COVID-19 Legal Resources

Browse our resources for maintaining and operating your small business during COVID-19.

Small Business Pandemic Toolkit

  • Fundamentally, know your rights under the current situation: in New York, an Executive Order has been issued that prevents evictions of residential and commercial tennants and also prohibits the foreclosure of any residential or commercial property during the current state of emergency. State legislators are proposing to extend this prohibition for six months beyond the end of this crisis.
  • Be polite and be transparent with your current situation when discussing options such as reduced or delayed rent payments. Treat your landlord as a long-term partner and approach them in a way that allows them to see where you’re coming from and that you’re not just trying to benefit off of them. Given current uncertainty, landlords will likely do what they can to keep current tenants in place to maintain their own cash flows.
  • Leverage your track record, especially if you’re a tenant in good standing and have always paid your rent on time. A temporary reduction in rent may be more financially beneficial to the landlord than risking a vacancy for an uncertain amount of time or renting at a lower price to a new tenant.
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  • Many lenders are now offering opportunities to change or temporarily suspend your payment plan. Reach out to your lenders, creditors, or loan servicers to discuss your business situation and to understand what options are available to you and your business specifically.
  • Ask if they will accept delayed or deferred payments, extend payment due dates or otherwise adjust the terms of existing loans that would avoid delinquencies and negative credit agency reporting
  • Discuss whether they will waive overdraft fees or late fees for loan balances.
  • Ask lenders to consider easing credit terms for new loans.
  • While cash in the short term may be an immediate concern, do not lose sight of your long-term financial goals and stability. Discuss not only your short term needs, but also reiterate your longterm financial goals and your commitment to working with your lenders to maintain long-term financial health and stability for your business.
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  • Communicate with your vendors about how much stock they have available and any terms they are willing to offer.
  • Ask if they will accept delayed, reducted, or staggered payment plans.
  • Talk about options for delaying/freezing shipments or reducing the amount in each shipment
  • Be flexible and work with vendors and suppliers to explore alternative sourcing options as current supply chains may be distrupted
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  • Reassure customers by highlighting the health and safety precautions you are taking in manufacturing and preparing your products. 
  • For customers who make payments on accounts, ask if they can make payments more quickly •
  • Review your contracts carefully and be sure you understand your obligations. Consult an attorney if you need assistance. Once you fully understand your obligations, communicate clearly and promptly with your customer about causes in delays, shortages of products, and any contingency plans you are able to offer. Work with your customer to discuss options for extensions or adjustments in the terms of your contract. 
  • Consider using community fundraising options like GoFundMe to support your employees and your business during this time.
  • Utilize social media and email to reach out to customers and your community to highlight the services that you are still offering and to connect with and gather support from your community.
  • Check in with your customers and connect with them on a human level – Offer your customers support and reassurance that you are available for them and are actively monitoring the current situation. This may be a good opportunity to reinforce your brand and messaging with customers.
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