Downtown Syracuse Business and Property Owners,

Your weekly rundown of news and information for Downtown Syracuse businesses is here! (For previous business newsletters, as well as current reopening, regulatory, and financial information, please visit our Reopening Resources website .

Business News Recap:

  • Do chips count as “other foods?” New York State introduced new requirements for establishments serving alcohol. A new Q&A section on the State Liquor Authority’s website provides insight into questions such as “I operate a restaurant or bar, and I understand that I must serve sandwiches, soups, or ‘other foods’ when a patron orders an alcoholic beverage. What constitutes ‘other foods?’” Click here and scroll to “Q&A” for details.

  • Walton Street Opportunities for Non-Food Vendors: In order to provide additional opportunities for retail in an outdoor setting, the City will make limited space available on Walton Street during planned street closures from Friday-Sunday for non-food vendors who wish to place a tent or kiosk on Walton Street. Vendors will be spaced 20 feet apart to allow plenty of room for proper social distancing, and participation will be limited to 6 vendors per weekend. In order to provide opportunities to businesses in different neighborhoods throughout the City, half the available spaces will be reserved for vendors from neighborhoods outside of Downtown. Interested businesses should submit this form to the City by end-of-day Thursday, July 23, for participation July 24-26.

  • Main Street Lending Program modified for nonprofits: The Federal Reserve Board updated its Main Street Lending Program to provide greater access to credit for nonprofit organizations, such as educational institutions, hospitals, and social service organizations. The Main Street Lending Program was created to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses and nonprofit organizations that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the changes, the minimum employment threshold for nonprofits was lowered from 50 employees to 10, the limit on donation-based funding was eased, and several financial eligibility criteria were adjusted to accommodate a wider range of nonprofit operating models.

Small Business Resources:

  • Legal Services: The Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County launched a COVID-19 Small Business and Nonprofit Emergency Program. This program is available to small businesses or small nonprofit organizations that have been negatively affected by COVID-19 and cannot afford an attorney. It will match clients with volunteer attorneys that will provide free legal advice covering a variety of topics, such as SBA loan and grant programs, return to work plans, and leases and contracts. For assistance click here or reach out via email at

  • Marketing Grants: Advance Media New York has pledged $1.25 million in matching marketing services grants. As the economy reopens, these grants will help businesses tell their “new” stories and stretch their marketing dollars through The Post-Standard, and Grant applications will be accepted through the end of July. Applications will be screened within two business days of submission. Businesses and nonprofits can apply at

  • Women-Owned Small Business Federal & New York State Certification Webinar: The U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Syracuse District and SCORE will present an updated webinar on SBA's Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and New York State's Women-Owned Enterprise (WBE) certification programs on Thursday, August 6, from 10 am - Noon. Cost: Free. Register here.

For questions related to business operations and resources in downtown Syracuse, please contact our Economic Development team at (315) 412-7878 or email .