Walk in to almost any business lately and immediately you notice a difference: Less people, glass or plastic partitions in front of the cashier, face masks, and the strong smell of alcohol based cleaning spray are all part of this new normal.

But these renovations cost money, Sen. Sue Serino points out. 

Most businesses have been closed for over three months during the pandemic and small businesses have been even more significantly impacted, struggling to pay bills and keep employees on the payroll. 

“New Yorkers stepped up in a big way when they were asked to stay home and do their part to promote public health and safety. Now, it’s time for the state to step up and support them as they safely reopen,” Senator Serino said.“That means removing any potential obstacles to reopening, including the significant costs that are associated with adhering to the new stringent state mandates.”

Serino is proposing a bill that would create grants for businesses and non-profits that need extra assistance in buying PPE, industrial cleaning services, or need to modify existing work space layout in order to safely reopen. The bill would be funded through what is left in the federal Cares Act Funding to the state.    

The ‘New York Business COVID-19 Modification Grant Program,’ would require the state to prioritize the small businesses that were the hardest hit by the pandemic, but could also be used retroactively so a business in need would be able to be refunded for their purchases. 

“Whether you were a hairdresser who drastically modified your salon and spent days tracking down expensive face shields, a restaurant owner who needs to purchase new outdoor furniture to safely expand, a small office manager who purchased decals and marketing materials to explain to customers how to adhere to new guidelines, or a not-for-profit on a shoestring budget, I know every penny counts right now as we look to safely restart. 

The state has to do more to ensure that they have the tools they need to succeed, and passing this bill is just one way we can do that," Serino said.