Mayor Bill de Blasio stressed that the city’s business had to be shut down because the coronavirus outbreak was fine and would be able to remain closed for months to come – despite new reports that found that the Big Apple private sector had lost one in four jobs.
“I’ve talked with lots and lots of business leaders, especially the smallest business. “They are very worried about their future, but they also survive and they know it can be a matter of months until they will return to action,” de Blasio told WNYC on Friday.
A caller named Cassius from Brooklyn urged Hizzoner to “take a more surgical approach” to the city’s COVID-19 response by finding ways to protect the elderly and health care workers while allowing businesses to reopen.
“Basically we are on the brink of destroying an entire city,” Cassius said.
“I cannot disagree with that core analysis,” de Blasio answered.
“Rushing back consistently has been proven to have a boomerang effect and makes things worse and causes greater shutdown because it’s not just about a small number of people who are very vulnerable,” de Blasio said.
He dismissed fears of “doomsday” callers, although a new analysis of the country’s Labor Department data by an independent nonprofit the Royal Center found the city lost 24.5% of private sector jobs during the crisis.
City Councilor Mark Gjonaj criticized the mayor’s statement.
“Of all the things that come out of his mouth, this is the most outrageous. He lives in the land of de Blasio. That’s the furthest thing from the truth, “said Democrat Bronx, who chairs the council’s small business committee.
“He has nothing to do with reality and all he has to do is walk down the commercial corridor to understand what is happening to our small business,” Gjonaj said.
“He set the city for failure. He will leave the City Hall in worse conditions experienced by the city since World War II and the Great Depression, “he said.
“That would also explain why he only allocated $ 49 million in loans and grants, which is a fraction of what these small businesses actually need,” Gjonaj said of de Blasio’s limited aid program for moms and city pop shops.
The National Restaurant Association estimates that 11 percent of the 25,000 restaurants in New York will be permanently closed by the end of May, according to Eater.com. Iconic Big Apple restaurants such as the Irish Coogan pub in Washington Heights and the Gem Spa egg cream spot in the East Village have closed their doors forever.
E.J. The McMahon Empire Center said the city had taken an unmatched fiscal blow.
“For holidays and hospitality, including restaurants and hotels, this decline is equivalent to a virtual apocalypse – a 68 percent job loss,” he said.
“There is great concern that much of this work is lost,” McMahon added, referring mainly to the restaurant and retail sectors whose business models are based on volume. “A slow reopening will not help the restaurant sector,” he said.