Mayor Byron W. Brown and The City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning are pleased to launch Reopen Buffalo as an online resource for businesses and the community. Reopen Buffalo enables businesses and consumers to see critical reopened business information, including hours of operation, services offered, contact information, etc. Additionally, Reopen Buffalo serves as a communication tool between businesses and City Hall, providing businesses with the latest information about the COVID-19 emergency and the City of Buffalo’s response to adequately restore economic activity swiftly and responsibly.
The City of Buffalo has and continues to be responsive to the needs of our business community. While the COVID-19 emergency is unsettling, Mayor Brown wants our business owners to know that our commitment to them is stronger than ever. Mayor Brown and OSP will be following Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward guidelines to ensure that our City residents can go to work without renewing the spread of COVID-19. The City will continue to offer innovative and alternative methods for conducting business, and our planned infrastructure and development projects will continue to move forward.
Reopen for Business - Map and Directory
Mayor Byron W. Brown has launched a Reopen for Business map and directory to support small businesses in the City of Buffalo.
- If you are a business that is open or reopening, please consider filling out a Registration Form to be featured on our Reopen for Business map and directory.
- Important business updates will be provided from the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning. Please select the option to sign up to receive these updates on our Registration Form.
- Visit our Blog to see our latest Reopen Buffalo Bulletins.
- The City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning (OSP) remains virtually operational Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, offering guidance and support with the emerging and immediate needs of the business community. If you wish to update your business information or have other business-related questions, please contact 311 or, if outside the City limits, 716-851-4890. Please give up to 36 hours for any business information changes.
- If your business is already listed in our directory and you have not filled out a registration form just yet, do not contact 311. Please submit a Registration Form and we will update your information.
- If you are looking for open businesses in the City, please make use of the directory and map below.
Business Health and Safety Guidelines for Reopening
- Effective June 15, Governor Cuomo announced that COVID-19 restrictions are lifted immediately as 70 percent of New Yorkers aged 18 or older have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series. See press release HERE
- Please read the New York State guidance to implement the new CDC recommendations for fully vaccinated people
- New York Forward has additional resources and information.
- For additional health and safety tips, please visit our Health Resources tab.
Small Business Social Distancing Initiative
Mayor Byron W. Brown formed a working group, chaired by Council Member Joel Feroleto, for the City to facilitate the use of public outdoor spaces by small businesses and restaurants so they can implement physical distancing protocols to reopen quickly, safely and in compliance with pertinent guidelines. Since the City of Buffalo began accepting SBSDI applications, businesses have been approved to expand operations outdoors on private land, sidewalks, and streets.
On April 27th, 2021, the City of Buffalo Common Council approved an extension of the Small Business Social Distancing Initiative through November 15th, 2021. Please reference the Common Council Agenda Item: Ordinance Amendment- Chapter 415 Small Business Distancing Strategy. To make the successes of the SBSDI program lasting and permanent, the Office of Strategic Planning is planning to work with small businesses to evolve the initiative into a permanent policy, expanding access to sidewalks and streets. If you are a small business or restaurant seeking to use streets, sidewalks, and other public or privately owned outdoor space to operate your business, please fill out a Small Business Social Distancing Exterior Premises Use Application. Businesses previously approved need to renew their SBSDI application for 2021. Businesses can reach out to Danielle Rizzo firstname.lastname@example.org to renew their application.
Please reference the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)’s Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery page as you design exterior spaces for physical distancing. The guide includes an introduction to using streets for recovery and response (pdf) and detailed implementation information about street strategies such as Outdoor Dining, Markets, and Pick Up and Delivery Zones.
Please complete the Small Business Social Distancing Exterior Premises Use Application below:
Small Business and Restaurant Support
On June 15, 2021 Governor Cuomo announced that COVID-19 restrictions are lifted immediately as 70 percent of New Yorkers aged 18 or older have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series. The State's health guidance and New York Forward industry specific guidelines are now optional across commercial settings including retail, restaurants, offices, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barbershops, personal care services, among others. See Press Release HERE
Restaurants please reference New York State Restaurant Association's COVID-19 Reopening Information and Resources
- If you are a restaurant seeking to use streets, sidewalks, and other public or other outdoor space to meet social distancing requirements and operate your business, please complete the Small Business Social Distancing Exterior Premises Use Application.
- See our Business Assistance Page for additional resources.
The Broadway Market
The Broadway Market is an essential business and remains open accordingly. The Market has instituted precautionary measures to facilitate social distancing. For more information on these precautionary measures, hours of operation, and other updates, please visit the Broadway Market website.
City Permits and Licenses Available Electronically
The Department of Permit and Inspection Services (DPIS) is open to the public on an appointment basis only. DPIS strongly encourages the public to use our digital plan submission and online permitting services:
- The Department of Permits & Inspection Services (DPIS) developed a new web-based application in conjunction with idtPlans to manage our projects for plan review. You may register and send in your applications for electronic plan review here.
- For permits that do not require plan review, you may access the City’s epermit page here.
Please visit Permit and Inspections Services for more information.
Connecting Businesses to Resources
In partnership with WEDI, BURA is helping fund heavily impacted businesses with up to $10,000 to minimize long-term hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses can apply for Microenterprise assistance beginning February 8, 2021. Click the link below to determine if you are eligible for this funding and for more information on how to apply:
To help employers navigate the reopening of the economy post COVID-19, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership has developed the BNP Business Link, a question and answer forum for and by the Buffalo Niagara business community. BNP has dedicated a team of experts to address individual questions and concerns of business owners throughout the region.
The NY Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF), announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, is accepting applications. The $100 million fund is a new economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting New York State small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords as they reopen after the COVID-19 outbreak and NYS on PAUSE. New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) has additional guidance here. If you are a small landlord, please visit this page for more information.
This is a time for communication and collaboration between our economic development community. We are participating in the Erie County Business Taskforce, which has been formed to provide immediate and targeted business assistance to local businesses struggling to respond to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our economic development office continues to work with microenterprise groups throughout the City of Buffalo such as the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI), LISC WNY, Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at SUNY Buffalo State, Pursuit Lending, Launch NY, and others. We encourage our small local businesses to reach out to these organizations as they are providing various types of business assistance and guidance during these troubling times.
Mayor Brown stays committed to serving Minority and Women-Owned Enterprises(M/WBE) in our community. During the ongoing pandemic, the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center will operate virtually to assist our small businesses on Buffalo’s East Side and throughout Western New York. You can contact the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center by email: email@example.com and by phone: 716-342-3620.