As chair of the Assembly Committee on Small Business and co-chair of the new Assembly working group focused on New York’s economic recovery, I’m no stranger to the challenges faced by workers and small businesses. Limits on capacity, added protective gear costs and social distancing guidelines have helped keep people safe but have also hurt businesses’ bottom line.

We’ve all played a part in protecting vulnerable people and slowing the spread of COVID-19 by following the public health guidelines put forth by the experts. Thankfully, as vaccine distribution ramps up and more New Yorkers receive their first dose, the death toll of this dangerous virus appears to be lessening.

It’s also due in no small part to consistent mask-wearing and social distancing.

While we must remain vigilant, recent developments have given us hope that a semblance of normalcy will return soon. Unfortunately, safety guidelines have also forced many people out of work and many businesses to close. Some local businesses have closed indefinitely.

To help families struggling to remain in their homes during this pandemic, I helped pass a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions through February 26. But many of our families are still hurting and need additional time. Onondaga County has only recently put the holiday surge of COVID-19 cases behind us and, with many businesses still closed or at limited capacity, the economy has not fully returned to normal. That’s why I passed additional legislation, known as the Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act, to help people effected by COVID-19 who are still facing financial hardship.

The Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act allows New Yorkers facing a COVID-19-related financial hardship to extend their eviction or foreclosure moratorium until at least May 1. Extended relief is only possible for those who file a hardship declaration. Please consider filling out a hardship declaration as soon as possible.

Renters can fill out a hardship declaration form HERE. Homeowners can fill out a hardship declaration form HERE.

Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve worked hard to support struggling Central New York workers and business owners. I recently sponsored and passed legislation to alter our state’s unemployment system to ensure unemployed workers get the benefits they need and aren’t de-incentivized from seeking part-time work (A.2355-A). To ensure businesses aren’t unfairly penalized for following shutdown orders, I helped pass a law that would prevent unemployment charges stemming from COVID-19 from being used to calculate an employer’s experience rating (Ch. 21 of 2021), as well as passed the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act to extend critical eviction and foreclosures protections for small businesses statewide until May 2 (A.3207).

It’s imperative that we craft a recovery plan that truly reflects the needs of our communities, which is why I encourage families, local business owners and workers to share their concerns and ideas so we can help everyone move forward.

If you would like to provide your input or have any other questions or concerns, feel free to contact my office at 315.452.1115 or StirpeA@nyassembly.gov.

By martha

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