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Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

June 10, 2021

New York State's Developing COVID-19 Recovery Initiatives

Remaining NYS COVID-19 Restrictions Will Be Lifted at 70-Percent Adult Immunization

On June 7, 2021, NYS Governor Cuomo announced that most of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted once 70 percent of New York State adults (18 years old and older) have received the first of their COVID-19 vaccination doses. New York Forward’s industry-specific guidelines—including capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing—will become optional for retail, food services, offices, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and personal care services, among other commercial settings. Large-scale event venues, pre-K–12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care settings must continue to follow the state’s guidelines until more New York State residents are vaccinated.

Unvaccinated individuals will still be responsible for maintaining proper social distancing of six feet and wearing a mask as mandated by New York State’s implementation of federal CDC guidance. As noted, large-scale event venues, Pre-K–12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care settings will be exempt from the restriction lift. In those locations, New York State’s existing COVID-19 health protocols will remain in effect.

$800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program

The $800 million COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program provides grant funding to small and micro businesses and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants will be flexible and can be used for a number of different business operating expenses, including payroll, rent or mortgage payments, taxes, utilities, PPE, or other business expenses incurred between March 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021.

Program application details are still being finalized. If you are a New York State small business owner and would like to learn more about assistance programs or receive updates about the COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program, visit the Organizations Available to Assist Businesses page. You can sign up for alerts for your respective industry when more information is available and applications are being accepted. The current eligible industries include restaurants or bars; entertainment, arts or culture; other small businesses including retail, service, personal care, day care, etc.; life sciences; residential landlord; and “other.” Current recovery programs through New York State that you may be eligible and receive alerts for include: Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program; Restaurant Return-To-Work Tax Credit; Restaurant Resiliency Program; New York Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit; and New York Biodefense Commercialization Fund. To sign up for the alerts, go to the Empire State Development page.

Barclay Damon’s attorneys will continue to update you on additional New York State COVID-19 relief grant opportunities, resources, and federal emergency relief and stimulus legislation.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact John Gaughan, partner, at, or another member of the firm’s Hotels, Hospitality & Food Service Team.

We also have a specific team of Barclay Damon attorneys who are actively working on assessing regulatory, legislative, and other governmental updates related to COVID-19 and who are prepared to assist clients. Please contact Yvonne Hennessey, COVID-19 Response Team leader, at, or any member of the COVID-19 Response Team, at


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