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 TIME SEPARATELY FROM OTHER Paid Time Off, (PTO)

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 States.

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 link.  

Columbia County Strong!


Jeffrey C. Hunt, CCE

President and CEO

Columbia County Chamber of Commerce

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