Governor Cuomo: Stores Must Remain Shut Small Business Owners: Unfair Rules Forcing Us to Open

Governor Cuomo: Stores Must Remain Shut Small Business Owners: Unfair Rules Forcing Us to Open

Today, after months of shuttered stores, a coalition of small businesses in Borough Park re-opened in defiance of Governor Cuomo’s executive order which had forced them to close.

The Governor’s executive order issued on March 18 allowed for only essential stores such as groceries and pharmacies to remain open to customers. Coming at the height of the busy season pre-Pesach for many local small businesses, this caused economic havoc on the business owners who rely on the income from this season to support them through the quiet summer season. 

In a viral video, Mrs. Simcha Minkowitz, the owner of Amore Jewlery on 13th Avenue, said that this executive order allowed for big-box chain stores to remain open and continue selling non-essential items creating a clear dichotomy in the way that businesses are allowed to operate in New York State. Mrs. Minkowitz said in an interview that, “Our businesses are being held hostage and the main point is that we can open and we can open safely. We will ask to wear gloves, and we will ask everyone to wear masks.” Emphasizing the safety precautions that she and others are ready and willing to make, Mrs. Minkowitz questioned the Governor’s decision making in forcing small business to remain shut.

Mr. Mendy Werdyger said that “Since the executive order closing non-essential businesses, of course Mostly Music was closed and hurting, hurting very much. When children are home and not in Cheder, what is more important to keep kids busy than music and educational videos?”

Mr. Nachum Sanders who owns Sander’s hats on 14th Avenue did however commend the government saying that, they requested from all the banks and credit cards that they hold on the payments.” But Mr. Sanders pointed out that, “the government forget to hold on payments of water bills and real estate taxes which is much higher.”

The owner of Shoe Place on 13th Avenue emphasized that the pre-Pesach and pre-Summer seasons represent more than half of the gross receipts from the whole year. As the government has allowed big box stores like Walmart and Target to remain open selling items like toys, appliances, and other non-essential items, which drives the nail further into the coffin of the customer base of small businesses - something that they may never recover from. 

Galit Winer, owner of Kidi Chic a six-location chain of children's stores, says that, "Safety is our priority. We understand the severity of the virus...We watch how big-box stores are open for business - selling essential and non-essential items...We are being crushed by the financial impact of this virus as these big-box stores are reaping greater profits than ever before."

Over the last few days as Governor Cuomo has begun allowing gatherings of up to ten people for any purpose, he still will not let small businesses operate. Despite the fact that the number of people in a store would be very low allowing for proper social distancing and cleaning, he continues his reign of terror on the finances of small businesses forcing them to remain shut.


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