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COVID-19 Emergency Relief Program for Oswego County’s Small Businesses

Submitted by Operation Oswego County

In light of the devastating impact being felt by small businesses throughout Oswego County due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak, Operation Oswego County, Inc. (OOC), with funding from the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency (COIDA), and support from the County of Oswego Department of Community Development, Tourism, and Planning, is uniquely equipped to provide emergency loans to directly assist small businesses with temporary financing during the pandemic.  The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Program is summarized below.  Apply now for consideration.

What is the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Program?

An emergency loan fund of $500,000 allocated by COIDA and managed by OOC to provide zero-interest, 180-day loans to small businesses (50 employees or less) with a maximum of $10,000 available to support operations and employment directly impacted by COVID-19.

Purpose of the Loan Fund:

(a) prevent staff reductions;

(b) allow business operations to continue, if possible;

(c) offset losses related to the Coronavirus/COVID-19; and

(d) help companies sponsor sick pay for workers.

Who is eligible?

Commercial, for-profit entities that own or manage a business located within the County of Oswego and can provide evidence of a loss in sales, income, and/or cash flow within the last 60 days, or into the foreseeable future.

How can businesses apply?

Beginning Monday, March 23, an application/intake form and required financial materials will be used to gather relevant information, and conduct an independent verification of financial statements beginning on Jan. 1, as well as the need for funding.  The application will be available online at or by emailing

How will loan requests be reviewed?

A loan committee comprised of OOC board members and OOC staff is being established to review requests on a regular basis in the order applications are received.  Decisions will be made within three days of a complete submission and simple loan documents must be executed with the borrower prior to disbursement of an approved loan.

What is the cost of applying for the program?

There is no cost to apply. There are no closing costs, no filing fees, and no attorney fees (if you hire an attorney you are responsible for that cost). Loans will be provided at 0% interest and will be payable until maturity of the loan up to 180 days (6 months) from disbursement. Loans that are unable to be paid at the end of the 180-day period can be restructured and converted into low interest loans with a competitive rate.

Program Protocol and Procedures

The loan committee will review loan applications and financial information.  The committee will identify and prioritize which loans will have the greatest impact on economic resiliency. The loan committee will convene as needed to review and vote on loan requests. The required materials to submit will be included on the OOC website and via email as part of the application process.  The loan committee reserves the right to seek additional information from the application prior to making a determination.

If your business is receiving a similar grant from the Cities of Oswego or Fulton you will be limited to one of the relief programs so that the maximum number of affected businesses can be considered.

Loan Collateral & Security

All applicants owning 20% or more of the business entity will be required to execute a personal guarantee. All loans will be structured to mature 180 days from closing to be paid in full through a balloon payment. At the end of the 180-day period, businesses may request to convert the loan into interest financing, which may require additional collateral as part of the loan restructure (corporate guarantee, UCC-1 filing, mortgage, etc.)

“During these unprecedented times it’s critical that our local businesses are supported in any way possible. I’m pleased that the County of Oswego IDA has made it possible for Operation Oswego County to bring loan relief to county businesses. My heart goes out to all those that are struggling due to this pandemic. My hope is that all businesses and their families stay healthy both personally and financially,” said Barbara Bateman, president of Operation Oswego County’s Board of Directors.

Gary Toth, chair of the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency said, “The County of Oswego IDA, which serves Oswego County as a business development and retention organization, is proud to partner with Operation Oswego County and the County of Oswego to offer some economic relief to our small businesses. While this may not solve all of the economic stress, this is a good proactive start. In addition to the programs we are now offering and looking to establish, please use the OOC website as an informational tool to find other programs and resources for individual and business relief.  The website is updated regularly as more information comes to their attention.”

James Weatherup, chairman of the Oswego County Legislature said, “In these very unusual times, I am pleased to be joining the leadership at Operation Oswego County and the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency as we announce this joint initiative designed to assist members of our small business community. Few of us alive today have ever experienced the types of business interruptions we are experiencing now.  Our employers have been forced to navigate uncharted waters and we hope this program will help calm the seas of uncertainty and help our business owners find their way through this unfortunate environment.”

For more information about the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Program, call OOC at 343-1545 or visit