Erie County creates business task force

To help businesses survive COVID-19
Posted at 11:20 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 23:27:31-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — COVID-19's impact on health is our most pressing issue, but this is also hurting a lo of our friends and neighbors financially. Erie County is working on a way to help our local businesses make it out okay.

“That’s probably the biggest question all of us have is what it is we can take advantage of," said Rory Allen, Owner of Zoom Bufalo on Main Street which is still open for business.

With the stimulus package coming from the federal government and aid coming from the state, it's hard for business owners to sort things out. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced a business task force Wednesday to help out.

"There are some businesses that just won't survive this. So what we can we do to ensure that we keep as many businesses alive in the long run is the goal of the task force," said Poloncarz.

The task force will begin by conducting a survey of businesses to determine what their needs are, starting April 14. They're also working on the following:

  • Disaster relief loan program for small businesses
  • Deferring payment on existing loans
  • Emergency executive order to provide lending assistance
  • SBA loans which are available now, click here
  • Hiring and filling open positions for companies

“We do see a future beyond COVID-19. We’ll be stronger together as a WNY community and your business is going to be part of that,” said Brenda McDuffie, Co-Chair of the task force.

The task force includes both businesses and government organizations, including the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Wegmans, M&T Bank, Uniland Development, Black Chamber of Commerce, WNY Area Labor Federation and many more.

"This community can survive all this and I hope we just come out stronger as a result,” said Allen.