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Important Information Regarding Assistance for Columbia County Businesses

Posted in: Chamber News

Dear Columbia County Businesses:

We are all in this together and we are Columbia County Strong.
I hope the information provided below will be useful as you navigate the government’s response to the COVID-19 virus.  At the Chamber we strive to provide timely and accurate resources to our valuable Columbia county Businesses. Please note that this information is for all Columbia County businesses that meet the criteria listed below. 

New Assistance to Columbia County businesses.

The Berkshire Taconic Community
Foundation (BTCF) has launched the Columbia County COVID-19 Emergency
Response Fund. It will provide flexible resources to nonprofit
organizations to meet the needs of individuals and families who are
disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. The fund will prioritize
human services and community-based organizations with experience
helping individuals and families stabilize their lives in times of
crisis. Donations to the fund and applications from eligible nonprofits
can be made at BTCF staff and volunteer members of BTCF’s Fund for Columbia County committee will review and award grants.

Berkshire Taconic Community
Foundation and Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), in
partnership with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Hudson
Business Coalition, have established the Columbia County Business
Continuity Fund. It will provide cash grants to small businesses in
our County and specifically Town Centers and Main Streets with fewer
than 10 full-time employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue.
These businesses can apply for grant funds from $1,000 to $5,000 to
cover costs related to retaining employees, rent and other fixed
operational costs. Donations to the fund can be made at

The fund will accept applications from April 1 to April 15 at
An independent, volunteer committee of local business leaders and will
review and award grants based on the availability of funds.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Starting April 1st, employers
must provide 80 hours paid sick leave for following reasons (or
employees average daily hours for 10 days):

  1. Is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
  3. Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. Is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
  5. Is caring
    for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care
    provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.

The employer can receive tax
credits against payroll taxes for this time.  IMPORTANT TO TRACK THIS

There are other provisions, but this is the primary small business impact.


1. SBA loans that can be forgiven based on continuing to pay employees at normal wage levels

2. The tax rebates included in the third COVID-19 stimulus package
signed into law on Friday will provide $1,200 payments to adults with
annual incomes up to $75,000, plus another $500 per child under the age
of 17. Married couples with an adjusted gross income of 150,000 will
qualify for $2,400 payments, and an additional $500 for each child.

Individuals whose annual income falls between $75,000 -$99,000 will
receive reduced benefits; the benefit amount is reduced by $5 for every
$100 over the aforementioned annual incomes. Individuals making more
than $99,000 annually
are not eligible for this benefit.

Most individuals will not have to take any action to receive this
funding. The IRS will automatically disburse payments to anyone who
filed in tax years 2018 or 2019 as well as anyone receiving Social
Security or VA benefits. For most Americans, the money will arrive in
April via direct deposit. Mailed checks may take longer. The IRS will
send notice of your rebate to the address corresponding to your last tax
filing. These checks will not be taxable. You can find more information
about this stimulus go to this link

3. Enhanced unemployment benefits, self-employed eligible for enhanced federal benefits(although not necessarily state benefits)

4. DELAYING EMPLOYER PAYROLL TAX PAYMENTS – employers can defer 2020
(employer portion only) FICA and Medicare payments to 2021 and 2022.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation and Assistance

Increases Benefit Amount

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment
Compensation program will provide an additional $600 per week to
individuals receiving unemployment compensation through July 31, 2020.
This is in addition to the state-provided benefit amount and aims to
replace 100 percent of wages for the average worker in the United

Expands Eligibility for Unemployment

Unemployment assistance coverage
is now expanded to include self-employed workers (including gig workers
and independent contractors), part-time employees and those with limited
work histories, so long as their unemployment is connected to the
COVID-19 pandemic.

Extends Duration of Benefits

When benefits provided by the
state have been exhausted, individuals are now eligible for an
additional 13 weeks of federally-funded benefits.

To access these benefits, please apply here at this link 

Short-Time Compensation for workers with reduced hours

The CARES Act provides $100
million for “work sharing” programs. Employers can make agreements with
the New York State Unemployment Insurance Office to reduce hours instead
of laying off employees. Workers can then receive partial unemployment
benefits for lost hours. For more information on New York State shared
work requirements and eligibility, please visit this webpage at this

Columbia County Strong!


Jeffrey C. Hunt, CCE

President and CEO

Columbia County Chamber of Commerce

Please send your news items to Amy Kneller at

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