Novel Coronavirus FAQ for Businesses

UPDATED: July 6, 2020

Empire State Development (ESD) has created this FAQ to offer information to businesses regarding State regulations and general guidance related to the coronavirus. If your question is not answered below, please contact ESD at our website at:


Now a global pandemic according to the World Health Organization, 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus was first detected in China and has spread worldwide. This virus causes a disease called COVID-19 and can lead to flu-like symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. There are more than 100,000 confirmed cases in a growing number of countries internationally and the virus is now spreading in the United States. There are ongoing investigations to learn more about this virus. Senior citizens and people with underlying respiratory conditions are at particular risk, but everyone must take the highest level of precautions right now in order to prevent spread in the community.  

Individuals who are experiencing symptoms and may have traveled to areas of concern, or have been in contact with someone who has traveled to these areas, should call their health care provider before seeking treatment in person.

This is a rapidly changing situation. Please check this site and the CDC's COVID-19 webpage regularly for updates.

New York State Department of Health has established a website and telephone number that provide the latest, most comprehensive information about the State’s response to the virus.

Other Helpful Resources:


Information for Businesses and Corporations


Q: Will New York State offer financial support to businesses negatively impacted by coronavirus? 

A: New York State is working to support small businesses throughout the COVID-19 crisis, by providing up-to-date resources and information about economic recovery and COVID-19-related loans, funding and business counseling. For details about applying for the New York Forward Loan Fund, targeted toward small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords, and for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, visit: resources for MWBEs can be found here:


Q: When will NYS regions and businesses reopen?

A: On May 11, Governor Cuomo announced plans for the phased reopening of regions and businesses. For up-to-date guidance and information, visit: You can also use the NY Forward Business Reopening Lookup tool to help determine whether your business is able to reopen and to review the public health and safety standards with which your business must comply. Visit:

Q: How do I know if my business is designated as an essential service based on the executive order?

A: See the ESD Guidance on Essential Businesses at: which includes a comprehensive FAQ.


Q: Where do I file a complaint?

A: If you are aware of any non-essential gatherings or any non-essential businesses or entities operating in violation of "New York State on PAUSE," please choose the relevant link below:

Governor Cuomo also announced the state is increasing the maximum fine for violations of the state's social distancing protocol from $500 to $1,000 to help address the lack of adherence to social distancing protocols. The Governor reminded localities that they have the authority to enforce the protocols.


Q: Where can I send additional COVID-19-related business questions?

A: Submit your questions at:

Q: Many of my employees are quarantined. I still need to run my business, what is the Governor’s bill about Paid Sick Leave mean to me? When will it be passed? How will employees benefit?

A: To address the immediate need of employees affected by COVID-19 who are subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation, the Governor signed legislation on March 18 to provide the following:

  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million will provide job protection for the duration of the quarantine order and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
  • Employers with 11-99 employees and employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave, job protection for the duration of the quarantine order, and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.
  • Employers with 100 or more employees, as well as all public employers (regardless of number of employees), will provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave and guarantee job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.


Q: If employees of NYS businesses are having child care issues and/or they need to take extra time to care for children or elderly relatives who might be affected or quarantined by this outbreak, can they be covered in some way?

A: Steps so far include:

  • Governor Cuomo is amending the Paid Sick Leave Budget proposal to specifically protect workers from termination if they are required to stay home from work because they are being isolated or quarantined because of the novel coronavirus.
  • Governor Cuomo has instituted a requirement from the state Department of Financial Services that private health insurers in New York make COVID-19 testing free for patients by waiving any customary out-of-pocket costs.


Q: Is the state’s Shared Work Program an option for businesses affected by the coronavirus to help avoid layoffs? How does it work?

A: The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) Shared Work Program allows businesses to manage business cycles and seasonal adjustments while retaining trained staff and avoiding layoffs. Employees can receive partial Unemployment Insurance benefits while working reduced hours. Full-time, part-time and seasonal employees are eligible. For more information:

Q: The Governor has called on businesses to produce needed supplies related to COVID-19. How do I offer to do so?

A: For guidance on producing COVID-19 products and medical supplies for New York State—and specifications for Personal Protective Equipment  (PPE) please visit :


Q: Where can I find the latest COVID-19 health-related guidance for employers/employees?

A: Please see the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): The NYS Department of Health site also offers comprehensive information: