COVID-19 Manufacturer’s FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions for Mohawk Valley Regional Manufacturers

Q: How can my business supply products to help fight the spread of the Coronavirus?

A: If your business is currently manufacturing medical gowns, scrubs, cleaning materials, hand soaps, sanitizer, medical equipment or any other supplies and materials that can be used to help fight COVID-19, please send your contact information and a very brief description of your business and products to the following: [email protected]. You may also call 212-803-3100.

Q: How do I know if my business has been determined essential by New York State?

A: Executive order 202.6 Essential Businesses can be found here:

https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-issues-guidance-essential-services-under-new-york-state-pause-executive-order

If you feel that your business should be included on the essential business list and is not please complete the following form:

https://esd.ny.gov/content/request-designation-essential-business-purposes-executive-order-2026

Q: What do I do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19 or shows symptoms?

A:If an employee is confirmed to be infected the employee must be sent home. They should not return to work until 14 days after all symptoms have abated. It is suggested to acquire a doctor’s release before returning to work. Employees showing symptoms should remain home. Should an employee at work show symptoms they should immediately be sent home. It is also highly suggested to contact your County Health Department should your employee test positive. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

Q: What steps can I take to protect my workforce during this crisis?

A: Practicing social distancing, educating employees on reducing the spread of the virus, performing routine cleaning of the facility, maintaining healthy business operations, reducing or eliminating casual workplace interactions, reducing or eliminating before work and or work social gatherings, implementing the use of video conferencing or teleconferencing when available, and increasing distance between departments when feasible. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

Q: Is my business eligible for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance Loans?

A: Please find the Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Loan information and application here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

Q: When must I reduce my workforce by 100% as a non-essential business?

A: All non-essential businesses must reduce their in office workforce by 100% by 8PM, Sunday, March 22, 2020.

Q: What is the NYS Department of Labor Shared Work Program and how can it provide options for both the employer and employee?

A: Shared Work lets you keep trained staff and avoid problems caused by layoffs. If you keep your employees during a temporary slow-down, you can gear up quickly when business conditions improve. You do not have the expense of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees. Also, you spare your employees the hardships of full unemployment. Employees can receive partial Unemployment Insurance benefits while working reduced hours. Full-time, part-time and seasonal employees are eligible.  For further details and application instructions please visit: https://labor.ny.gov/ui/dande/sharedwork1.shtm

Q: Should I be in contact with my regional/local economic development and workforce development offices?

A: Yes, we all want to learn what challenges your businesses might be experiencing so that we can be a resource. Please contact the AIM office @ 315-624-9800 or email AIM Center Director Cory Albrecht at [email protected] to receive specific agency contact information. We are here to help all manufacturers however we can. If you know someone in need of assistance, please do not hesitate to share our information.

Q: I’m having difficulties with suppliers and logistics, how can AIM and NY MEP assist my business?

A: AIM can assist your business with supply chain disruption by leveraging the NYS MEP Network and the Network’s thousands of New York State manufacturing clients. There are opportunities to source materials and components locally and AIM can assist with making the necessary connections.

Q: What do I tell my customers if I cannot provide them with their products?

A: You will want to mention a few key points: 

  • Apologize for not being able to fill their order
  • Acknowledge the significance and widespread scope of the problem
  • Note that public health and safety of the employees are more important than filling an order
  • Focus on fulfilling the order as soon as you’re able to get back to normal. As an example you can consider saying something like this:

 “As you know, the COVID-19 crisis has hit our nation and has caused a significant disruption to our business, operations and supply chain.  As a result of this disruption, it is our commitment to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of this virus. We are limiting our operations, and unable to fill your order at this time. We appreciate you being a customer of our company and once we are fully operational we will fill your order. The only thing more important to us than our customers is the health and safety of our team members and our community.  We remain committed to you and will work hard to fill your order as soon as we’re able to get back to normal operations.  Thank you for your patience in this incredibly difficult time – we hope your team and your family remain healthy!”

Q: As an essential manufacturer, what options do I have to increase safety for my employees?

A: An essential employer might consider a design and layout change to the shop floor that would allow employees to maintain the recommended safe distance for co-workers. A business might also consider the NYS Department of Labor’s Shared Work Program to retain your skilled workforce while reducing their hours on the shop floor.

Q: What options do I have as a non-essential manufacturer?

A: As a non-essential manufacturer you can request an essential business designation if you feel as though you meet the criteria of being a major supplier to a designated essential business. You may also want to take this opportunity to explore alternative business capabilities including the opportunity to manufacture an essential good for NYS or the Federal Government. AIM can help you submit applications for these opportunities.  Finally, you may want to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Q: If my employees need to apply for unemployment insurance, how do they do it?

A: Governor Cuomo has waived the mandatory 7-day waiting period to apply for Unemployment Benefits. Due to the recent increase (950%) from 2,000 average filings to 20,000 filings this week the Department of Labor has implemented an alphabetical filing system to assist with alleviating the massive influx of applications. The system is as follows:

Those with a last name that starts with A-F will file on Mondays.

Those with a last name that starts with G-N will file on Tuesdays.

Those with a last name that starts with O-Z will file on Wednesdays.

If an individual misses their filing date they will need to complete their application on Thursday or Friday of that week. A step-by-step guide to file for Unemployment can be found here: https://labor.ny.gov/ui/how_to_file_claim.shtm

Q: How will by business operate remotely?

A: Every business is different and there isn’t a single answer to solve the problem of how to have employees work remote. Flexibility, creativity, and resilience are paramount to success during times of panic and confusion. Some useful tips can be found here: https://www.fisherphillips.com/faqs#L4 

Additionally, AIM Staff are available to consult with any manufacturer in need of guidance, recommendations, or outlets for companies to continue working remotely in the most productive and efficient manner possible. AIM staff are in the process of creating and making available webinars, as well as additional online/remote resources to continue to assist our manufacturers here in the Mohawk Valley.  Please contact the AIM office @ 315-624-9800 or email AIM Center Director Cory Albrecht at [email protected] and AIM will be happy to assist you in any way that we can.

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