Remember COVID-19? Owners of small businesses that have yet to open but are in danger of being smashed by rioters sure do.
As Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo take turns making vague comments about the continued destruction, many small-business owners caught in limbo are asking: Why are crowds OK for protest but not anything else? Our fearful leaders have no answer.
New York City is still a full five days away from entering Phase 1. This will open up only some industries, like construction and manufacturing and retail on a pickup basis only.
Many business owners are wondering if they’ll have a business left to open when their turn finally comes.
Few business owners I spoke to would let me use their name or the name of their business. Several told me they’re afraid of retaliation by a government that has full control of their fate. They feel that criticizing any part of the reopen plan can have them targeted for shutdown when they do get to open.
An owner of a chain of pre-schools that regularly provide services to over 500 families across the city told me how impossible it’s been to get a clear answer from the state about the future of his business.
“We have waited weeks to hear from state and local officials and no one can provide clear guidance. We’ve had teams that have been put in place to assess the situation from Day 1, and the fact that there is little to no solid information presented to small businesses so we may begin to transform to the new norm is disheartening, to say the least.”
With “education” sandwiched in with Broadway shows and concerts in Phase 4, and so many day camps closed for the season because permission from Cuomo to open came too late, it’s impossible to tell when parents will be able to get any kind of child care.