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Queens Small Business Owners Demand Federal Bailout, Rent Relief To Stop Further Closures


Business leaders and elected officials hold a press conference outside Little Chef Little Café, located at 5-43 48th Ave., on Nov. 13 (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post).

Nov. 17, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

About 80 attendees gathered outside a Long Island City restaurant Friday to bring attention to the hardship facing many small businesses.

Elected officials and a coalition of Queens business owners met outside Little Chef Little Café, located at 5-43 48th Ave., and called on the federal government and local leaders to help them get through the economic crisis and navigate stricter lockdown measures before they are forced to permanently close.

The business owners appealed to city, state and federal officials for financial relief and other assistance. Organizers used the hashtag “SAVE OUR SMALL BIZ” to highlight their cause and several supporters carried signs with “rent relief” written across them.

The event was organized by the Western Queens Small Business Council, small business owners and other local business advocates. State Senator Jessica Ramos, Assembly Member Ron Kim and Assembly members-elect Zohran Mamdani and Jessica González-Rojas were also present along with Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and Queens Borough President-elect Donovan Richards.

Organizers took particular aim at Washington and said that the New York Congressional delegation needs to come up with a proper recovery plan that would include a bailout package and rent relief for small businesses.

“Get out of all the federal stuff and come home and help us,” said Roseann McSorley, the owner of Katch Astoria, who led the event.

“This is a crisis…the businesses in this borough and every borough are going to fail, we aren’t going to survive,” McSorley said.

McSorley said that small businesses should be treated like airlines and other major corporations that have been given federal funds.

Several business owners described the struggles they are facing to stay out of the red with restricted indoor capacity and earlier closing times being of particular concern to restaurant and gym operators. They said that they have received little direction from the city and state with regard to the ever-changing regulations.

They appealed for clearer COVID-19 operating guidelines that are translatable and understandable.

That message was echoed by Ramos who said that Governor Andrew Cuomo has failed to help small businesses through the pandemic.

“The governor has been twiddling his thumbs for the past seven months, he’s done nothing,” Ramos said.

“You’re [Cuomo] driving our economy into the ground and it’s going to be so hard to dig ourselves out of this hole if you keep digging us in further and further,” she said.

“We need economic relief. If you need us to stay home, pay us to stay home.”

State Sen. Jessica Ramos speaking to the crowd on Nov. 13 (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

At the city level, Council Member Van Bramer said that there is legislation sitting in the city council that would provide immediate relief for small businesses.

Van Bramer said that there is now a greater urgency to pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act and the Commercial Rent Control Act– two bills that were introduced before the pandemic. He said both are being stymied by “big real estate.”

“The Real Estate Board of New York does not want relief for small business owners and they have put their money behind candidates that will shill for them,” Van Bramer said.

“We need to get big real estate out of the business here, out of the way of progress, because they don’t …[care] about working people,” he said.

Van Bramer said that the current economic system depends on the poverty of small business owners and their respective employees. “You don’t have people with hundreds of billions of dollars unless you have millions of people worth virtually nothing.”

REBNY took issue with Van Bramer’s comment and said it is an advocate for a new federal stimulus package that would help businesses get through the economic crisis.

“The fact is that REBNY does want to see relief for small businesses, regardless of any false claims to the contrary,” a spokesperson said.

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer speaking to the crowd on Nov. 13 (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post).

The event also served to highlight the struggles of the local arts community, which has been decimated by the economic downturn.

Rebecca Trent, the owner of The Creek and the Cave comedy club, fought back tears as she described how she was forced to close her business for good last week.

“[It] was the most heartbreaking thing that I have ever had to do,” she said.

Trent said that local artists are also in need of relief too because they are the “life-blood” of the city.

“How dare you governor Cuomo turn your back on these artists, they are the reason New York City exists,” Trent said.

Several supporters carried signs with “rent relief” written across them (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post).

Roseann McSorley, the owner of Katch Astoria speaking to the crowd on Nov. 13 (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post).

About 80 attendees gathered outside Little Chef Little Café, located at 5-43 48th Ave. Friday, Nov. 13 (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

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My sister lives in Astoria. The restaurants and bars including foid trucks are packed every weekend and weeknights. Just the fast food places are empty.

Free Free Free for you n me!!

biden harris sanders aoc comin in two months. its gonna be RAINING CA$H!!!!
day one, student loans GONE!
day two, free healthcare!
day three, bill the 1%
socialism is our BFF!!!

Trump redistributed taxpayer wealth to give everyone free money

That’s not socialism right? You returned your check right?

Otherwise you’re just a sad hypocrite…


Why isn’t that socialism? Capitalism is survival of the fittest. I bet many of these people are Trump supporters and will Biden a socialist. If you can’t make it someone else will take your place.

Gardens Watcher

Senator Ramos, you may be the ONLY one in the country who thinks Cuomo has been doing nothing but twiddling his thumbs for the past seven months.


Silly rabbit bailouts are for big corporations with powerful lobbyist not small businesses. Your business will be replaced by another one and that one will be replaced by another one. Its 2020 and you folks still haven’t figured out that politicians only care about money and power, not you.

Billionaire elites condo developers like Trump care about the little guy

Why would you say that? Other than jobs and the economy, his presidency has been great for the middle class.

Hunter Biden's laptop

The powers that be WANT small, indepedent businesses to fail so only the corporate bohemoths will be left standing. Covid was a godsend to the Establishment. Dumblazio and Gauleiter Cuomo are following orders.

What's wrong

The global developer of luxury condos for the wealthy is bad? You liberals hate the idea of businesses succeeding.


No. The relief comes from your Liberty. Take personal responsibility and open up. The role of .gov isn’t there to take care of you from cradle to grave. It’s there to protect your Liberty and Cuomo and deblasio has done a poor job at that! Who owns your biz if the govt shuts it down? These are steps to communism.
Covid is a 99% survival rate.

Poorly educated followers misinform others

Libertas – Liberty is a very broad term that you’re using out of context.

You're making us all sick

Agreed, local gov did a great job lowering the infection rate.

You aren’t just affecting yourself though, you’re putting the lives of everyone at risk. When you learn what “herd immunity” is in your science book you’ll be really surprised!


since free money is being thrown away, i’d like to get some too. thank goodness it grows on trees.


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