A New York City bar (via A. Strakey/Flickr)

The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the art world has yet to be determined, but the forecast is bleak. From major museums to independent galleries and nonprofits, cancellations and closures have already begun to impact the function of many businesses, not to mention leaving freelance and part-time workers in dire straits. But for small businesses and nonprofits in New York City grappling with the economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new grant program aims to offset some of the lost revenue and maintain payroll during the crisis.

NYC announced the Employee Retention Grant Program for businesses employing one to four individuals that can demonstrate a 25% decrease in revenue as a result of the public health crisis. The city will supplement up to 40% of eligible businesses’ payrolls (capped at $27,000 each) for two months.

The city bases the impact percentage by comparing a business’s “average revenue for two months in 2020 (after the COVID-19 impact)” to both the “average revenue for the same two month period in 2019” and a monthly average calculated from total 2019 revenue. Grant amounts will be determined based on the most recent two months of payroll records.

Meanwhile, the NYC Office of Nightlife released a Google form to gather statistics about the impact of the pandemic on the city’s nightlife workers, freelancers, and business owners and operators. To help assess the situation at hand, they ask for impacted individuals and businesses to detail lost funds due to canceled events and closures affecting “bars, live music venues, nightclubs, lounges, restaurants, and other social and cultural spaces.”

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Jasmine Weber

Jasmine Weber is an artist, writer, and former news editor at Hyperallergic. Follow her on Instagram and

2 replies on “NYC Will Support Payroll for Some Small Businesses During Pandemic”

  1. Does this apply to small businesses with independent contractors or only W2 employees?

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