Small Businesses in NYC Are Reopening Illegally Despite Statewide Order

Protests demanding that states and cities reopen continue around the country.  Some small business owners in New York City defied statewide orders to remain closed.

Over Memorial Day weekend, some non-essential New York City small businesses reopened. Small business owners are frustrated with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and local officials. They claim that the city and state are keeping small businesses closed even though businesses are reopening in other parts of the country.

Small business owners in New York City have lost millions of dollars during the coronavirus shutdown. Many owners fear they will not be able to overcome the financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Other owners have secretly remained opened in defiance of state and local laws.

Groups of small business owners have stated they will begin to reopen regardless of the orders to remain closed. Some people understand the frustration felt by small business owners. Yet, many people fear reopening too soon will result in another outbreak of the deadly virus.

New York is Reopening But NYC Remains Closed

Some of the frustration stems from the fact that all regions within New York are in Phase 1 of the reopening plan except for New York City. The plan calls for all non-essential businesses throughout the state to reopen in phases. The eligibility for reopening in various regions depends on the health metrics for that region.

As of May 28, 2020, New York City had not met the metrics to reopen and remain on PAUSE.

Help for Small Businesses in NYC Affected by COVID-19

New York is working to help small business owners affected by the coronavirus. Owners can take advantage of daily webinars designed to educate business owners about resources that can help. Webinar topics include, but are not limited to information about:

  • Financial help;
  • Marketing support;
  • Regulatory changes;
  • Employee support; and,
  • Leases, insurance, and taxes.

Mayor de Blasio signed several pieces of legislation into law designed to help NYC businesses that are struggling because of COVID-19. The laws provide additional assistance to restaurants and commercial establishments throughout the city. Additionally, the laws protect commercial tenants from personal liability and harassment.

New York recently announced the New York Forward Loan Fund designed to help small businesses and non-profits as they reopen. The low-interest loans can be used to help pay for reopening costs, inventory, marketing, property taxes, rent, utilities, working capital, and other costs.

Other loans and assistance that may be available to small businesses in NYC that are beginning to reopen include:

  • Paycheck Protection Program
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance
  • Express Bridge Loans

In addition to federal and state efforts to help small businesses reopen, many private lenders are offering special loans with low-interest rates and favorable terms. The loans can help small business owners as they work to comply with reopening restrictions and procedures and pay employees to return to work in anticipation of reopening soon.

New York Continues to Work to Protect Businesses and Citizens

Because the COVID-19 outbreak continues and the spread of the coronavirus is still a threat to New York and New York City, state and local government officials continue to enforce strict rules and guidelines aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Recently, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order authorizing businesses to deny entry to anyone not wearing a face covering or mask. All New Yorkers are under an Executive Order to wear face coverings or masks in public.

Testing for COVID-19 is free for all eligible New Yorkers. The New York State contract Tracing Program is working to slow the spread of COVID-19 so that it is safer to begin to return to normal routines again.

Individuals are encouraged to continue following the CDC guidelines for coronavirus prevention. People are advised to continue social distancing, hand washing, and to stay at home if they are sick or exposed to the virus.

Reopening can be very tricky. The city has been shut down for a lengthy period. As the city reopens, the number of car accidents and personal injuries may increase to pre-COVID-19 levels.

With the increase in accidental injuries, more people may need hospitalization and medical treatment. The need for safe medical treatment after an accident could be an issue if the city reopens too soon and the number of new COVID-19 cases begins to increase.

The need to follow a structured reopening plan impacts all areas of life for New Yorkers. Even though it is frustrating for business owners and residents, reopening a city as large and crowded as New York City is a huge undertaking. Opening the city safely may require additional patience and cooperation from everyone.

Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C.
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New York, NY 10007
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