COVID-19 Business Resources 

We’ll get through this together. Ithaca is Resilient.

The City of Ithaca Office of Economic Development is committed to working with our local businesses and economic development partners to ensure that businesses have the information and resources that they need to help weather the economic impacts of COVID-19.

For assistance navigating local resources or to suggest additional COVID-19 business resources, please email  This page was last updated on May 1, 2020. 

Guidance for ReOpening - To be updated on an ongoing basis as new resources and guidance are developed.

The following is a curated list of links with COVID-19 Business Resources:

COVID-19 Business Resources from the Tompkins Chamber

Workforce Resources from Tompkins Workforce NY

COVID-19 Resources from Tompkins County Area Development

Support for Startups During COVID-19 from Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA) at Cornell University

Downtown Ithaca Information from the Downtown Ithaca Alliance

ESD COVID-19 Related Resources from Empire State Development

SBA Coronavirus Relief Options from the Small Business Administration, including Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Business Mentor NY connects small business with mentors that can guide small businesses through this crisis with financial and related advice on acquiring capital and applying for and leveraging various disaster resources.

COVID-19 Small Business Resilience Fund

Due to the very large number of applications received, this program is now closed to new applications.

On April 15th, 2020 the Ithaca Tompkins County COVID-19 Small Business Resilience Fund (SBRF) was announced.  The purpose of the fund is provide forgivable loans in the amount of up to $5,000 for working capital to micro-enterprises and small businesses in Ithaca and Tompkins County experiencing hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 135 applications were submitted within 48 hours. Due to the overwhelming demand, the fund is now closed to new applications.

Loans will carry a zero-interest rate, an 18 month term, and be forgiven for businesses open and in operation on December 1, 2020 that have complied with the program rules.

The goal of the fund is to provide emergency relief to help business owners retain their businesses and their employees. Priority is given to ground floor storefront businesses open to the general public and businesses in established commercial districts. The fund seeks to be a bridge of support before additional state and federal resources become available and mandated social distancing is relaxed, and is a partnership of a number of local economic development agencies. Funding comes from the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency (IURA), Tompkins County Development Corporation (TCDC), Cornell University, Community Foundation of Tompkins County, and individual donors; and loans were made available to businesses across Tompkins County.

Alternatives Federal Credit Union is managing the intake, the application process, and disbursing approved loans. 

Donations Accepted

For individual donors interested in supporting local small businesses during COVID-19, Alternatives Impact, the 501(c)3 affiliate of AFCU which raises funds to support community programs and create economic opportunity for underserved people and communities, is also now taking donations for the COVID-19 Economic Crisis Response Fund. Additional funds received will increase capacity for direct technical assistance to local small businesses.

COVID-19: How Can I Help?

Stay home and practice social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. In addition, the following is a list of ideas for helping Ithaca businesses, neighbors, and community, compiled by the City of Ithaca Office of Economic Development. Updated 4/20/20

Helping Local Businesses

Helping Neighbors and Community

  • Donate to a local charitable fund.The United Way of Tompkins County and Community Foundation of Tompkins County have both set up COVID-19 funds:
    • Community Foundation of Tompkins County: The COVID-19 Response Fund will provide flexible resources to basic needs nonprofit organizations in our region working with our communities to address how they and their participants are impacted by this crisis.
    • United Way:  United Way of Tompkins County is responding to an increase in local needs due to COVID-19 by expanding and expediting our existing funding processes. As always, 100% of donations given through United Way of Tompkins County (UWTC) will continue to go directly to agency programs and services. Donors can continue to contribute any of UWTC’s existing community initiatives or a nonprofit agency of their choice. In addition they can designate their gift to support UWTC’s COVID-19 relief efforts.
  • Sign up on the Ithaca/Tompkins County “Offer Support” Volunteer form: . This form is organized by the ‘COVID-19 Tompkins Mutual Aid Response’ group. The group is helping link volunteers with local individual-to-individual as well as opportunities through local service organizations.
  • Sign up on the United Way’s Volunteer Form: which will be used to match individual volunteers with opportunities.
  • Visit the ‘Tompkins COVID-19 Immediate Needs’ Facebook Group to request or offer assistance on a person to person basis.
  • Donate Food.  The Food Bank of the Southern Tier is a resource.
  • Donate Blood. There are still a number of local blood drives and the need is constant.
  • Check out the Daily Run Down, also organized by the COVID-19 Tompkins Mutual Aid Response group. If you would like this delivered straight to your inbox every day please fill out this form. The community resource folder has all of the relevant info and is updated daily.
  • Mask sewing. Tompkins County Health Department is initiating a collaborative effort to produce and distribute cloth masks for essential workers. Essential businesses can request cloth masks for their employees through a process set up by the Tompkins County Emergency Operations Center. If you are able to volunteer in this mask-making effort, please email or visit the Tompkins County Health Department website for more information and updates.
  • Deliver Goods by Bike: Deliver goods by bike, support local businesses with your bike needs, and/or help individuals get bikes to use for their mental and physical wellbeing.  Learn how you can help at

Send additional ideas for how individual community members can help during the COVID-19 crisis to