#City Council asks for $500M to rescue coronavirus-rocked small businesses

#City Council asks for $500M to rescue coronavirus-rocked small businesses

June 11, 2020 | 3:01pm

A majority of City Council members wrote Mayor Bill de Blasio Thursday, demanding a $500 million emergency relief program to help save small businesses from the coronavirus lockdown.

“New York City’s small businesses are in desperate need for additional pandemic-related emergency grants and loans if they are to survive and remain open,” wrote Councilman Mark Gjonaj (D-Bronx), who was joined by 32 other local lawmakers in the letter. The body has 51 members.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the mayor allocated just $49 million to help the city’s 200,000 mom-and-pop shops. Over 60 percent of those funds went to Manhattan businesses while The Bronx received just 1 percent of the aid, according to the council members.

“A similar disparity existed for the remaining outer boroughs. By allocating an additional $500 million for relief, your administration has an opportunity to correct this imbalance,” Gjonaj wrote.

“Small businesses simply do not have enough money on hand to meet fixed payments — like commercial rent and utilities, and they are struggling to meet payroll expenses.

“If they do not receive the appropriate level of aid, we will lose them, the jobs that come with them and a critical tax base for the city, forever,” he warned.

Reps for the mayor did not immediately return a request for comment on the letter.

Retail businesses are only allowed to offer curbside or in-store pickup under the city’s Phase One reopening plan. Restaurants are limited to takeout and de Blasio still hasn’t announced a plan to allow outdoor dining when the city enters Phase Two as early as June 22.

Last month, the mayor panned a proposal by Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D-Brooklyn) to allow mom-and-pop shops that haven’t received government loans during the pandemic to reopen.

De Blasio also claimed in May that city businesses forced to close because of the coronavirus outbreak are doing just fine and will be able to stay shuttered for months to come — despite a report that found the Big Apple’s private sector has shed one in four jobs.


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