Tourism Return-to-Work Grant Program

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Overview

The New York State Tourism Return-to-Work Grant Program (the “Program”) was created to incentivize employment growth by providing financial assistance to businesses in the tourism industry that suffered economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Eligibility

Grants will be limited to:

  • For-profit or non-profit businesses, open to and/or servicing the public, engaged in a tourism-related field including, accommodations, arts, entertainment, scenic and sightseeing transportation, tour operators, convention and visitor groups, or other businesses that, in ESD’s sole discretion, qualify as businesses in the tourism industry (View a full list of descriptions and NAICS codes).

Further, to qualify for grant assistance, all Eligible Applicants must:

  • Increase their average employment between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022 by at least 2 net new full-time equivalent jobs;
  • Continue to be in operation as of the date of application;
  • Have experienced economic harm resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as evidenced by a year-to-year decrease of at least 15% of gross receipts or gross wages between 2019 and 2020 (Applicants must demonstrate a year-to-year loss of at least 15%; however Applicants with 25% or greater loss will receive priority);
  • Be in substantial compliance AND attest to being in substantial compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, codes and requirements;
  • Not owe past due federal, state or local taxes, unless making payments pursuant to and complying with an approved binding agreement with the appropriate taxing authority;
  • If a non-profit business (e.g., cultural institutions), be prequalified in Grants Gateway prior to the disbursement of any grant funds;
  • Not be currently participating in the NYC Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit program OR the Empire State Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit Program;
  • Not be more than 5% owned, directly or indirectly, by a publicly traded company; and
  • Be open to and/or service the public.
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Grant Details

  • A total of $100 million in funding has been allocated to award Grantees for increasing their average employment between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2022, as compared to a baseline employment period between October 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021. For seasonal businesses, an alternative baseline average employment period will be established for January 1, 2021, to June 30, 2021.
  • Grants will provide $5,000 for each net new full-time equivalent job added, and $2,500 for each net new part-time equivalent job added.
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Resources

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Frequently Asked Questions

View Frequently Asked Questions here

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How to Apply

Return-to-Work applicants must check eligibility for participation in this Program by answering a few key questions. To aid in determining eligibility, please complete the required eligibility screening tool.

If you meet the requirements based on the required eligibility screening tool, you will be sent an email in the upcoming weeks inviting you to submit a preliminary application that will include base period employment information through an online application portal that is expected to be made available in March 2022.  Again, in order to receive the preliminary application, applicants must first complete the required eligibility screening tool.

A final application deadline will be established following the January 1 to June 30, 2022 employment growth period, after which ESD will determine award amounts and disburse grant funding.

Grants will be limited to for-profit or non-profit businesses, open to and/or servicing the public, engaged in a tourism-related field including, accommodations, arts, entertainment, scenic and sightseeing transportation, tour operators, convention and visitor groups, or other businesses that, in ESD’s sole discretion, qualify as businesses in the tourism industry (View a full list of descriptions and NAICS codes). 

To help you prepare, please review the information that will be needed to complete a preliminary application:

  • Proof of at least 15% Gross Receipts loss or 15% Gross Wages loss: 2019 and 2020 Business Income Tax returns (Applicants must demonstrate a year-to-year loss of at least 15%; however Applicants with 25% or greater loss will receive priority):
  • Completed IRS Form 4506-T
  • Proof of business location and current operation: Two of the following documents:
    • Current lease; or
    • Deed; or
    • Utility bill; or
    • Current business bank statement; or
    • Current business mortgage statement; or
    • Business credit card statement; or
    • Professional insurance bill; or
    • Payment processing statement;
    • NYS ST-809 or ST-100 sales tax collection documentation.
  • Actual employment data (full-time, part-time hours) along with NYS 45 forms from Q4 2021 (for verification) to establish baseline employment
    • For seasonal businesses, submit NYS 45 forms from Q1-Q2 2021 (for verification) to establish baseline employment
  • Seasonal businesses must submit its most recent Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return – include IRS Form 941 
  • For funds distribution: W-9 and bank account information

Return-to-Work Important Dates:

  • Eligibility screening tool available early 2022
  • Online application portal opens March 2022
  • Final application deadline: following June 30, 2022 (to be announced)

To receive email program updates, sign up here.