With the Capital Region and seven other regions having begun their phased reopening plans, the focus now shifts on how to get an economy, whose growth has been temporarily stunted, back in working order.
In his May 22 press briefing, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that “small business is a priority,” with 90 percent of businesses in New York being small ones. To take the place of the federal government’s small business assistance program, which has run out of money, Cuomo announced that New York, in partnership with private banks, would be launching its own small business relief fund, the $100 million-plus New York Forward Loan Fund. The fund will provide flexible and affordable loans to assist small businesses, focusing on Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) that did not receive federal assistance, as well as business that have 20 or fewer employees and less than $3 million in gross revenues (find out more about the program here).
In regard to Long Island and Mid-Hudson region, both of which had still not reopened, Cuomo noted that they could reopen as early as next week, if their COVID-19 deaths continue to decline and they get the number of available contact tracers up. To that end, the state will allow construction staging in advance of phase one to begin before the regions officially reopen.
The largest piece of the reopening puzzle is New York City, which appears to still be a ways away, though Mayor Bill de Blasio said it could begin reopening as early as June. It’s unclear whether the governor is onboard with this claim, though.