With California allowing retail stores to reopen and some New York City shops saying they’ll reopen with or without permission, the pressure is mounting on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow small businesses to open their doors.
Peter Madonia, the owner of Madoina Brothers Bakery on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, showed in detail the toll the COVID-19 lockdown has had on small businesses and restaurants in New York City.
“Starting with the pizzeria on the corner, restaurant one, restaurant two, restaurant three, restaurant four, restaurant five, restaurant six, cafe seven, restaurant eight, less than half a block closed,” Madonia showed CBS2’s Marcia Kramer on Tuesday.
The area is a microcosm of what’s happened all over the five boroughs, and with the city estimated to have lost 300,000 small business jobs last month, Madonia said it’s important for the governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio to move quickly to restart the economy.
“If you start losing neighborhoods like this, yes, you will lose the soul of New York City. And not having the restaurants, it’s part of what people do when they come visit New York,” Madonia said.
The governor has only taken baby steps in allowing businesses to reopen, in part, sources say, because he’s afraid of a surge in infections. But 10 days ago he allowed car dealerships to reopen by appointment.
Cuomo rang the bell at the Stock Exchange on Tuesday as its floor reopened, but his remarks about the economy coming back provided little comfort to the thousands of small business owners here who fear extinction.
“I think there will be winners and losers in this new economy. I think the top of the economy will be fine. They always are. It always works out for them,” Cuomo said.
"We’ve lost thousands of small businesses that are just not going to reopen their doors, so you’re going to see pain in this new economy,” Cuomo said.
Madonia said that sounded like a pretty cavalier attitude, adding he’s worried about people not making it.
“I’m terribly worried about that. I don’t know how we could not be. People cannot sustain forever, either taking money out of their pocket or without revenues,” Madonia said.
All of this comes as a coalition of 300 small business owners have said they plan to reopen Wednesday.