business and the impact that you are facing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis? If so, be sure to submit your question using this Empire State Development link and a specialist will respond directly to you.
  • Governor Cuomo has called on businesses to produce needed supplies related to COVID-19. If your business is interested contact.
  • ESD has also put together a presentation to provide more information on the U.S. Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.


NCCC Small Business Development Center:

  • The Niagara County Community College Small Business Development Center is committed now more than ever to assisting Niagara County's small businesses, especially during these challenging times.  Their advisors can assist area businesses as they navigate the application process for the U. S. Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.  They are also offering various webinars and workshops to assist companies with all of their various business needs.  Email or call today at (716) 210-2515.  Their advisors are ready to assist you. 


New State Department of Labor:


New York State Department of Health:

  • Governor Cuomo is calling on health care professionals, schools of public health or medicine and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) products providers and manufacturers to help support New York State's response to COVID-19.  For more information, on how to sign up to assist can be found here.
  • New York State Department of Health is offering a Special Open Enrollment Period for Uninsured Individuals Impacted by COVID-19.  This open enrollment period will run through the end of 2020.  This link will provide additional information and explain how to apply.


Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave:

  • Governor Cuomo has signed emergency legislation guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of COVID-19.  The new law enacts emergency paid sick leave to guarantee workers job protection and provide financial compensation while they are on a mandatory or precautionary quarantine due to COVID-19.  Learn more 


Important Information for Agricultural-Based Businesses:

USDA COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide

  • The USDA and its federal partners have programs that can be used to provide immediate and long-term assistance to communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  These programs can support recovery efforts for residents, businesses and communities.  Learn more.

Winery Business Optimization of CARES Act

  • Gregg McConnell from Farm Credit East provides some helpful tips to New York State wineries on how to navigate the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program and the IRS Employer Retention Credit and provides some scenarios to demonstrate which may be a better fit given your current circumstances.  Learn more here.

USDA-FSA Announces Loan Flexibility

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that they are relaxing the loan making process while also providing other loan flexibilities.

FSA is relaxing the loan-making process, including:

  • Extending the deadline for applicants to complete farm loan applications;
  • Preparing Direct Loans documents even if FSA is unable to complete lien and record searches because of closed government buildings. Once those searches are complete, FSA would close the loan; and
  • Closing loans if the required lien position on the primary security is perfected, even for loans that require additional security and those lien searches, filings and recordings cannot be obtained because of closed government buildings.
  • FSA is extending deadlines for producers to respond to loan servicing actions, including loan deferral consideration for financially distressed and delinquent borrowers. FSA will temporarily suspend loan accelerations, non-judicial foreclosures, and referring foreclosures to the Department of Justice. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will make the determination whether to stop foreclosures and evictions on accounts under its jurisdiction. Further information regarding FSA’s loan flexibility can be found here.

USDA Adds Flexibility for Crop Insurance

  • USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is authorizing additional flexibility due to coronavirus state of emergency. Working through Approved Insurance Providers, RMA is ensuring that crop insurance will be delivered. RMA is providing support to producers working through Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) to deliver services, including processing policies, claims and agreements. These flexibility include enabling producers to send notifications and reports electronically; extending the date for production reports and providing additional time and deferring interest on premium and other payments. Further information regarding ths flexibility can be found here.

The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is for Non-Farm Enterprises

  • The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is for non-farm enterprises. If your business has a non-farm enterprise, such as a retail operation, that enterprise may qualify. However, conduct research on whether your business qualifies before conducting the involved process of loan application:

Need information? View the following Cornell CALS and CCE Resource Pages, which are Updated Regularly

General Questions & Links:

Food Production, Processing & Safety Questions:

Employment & Agricultural Workforce Questions:

Cornell Small Farms Resiliency Resources:

Financial & Mental Health Resources for Farmers:

2 Minute Spanish Language Educational Video on COVID-19:

Podcast: COVID-19 Impact on Farm Businesses in New York

  • Agricultural Business Management specialist Liz Higgins discusses some of the impacts of COVID-19 on farms in New York. Higgins clarifies the designation of horticultural operations as essential businesses, talks about social distancing protocols for retail operations, discusses impacts on H2A visa employees, and presents some financial resources for farms suffering financial loss due to the pandemic.  If you have questions or recommendations for topics to cover on future episodes focused on COVID-19, please email [email protected] or call (845) 293-3832 and leave a message.

Click here for webinar: Podcast: COVID-19 Impact on Farm Businesses in New York

Be sure to read through all of the information located under the COVID-19 tab.  Much of the information is helpful to all types of businesses, including agriculture.