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 will enable businesses and consumers to see critical reopened business information, including hours of operation, services offered, contact information, etc. Additionally, Reopen Buffalo will serve 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. Our local economy has entered Phase Four of Governor Cuomo’s New York Forward reopening plan as of June 30, 2020. Mayor Brown and OSP will be following Governor Cuomo’s guidelines to ensure that our City residents can get back to work without renewing the spread of COVID-19 or overwhelming our local hospital systems. While we begin Phase Four of reopening, the City will continue to offer innovative and alternative methods for conducting business, essential businesses will continue operating, and many of our development and infrastructure projects will continue to move forward.
Reopen for Business - Map and Directory
Mayor Byron Brown has launched a Reopen for Business map and directory to support 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.
- NEW! 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.
New York Forward
The Western New York region entered Phase 4 of reopening as of June 30, 2020.
New York State released guidelines for Phase 4 industries here.
- New York Forward has information and helpful resources outlining the regionally and industry-based reopening process.
New York Forward also has a Reopen Tool Lookup through which businesses can input their County and NAICS code to determine whether or not they are eligible to reopen, and the public health and safety standards with which they must comply.
Please reference New York State’s Regional Monitoring Dashboard for up-to-date public health metrics in Western New York and other regions in New York State. Please visit NY Forward’s Metrics to Guide Reopening New York page for more information on these reopening metrics.
Business Health and Safety Guidelines for Reopening
- The Buffalo Niagara Partnership has launched the Keep Buffalo Niagara Working initiative to help you in planning to reopen your business as safely as possible while continuing to protect your employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Buffalo Niagara Partnership also has a Video Tutorial on steps employers need to take to be in compliance with the state’s reopening protocols.
- NY Forward has industry specific reopening guidance for employers and employees. These guidelines apply to both non-essential businesses reopening and essential businesses previously permitted to reopen.
- Per NYS Department of Health, re-opening business and essential businesses must develop a written Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- A business may fill out the business safety plan template to fulfill the requirement, or may develop its own Safety Plan. This plan does not need to be submitted to the state for approval, but must be retained on the premises of the business, and must be made available to state and local health authorities in the event of inspection.
- Please incorporate NY Forward’s reopening guidance when developing your business Safety Plan as well as standards applicable under federal law, including the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Please reference OSHA’s standards for COVID-19 page.
Also, according to executive order 202.16 issued by Governor Cuomo, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide face coverings to employees at their expense.
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 during Phase Three of New York Forward, reopening quickly, safely and in compliance with pertinent guidelines.
On June 1, 2020, the working group released a live application for small businesses and restaurants seeking to use streets, sidewalks, and other public or other outdoor space to meet social distancing requirements and operate their business.
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.
The City of Buffalo will continue to add reference materials to help small businesses and restaurants design exterior spaces for physical distancing.
Please complete the Small Business Social Distancing Exterior Premises Use Application below:
Small Business and Restaurant Support
- Beginning June 16, 2020, restaurant establishments in the Western New York Region may open indoor spaces with seating for customers (Indoor capacity is limited to no more than 50% of maximum occupancy, exclusive of employees). Please reference Phase 3 guidelines.
- Guidance for Outdoor Spaces: New York State Department of Health’s interim guidance for outdoor and take-out/delivery food services and New York State Liquor Authority’s guidance on outdoor expansion of licensed premises.
- 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.
If you are a restaurant that is open, please consider filling out a registration form to be featured in our Reopen for Business directory.
While certain projects are not going forward at this time, the City of Buffalo is continuing with affordable housing projects, public works projects, and certain private development projects. Not only are these important projects for our communities and economy, these are important sources of employment.
The Department of Public Works will move forward with planned infrastructure and capital improvement projects for 2020:
This year, the City is devoting approximately $3.5 million in CDBG funds to improve our parks, curbs and sidewalks, and City facilities.
City of Buffalo’s 2020 Residential Street Paving season is currently underway. As part of a nearly $10.5 million investment, 120 streets will be paved citywide.
Buffalo Water is investing $29.5 million in capital improvement projects this year to continue to ensure that we are delivering safe and clean water.
Buffalo Sewer is in its 6th year of its 20-year long term control plan and has spent $170 million on capital improvements to the City’s sewer system and the Bird Island Treatment Facility.
The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency (BURA) is currently overseeing $73.4 million worth of affordable housing projects with $3.9 million in funding coming directly from BURA HOME dollars. These projects include Jefferson Avenue Apartments, Fillmore Avenue Apartments, Trinity One Apartments, Westminster Commons, Mt. Aaron Village, and Polly Jean Suites. We are very excited to see the longstanding impact these affordable housing projects will have on our community.
BURA will be announcing funding for new affordable housing projects very soon. Additionally, over the next three weeks, Mayor Brown will continue making announcements for several significant private development projects. We will be posting updates regarding private development projects to this web page.
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
Since physical local government offices are closed, the Department of Permits & Inspection Services (DPIS) has 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.
Connecting Businesses to Resources
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, will begin accepting pre-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. The task force has collaborated with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership to release a Business Impact survey. Data and information from this survey will help inform our team on what actions are needed to move forward to best help our impacted businesses. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership has released the results of the survey here.
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, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone: 716-342-3620.