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Queens Businesses Are Being Decimated, Owners Call on Government for Help

(via Twitter_ @SenGianaris) (1)

Sep. 10, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

Dozens of small business owners in Queens have come together to call on the government to help them get through the economic crisis before they are forced to permanently close.

The business owners appealed to city, state and federal officials for financial relief and other forms of assistance at a press conference in Astoria today. Organizers used the hashtag “SAVE OUR SMALL BIZ” to highlight their cause.

The organizers, who held the event outside Katch Astoria on Newtown Avenue, outlined a series of demands including commercial rent relief, business grants and loans as well as a detailed plan for indoor dining.

The group also wants outdoor performance spaces to be reopened and said that the city’s arts and cultural industries have been crippled under the COVID-19 shutdown.

The event was organized by the Western Queens Small Business Council and several Business Improvement District directors and other local business advocates. State Senators Mike Gianaris and Jessica Ramos were also present along with Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer and Donovan Richards.

Gianaris said that many small businesses are unlikely to survive the economic downturn unless immediate relief is provided.

“We are in the midst of a small business catastrophe the likes of which we’ve never seen,” Gianaris said.

The business owners said they owe tens of thousands of dollars in rent, which has mounted since March. They said they have been asked to bear the cost of the shutdown alone and called for partial or total rent forgiveness for the period in which they were closed.

Roseann McSorley, the owner of Katch Astoria, said that small business owners are struggling to pay commercial rent as well as their household rent.

“When a business closes its doors, it means dozens of families are faced with personal hardship,” McSorley said.

“We have done everything we can for the past few months to stay afloat, but we are running out of lifelines and desperately need our government to take action to save Queens’ small businesses,” she said.

The groups also called for a new round of city disaster grants and loans, and want the mayor to spearhead a Business Recovery Task Force. They also want the outer boroughs to get their fair share of help.

Restaurant and bar owners said they need an immediate blueprint for indoor dining in order to plan ahead as outdoor permits expire in October.

They also want business interruption insurance claims to be honored and expedited. In addition, they are calling on the federal government to improve and expand the PPP program.

Business owners and non-profits operating in arts and culture said that their industry is being decimated by current outdoor restrictions and want outdoor spaces to be opened up for performances.

“We were the first to be shut down and still, are not allowed to open,” said Sheila Lewandowski, the executive director of The Chocolate Factory, a nonprofit theater company.

Lewandowski, whose nonprofit is in Long Island City, said that artists are leaving the city in droves because they cannot wait around for work.

“We are critical to the city and state’s identity as a center for innovation and culture, and to our economy,” she said.

“We need guidelines and support to open safely to help bring people back to our city and state.”

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer echoed those sentiments and said that mom and pop stores as well as independent theaters liven streets and bring character to the community.

“The governor must cancel commercial and tenant rents, and give working-class New Yorkers a fighting chance,” Van Bramer said.

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25 Comments

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ABoondy

i keep reading about articles on how restaurants are failing and the media keeps pushing for people to support restaurants. do you really expect people with no job to waste what little they have in savings on eating out?

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no jobs, no wall, no economy

Yeah, game show hosts aren’t great at pandemics turns out. Sad to see it hit Queens so hard and wipe out old institutions.

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Rosita

“The governor must cancel commercial and tenant rents, and give working-class New Yorkers a fighting chance,” Van Bramer said. I got to agree with Van Bramer and many others on this one.

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ABoondy

fighting chance at what exactly? this is one sided and is unfair. the landlords should sue the city to pay for their mortgages. its only fair.

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Bill

Gianaris and Van Bramer – the 2 biggest phonies. Maybe if they would have allowed Amazon small businesses would have benefited!

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no jobs, no wall, no economy

Shame to see the president’s bungling of the pandemic hit us so hard locally.

Local pols, take the reigns!

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Resident

Gianaris said that many small businesses are unlikely to survive the economic downturn unless immediate relief is provided.”

The artificial economic downturn was created by idiots De Bozo and Cuomo. The data does not support these businesses remaining closed.

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LIC Direct

Killer of jobs Gianaris. He who told Amazon you are not wanted here!!! Amazon could have been the anchor to bring thousands of direct and indirect jobs to the area, housing to LIC, Astoria and NYC, giving jobs to much needed communities and people in the area housing projects and throughout the neighborhood, spurring the development of the Sunnyside Yards and jobs, jobs, jobs. If anything he and Jimmy Van Bramer are responsible for the beginning of the downfall of NYC, aggravated by their support for Bail Reform, the closure of Riker’s which they support, the dumping of junkies, ex-con’s and parolees in local area hotels and now all exacerbated by COVID19 with a city which is totally broke by the mismanagement of Mayor Bill DiBlasio who spent every dime on worthless programs and consultants – no saving for rainy day fund – and now will lay off over 22,000 city workers from Sanitation, NYPD,, FDNY,, DEP,, DOT. You will see crumbling streets, pot holes, Garbage, depressed housing,, crime, shootings, bad NYC Public schools an empty city with the flight of the wealthy and those who can leave are leaving – it will only get worse.

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SunnysideDown

Small businesses are being decimated, and big businesses will benefit. If lots of these neighborhood-based businesses fail, imagine all the real estate available for the taking for big corporations and real estate investors hiding behind layers of paper LLC’s. For businesses much higher up in the economic food chain, COVID-19 is helping them clear the ground.

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Jerks in office cant be trusted

Funny because Amazon just announced they are looking to hire 33,000 people for average $150,000 yr salary across USA

That was going to be in our LIC backyard two years ago.
Thanks Gianaris and AOC

I dot get it, are these people FOR employment or AGAINST it??

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Resident

AOC is certainly not for employment: Her Green No Deal has nothing about the environment and is just socialististic fantasy, to whit, universal pay for those “unwilling” to work. Yes, it actually says “unwilling.”

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Resident

For recognizing that AOC is a pandering, whiny, grandstanding little girl far far out of her element?

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Why does the Radical Right want everything to be PC?

Could they say something to you that wouldn’t offend you so much?

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#wheresjimmy?

Oh gee
Anti small business anti police pro anarchy gianaris and van bramer showed up for a photo op !
Their pretending to care after praising rioters and looters is very amusing
Would never occur to them that at this point their concern is too little too late

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Big corporations always vote Democrat

yeah, whenever I think “big business” I think Democrats. All those Democratic CEOs.

The Trump Organization is a group of about 500 businesses soley owned by Trump. Plus he loves small business!

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#dumpdeblasio

Corporations are run by liberals who donate to the dnc and lib politicians
Most gop voters are working class
Facts matter except to people who watch mslsd or like Rachel maddow

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Can you imagine actually believing that?

Yeah most hedge fund managers are democrats 😂

If GOP voters are working class, they wouldn’t have voted for a celebrity billionaire that owns 9 golf courses

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wall street

yes…obama and hillary got supported big time by wall street in the last 2 elections…the dems are the darlings of wall street…

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