Loan fund targets small businesses

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a plan to assist New York’s small businesses as try to cope with the major impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

Cuomo said in his Friday update that small businesses are a priority, as they make up 90 percent of New York businesses but face the greatest battles to recovery.

“The economic projections for small businesses are actually frightening,” he said. “More than 100,000 have shut permanently since the pandemic hit.”

Cuomo said minority-owned businesses are especially at risk and receive less in federal relief. So on Friday, New York launched a $100 million New York Forward Loan Fund, providing flexible and affordable loans, focusing on minority and women-owned businesses which did not receive federal COVID-19 assistance.

The state will also focus on businesses with 20 or fewer employees and less than $3 million in gross revenue. Businesses who are interested in participating should visit esd.ny.gov/nyforwardloans.

New York has also launched a new pilot program with 52 independent pharmacies to conduct 7,000 COVID-19 tests per week.

The program helps expand the ongoing effort to test for, and track, the disease.

“This now brings the total number of sites in New York to 750,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his Friday update. “Our message is very simple — get a test. We have state-run sites where we have more capacity than where we are now performing tests.”

To find a testing spot nearby, visit coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you.

In the meantime, Cuomo continued to call for vigilance during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. He called for people to wear masks.

“I’m not just asking you,” he said. “The mask is mandatory in public settings ... It is not just a nice thing to do, or a responsible thing to do, or a citizen duty. It is mandatory that you wear a mask if you’re within six feet of people in public. You don’t have a right to infect another person. Look at the Constitution and tell me where it says you have the right to infect another person.”

The situation is wholly dependent on social action, Cuomo said.

The number of total hospitalizations and new cases per day is down. On Thursday there were 109 deaths — 82 in hospitals and 27 in nursing homes.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1