What's Happening This Week in
Downtown Jamaica
What's YOUR New Year's Resolution?

The calendar has flipped to 2021 and as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic in our community, we are asking our readers to resolve to support their local businesses. Now, more than ever, it’s important to adapt the “I Love Jamaica Avenue” mindset and help local retail survive. Local shopping creates local jobs and activates our local streets. Invest in downtown Jamaica. Here’s a few tangible suggestions for you: 

  • Make purchases locally instead of ordering from online warehouses outside of your community. This ensures that jobs and valuable services remain close to home. 

  • Write a positive review on Yelp, Google, Facebook or other public forums for your three favorite businesses. 

  • Follow your favorite Jamaica Ave businesses on social media and engage with their posts.

  • Give Jamaica Ave businesses a shout out on your own social media (don’t forget to tag the local business so your friends can start following them too).

  • Sign up for their newsletter.

Although these ideas are widely known, it’s a good idea to be reminded of how you can help.  

You can also resolve to help keep Jamaica Avenue clean and attractive place to shop by: 

  • Reporting broken street signals, clogged drains, dead trees and other unsightly eyesores to 311 (download the app from Google Play here or the Apple Store here). Our team reports these issues to City agencies and 311 on the regular, but the more requests for services that come from the community the better—City responses and services are allocated by data, including 311 data, so help speak up for our downtown community! 

  • Volunteering in future community cleanup events hosted or co-hosted by our BID. If you’re interested in joining in future cleanup efforts email Trey Jenkins at tjenkins@jamaicacenter.org. Learn about our pre-holiday clean up here.
Cultural Spotlight

The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning is bringing back Thursday Night Jazz. Nir Fedler Trio will be performing on JCAL’s YouTube Channel this Thursday. You can RSVP here. The JCAL Art & Design Workshop is also happening on January 28. You can learn more and buy tickets here.

January is National Hot Tea Month and our friends at King Manor Museum will host a special National Hot Tea Online Workshop with food historian and King Manor Executive Director Kelsey Brow. You can learn more and get tickets here.   

We applaud our arts and cultural neighbors for their ingenuity and creativity during this time! 
Business News Section
The Open Storefronts program has been extended through September 30, 2021! 

The Open Storefronts program assists existing ground-floor storefront businesses who want to use outdoor areas on a temporary basis. The program allows eligible businesses to conduct activity on sidewalks, on roadways in the Open Streets: Restaurants program, or a combination of both. In addition to businesses engaged in retail trade, repair stores, personal care services, and dry-cleaning and laundry services are able to use outdoor space for seating, queuing, or display of dry goods. The program also allows businesses to sell pre-packaged food on sidewalks and restaurants to use sidewalks for take-out orders. To learn more and sign-up visit here
Federal Funding Updates

The Federal Government has issued more funding for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). We found this article New Stimulus Act: 15 Big Changes That Will Impact Your Small Business helpful in giving an overview of what's changed in terms of eligibility, loan forgiveness, tax credits and more.

Remember: if you would like to apply for the latest round of PPP or EIDL, there are many FREE sources for counsel/advisory offered by City government and local nonprofits:

  • The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) now runs Fair Share NYC, a targeted campaign to connect small business owners to federal relief funds including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance. Learn more and get the assistance you need by visiting nyc.gov/ppp. NYC SBS even has a Jamaica-based location on Sutphin Blvd - connect with the Jamaica-based center here.

Webinars That Caught Our Eye 

Here are a few webinars that recently caught our eye with registration links:

Department of Building Shares Recommendations to Cut Red Tape and Support Small Business Owners   

A Task Force co-directed by the New York City Department of Buildings and the New York City Department of City Planning just released its report providing recommendations to streamline city regulatory practices and help small business owners install compliant storefront signage. The Task Force was established by Local Law 28 of 2019 in response to a substantial increase in the number of 311 complaints filed by the public against illegal business signs. You can read the report here and view the entire press release here
PPE for Local South East Queens Small Businesses 

We continue to partner with the City of New York as an official distribution entity for PPE (masks) for local SE Queens businesses. Any business wishing to receive masks should send a request to Fred Green via 718-873-2508 or fgreen@jamaicacenter.org. Businesses are limited to 50 masks per business, or 20 per small business employee (regardless of their employment status), whichever number is greater. For example, a 1- or 2-person business would receive 50 masks; a 10-person business could receive 200 masks. If you need more masks for your employees, contact Fred quickly, as supplies go fast.  
General Community News
COVID-19 Assistance at Findhelp.org 

Find food assistance, help paying bills, and other free or reduced cost programs, including new programs for the COVID-19 pandemic at Findhelp.org. 
Stop the Spread of COVID with NY's Contact Tracing App 

To stop the spread, New Yorkers need to do their part. Participate in the new contact tracing app COVID Alert NY to help keep yourself and your community safe.  

COVID Alert NY is a voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification app that notifies you if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Knowing about a potential exposure allows you to self-quarantine immediately, get tested, and reduce the potential exposure risk to others.  

The app is available to anyone 18+ who lives, works, or attends school in New York or New Jersey, and it's available in seven languages.  

Download the app for iPhone or Android here. Read the FAQ on privacy and more here
COVID Guidance for New Yorkers

All New Yorkers can take some simple steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:  

  • Stay home: Stay home, especially if you are sick unless you are leaving for essential medical care or other essential errands. 

  • Physical distancing: Stay at least 6 feet away from other people. Do not attend large gatherings, especially indoor gatherings. Remember to keep a safe distance between you and others even when wearing a face covering.  

  • Wear a face covering: Protect those around you. You can be contagious without having symptoms and spread the disease when you cough, sneeze or talk. When worn correctly (covering both your nose and mouth), face coverings can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

  • Practice healthy hand hygiene: Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available; clean frequently touched surfaces regularly; avoid touching your face with unwashed hands; and cover coughs and sneezes with your arm, not your hands. 

  • Get tested. To find a COVID-19 testing site near you, visit nyc.gov/covidtest or call 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319). Testing is free at many sites, including all sites operated by Health + Hospitals and the NYC Health Department. 

For general information on COVID-19, visit nyc.gov/health/coronavirus or text “COVID” to 692-692. Message and data rates may apply.  
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.