What's Happening This Week in
Downtown Jamaica
How About Some Good News?

We thought you may enjoy a little good news today. Here are some positive things happening on Jamaica Avenue that are making us smile:

  • Hook and Reel, which launched just before the coronavirus shutdown, has reopened for delivery and takeout. Download their takeout menu here and then call 718-297-3560. Welcome back, Hook and Reel! 

  • Make Me Over Beauty Bar’s storefront may be temporarily closed, but that hasn’t stopped the proprietors from being their best and most beautiful selves on Instagram. These savvy small business owners are doing at home make-up tutorials, sharing upbeat messages about how to get through social isolation and selling some of their custom goods online. Please support our local business owners—give them a follow on social, share their posts, and remotely place an order if you can. We want our Jamaica Avenue businesses to survive.  

  • 33 “Essential Businesses” are bravely serving the Jamaica Avenue community! That’s an uptick from a couple of weeks ago when only 29 were open. Thank you to all of these business owners and their employees for showing up to work so that we can shop for critical goods and services. Visit our updated list of Essential Businesses on our homepage here and please remember—when possible, Shop Your Community—Shop Jamaica and help keep our local economy going! 

  • King Manor Museum has created King Manor @Home, a growing repository of hands-on educational activities families can do indoors. Their Sugar Ornament activity seems fun! Just a couple blocks away, our friends at Jamaica Center for the Performing Arts is livestreaming performances and providing #popup classes. We applaud their innovative way of delivering arts and culture to the community at this time. Lucky us that we live in such a vibrant cultural district with top-notch local institutions.
Thank You For Keeping Jamaica Avenue Safe and Clean

We want to thank our sanitation team members for helping keep Jamaica Avenue clean during this crisis. These workers continue sweeping litter and removing graffiti and other unsightly messes as usual from the Avenue, but perhaps you have noticed that they are also doing something else during this time—disinfecting commonly touched street furniture to keep the neighborhood safe. We are always thankful for this hard-working team, but we’ve never been more thankful than now for their efforts. (Note—this team pic was taken pre coronavirus; the entire Sanitation team now wears masks and all practice social distancing). 

We also want to thank our local neighborhood community police officers Officer Russo and Officer Lynch and their colleagues who continue to patrol Jamaica Avenue. We know that many police officers across New York City have fallen ill with coronavirus and our community is no exception.  

Please do your part to keep Jamaica Avenue safe and clean. Don’t litter your used masks or gloves. Dispose of them properly in a trash can.  
Weekly Business Grants and Loan Updates

We continue to actively monitor loans and grants available to help businesses weather the COVID-19 situation. Here are a few updates since our last e-blast: 

  • Facebook Small Business Grant Program: Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in communities where they have a business presence. We checked and Queens qualifies. The application is finally open! Here are the details: Facebook wants to offer grants to businesses that have operated for at least a year and have between 2 and 50 employees. To apply, you’ll need to have the following documents handy: Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), Partnership documents, Business license, Proof of incorporation and Official registration. Be prepared to explain how you would use your grant funds to make an impact on your business or in your community. More info here

  • LISC’s Small Business Relief Grants have opened again for another round of applications. This second application wave will close on Tuesday, April 28th. More info here.
Additional Resources for Businesses and Notifications for Businesses

  • Our friends at the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) have partnered with Go Daddy to create the “Empower Program” to help businesses create a strong and effective online presence. Now more than ever, your business needs a strong and effective online presence. GJDC's free four-hour online training program (broken into several modules) will prepare businesses with the knowledge and tools to build a website that will get noticed. Learn more here

  • Non-essential retail establishment? You can STILL fulfill online orders placed remotely via phone or online. Please note that only one employee may be physically present at the business location to fulfill orders. (If this applies to you as a business owner, we encourage you to let your neighbors and enforcement officials know that you’re operating under these guidelines by posting a sign on the door or front window like this one.) 

  • Don’t Turn Away Free Help! There are several government and nonprofit agencies offering FREE (remote) business counseling for those wishing to apply for the next round of federal funding, review their financial and business plans, and/or explore other private loan products. Free business counseling organizations include: the federal Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Small Business Development Centers (view here) the Queens Economic Development Corporation (view here), NYC Department of Business Services Business Solutions Centers (view here) and the Queens La Guardia Small Business Center (view here). 

  • Speaking of FREE assistance, free legal help is also available for businesses. The City Bar Justice Center is offering a remote legal clinic, while the nonprofit Legal Aid Society is also providing pro-bono legal advice to businesses impacted by COVID-19. (212-426-3002 or 212-426-3004 or email The Legal Aid Society's Community Development Project at communitydevproject@legal-aid.org.)  
COVID-19 Health Notes

  • NYC’s Health Department is regularly updating information about the Coronavirus here. The City can answer a lot of your COVID-19 questions and help you find a health care provider by dialing 311. If you would like to receive regular text alerts from City government regarding the novel Coronavirus, you can sign up by texting COVID to 692-692. 

  • Testing Site for COVID-19: First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica has partnered with Community Heath Network (CHN) and New York State to use their space as a testing site for the coronavirus. Priority will be given to the following groups: Symptomatic, First Responders, Pregnant women and Health Care workers. To make an appointment call the CoVid Hotline at 888-364-3065 and request the Queens site. Please ensure you have an appointment as Drop-ins will not be seen at this site. There will also be a testing station at York College on 4/27 and 4/28. Registrations are required (covidmd.org).

  • New York City’s Family Justice Centers are still available by phone to provide vital services for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence, including legal consultations, counseling sessions, safety planning, case management, and FJC updates. For emergencies, call 911. NYC’s 24 hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-621-4673

  • If you feel that you, or someone you know, needs counseling to help cope during this time, 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355) is a free, confidential help line for New York City residents. You can call 24 hours per day/7 days a week. The staff of trained mental health professionals help callers find mental health services. NYC Well is multilingual and multicultural. More information about this program can be accessed here.
Food Access During COVID-19

If you or someone you know is in need of food, please visit the NYC Emergency Food Assistance Program or call the Emergency Food line at 1-866-888-8777 . Learn more here or text ‘NYC FOOD’ or ‘NYC COMIDA’ to 877-877 to find a location. ( View the full Twitter thread for translations in multiple languages )

For NYC Students : Grab-and-go is now available for three meals a day by the New York City Department of Education from 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM. ANY student can pick up breakfast and lunch at ANY school building. Learn more and find a location here .

Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center : To help connect community members in need with food resources during this challenging time, the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center has created a database of food resources for each NYC neighborhood. For more information on the Jamaica location, visit here .

SNAP Recipients : New Yorkers can use their SNAP benefits to order food online. For more information please visit here .
About Business and Event Promotions in this Newsletter : Businesses and organizations located in the Jamaica Avenue Commercial District between Sutphin Blvd and 169th Street are invited to submit promotional information for possible inclusion in our newsletter. Events happening near or immediately adjacent to the Jamaica Avenue Commercial District may also be considered for inclusion on a case-by-case basis. We reserve the right to reject or edit materials for length, style, timeliness, and appropriateness. This newsletter serves to inform our community about events, opportunities and commercial activity in Downtown Jamaica, within specifically the Jamaica Center BID boundaries.