With the future of local businesses in a state of uncertainty as the city faces the threat of another shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. is seeking information regarding financial assistance for such businesses from the offices of Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio.
Addabbo has worked closely with the Queens Chamber of Commerce to understand the challenges local businesses faced during the first shutdown, and what they will need in order to survive another one.
“While I understand the need to ensure the safety of our people first and foremost,” Addabbo said, “we cannot just force a business and its employees to shut down without having the proper resources in place to help them survive an extended closure. The two must go hand-in-hand.”
“Queens businesses were among the hardest-hit in the country by the first shutdown, and many of them simply will not survive another without some form of relief,” said Thomas J. Grech, President & CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “These businesses have done everything asked of them to keep their employees, their customers, and their communities safe. Now, we need to do whatever we can to help them stay alive as they face an uncertain holiday season.”
Addabbo noted that the aid from the federal government might not be available in time to allow employers to retain their employees throughout an extended shutdown.
Another point Addabbo wants to make to Governor Cuomo is that if there is going to be another shutdown of local businesses, it should be postponed as best possible for after the holidays.
“The holiday season brings the possibility of a number of businesses recouping some of their economic losses from earlier in the year. Also, many businesses — especially those in the food industry — need time to prepare and order items specifically for the holidays,” Addabbo said. “If another shutdown is imposed, these businesses must be given significant notice in consideration of their holiday orders. We should not leave these businesses out in the cold.”
Addabbo will also urge the Governor and Mayor to provide a reopening plan, should a continued pandemic spike cause local stores to close again.
“These businesses need to know what is happening in regards to a shutdown and when they will be able to open up again. There should be a detailed plan in place that has specific metrics we must meet in order to reopen,” Addabbo contends. “The original plan back in the spring and summer with the phased reopenings was an ideal plan, but once we got to Phase 4 and our businesses weren’t allowed to reopen, there was minimal guidance going forward from there. We can’t let our business owners twist in the wind while decisions are made on which businesses can open and which cannot.”