Long Island Main Street News March 19th, 2020

Here is the LI Main Street News update for Day 4 of the Coronavirus shutdown.
This update is a roundup of activity, downtown reports, resources and links.

presented by Vision Long Island and the Long Island Main Street Alliance


March 19th, 2020


“I’m as afraid of the fear and the panic as I am of the virus and I think that the fear is more contagious than the virus right now,” Cuomo said on CNN’s New Day. “I am not going to imprison anyone in the State of New York,” Cuomo said. “I am not going to do martial law in state of New York. That’s not going it happen.” – NYS G

A message from Vision Long Island and
the Long Island Main Street Alliance…

Helping Main Street
Through Coronavirus

Day 4 of shutdown – Thursday March 19, 2020

A whirlwind of community activity, lots of conflicting information and folks looking for answers to many questions they have about their present situation and of course deep anxieties about the future.  

Here are some updates as we learn them:

Details are emerging on the prospect of applying for SBA Loans: Not for profits are also eligible for these disaster loans. NYS applied for disaster declaration earlier this week and and the Federal government just approved them so the portal should be open to apply.

The Office of Congresswoman Kathleen Rice, Small Business Development Center in Farmingdale, Nassau County IDA, Suffolk County IDA, the Town of Babylon IDA, and Town of Brookhaven IDA have also all issued memorandums with tip sheets that help guide people through the Federal process.

In short, folks should get their paperwork together and apply for these loans if it makes sense for your business or non-profit.

No word yet on any grants available like the limited ones other cities have put in place.
  • Senators Schumer, Gillibrand and our Congressional representatives passed, and President Trump signed, another Coranavirus Bill that will provide $6 billion.  Of that there is $100 million dedicated to Long Island specifically with other benefits in the bill that will reach our region.
  • Private and public mobile testing units are up in Jericho, Little Neck Queens, Jones Beach and Stony Brook so if folks are feeling symptoms they should get tested. 
  • Village elections have been postponed until April 28th and all sitting Mayors and Board of trustees members are legally continuing in office until then.
  • Randi Dresner at Island Harvest is working with the food pantry network in communities across Long Island that is 500 locations strong to ensure steady food delivery.   They need resources to keep going as well.
  • Charles Roberts from the Salvation Army Nassau desperately needs food for their pantry given a radical uptick in requests.  Drop offs can occur between 10-3 at 66 Atlantic Ave Hempstead.
  • No clarity yet on substantive corporate philanthropy emerging to help residents and business owners through this crisis.   It seems most private assistance is still on the community and local level – neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, employer to staff etc.  
  • Jaci Clement from Fair Media Council has developed a podcast to help folks decipher the overwhelming amount of news that is coming forward.

Communities are banding together in ways we have not seen since Sandy which is beyond heartening. 

There is still a dearth of real community level information and tons of questions from folks.   We need you out there to tell is what is happening and what resources are available.   No matter what please join the LI Main Street Alliance by emailing us at ea@visionlongisland.org or call 631-804-9128.  

RECENT NEWS AND LINKS:

Governor Cuomo and the legislature approved sick leave for employees under precautionary or mandatory quarantine due to COVID-19. The provisions of the quarantine legislation are set to take effect immediately upon passage, ensuring that New York workers will be able to take advantage of these benefits.

To address the immediate need of employees affected by COVID-19 who are subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the department of health, local board of health, or any governmental entity duly authorized to issue such order, the Governor’s legislation will provide the following based on employee numbers as of January 1, 2020:

Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million will provide unpaid leave and job protection for the duration of the quarantine order and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.

Employers with 11-99 employees and employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave, job protection for the duration of the quarantine order, and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.

Employers with 100 or more employees, as well as all public employers (regardless of number of employees), will provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave and guarantee job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.

NYS has developed a Shared Work program for folks to apply for partial unemployment to supplement a reduced work schedule.

There is now a 90 day waiver on mortgage payments which is a relief to the thousands of Long Islanders that had those bills hanging over their head during an extended forced shutdown.

US Representative Kathleen Rice has Released Preliminary Guidelines for SBA Disaster Loans

Northwell Health Delays Payments for Patients Financially Impacted by COVID-19 Impact

Mobile testing for COVID-19 is available in Suffolk County by appointment only.
Call 1-888-364-3065

Pro Health offers testing in Great Neck and Jericho

NYS has ordered all bars, restaurants to be closed but can sell takeout (even alcohol).   Gyms, theatres are closed as well and no gatherings of over 50 people.  Government will waive park fees and reduce their workforce by 50% minimum with non essential staff ordered to stay home.

All police and emergency medical services will be supplied with masks and drive thru testing will commence in Long Island and Staten Island.

NYS will suspend Department of Health regulations to increase hospital capacity and may soon cancel all elective surgery.

Here is a story in Newsday by James Madore that spotlights this issue and good to see local business owner John Murray from Kilwins in Bayshore and Patchogue and the Hero Joint interviewed about his experiences. Vision is also quoted.

Hotels and Tourism comes to a halt

New Rules for Nursing Homes

Buses, Trains Stay Extra Clean

PSEG Long Island Halts Service Shut Offs

National Grid Halts Service Shut Offs

Verizon Suspends Collection Activities

New York to Halt All Evictions

US to Advance Funds for Paid Sick Leave

Men on the Move Offers Free Storage for College Students

Huntington NOW Op-Ed Supporting Local Businesses

How to Clean the Germs on your phone

EPA Guidelines on Disinfectants to use combatting Coronavirus

Etiquette when Shopping

How to talk to children about the Coronavirus

CDC Policy on Mass Gatherings

Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce Local Business Resource

Every Restaurant on Long Island Offering Take Out and Delivery

Tips for Small Businesses trying to Survive Coronavirus Shutdown

Half of the New York Workforce Needs to Stay Home

Food Pantries, Soup Kitchens Assist

IMPORTANT WEBSITES TO TRACK:

Northwell Health Digital Resource Center

NYS Department of Health

CDC Website

Occupational Safety and Health

New York City

Nassau County

Suffolk County

Town of Hempstead

Town of North Hempstead

Town of Oyster Bay

Town of Babylon

Town of Brookhaven

Town of East Hampton

Town of Huntington

Town of Islip

Town of Riverhead

Town of Shelter Island

Town of Smithtown

Town of Southampton

Town of Southold

City of Glen Cove

City of Long Beach

MTA Information

School Closings

AARP’s Updates on the Coronavirus

Global Dashboard of Infection Data

Coronavirus & Our Local Communities

Helping our Main Streets through this
Public Health & Economic Crisis

Day 1 of shutdown – Monday, March 16th, 2020

We have been getting many calls these last two weeks and talking to a number of small businesses in our downtowns.   Simply put the real experiences folks are going through range from not great to potentially life altering.

So the world has changed radically in the last two months. At our LI Main Street Alliance meeting in late January there were updates from 20 communities that were experiencing or looking forward to investments in their downtowns and many more revitalization plans on the way. The local businesses were functioning well even through the winter which is always a tough time for any business.

With the advent of Coronavirus we have seen and are hearing a 40-50% reduction in most restaurants, bars and local services. The grocery store and pharmacies may be mobbed but the independent small businesses you love may not be there or radically restructured in the coming months.

We recognize that the major focus of our national media coverage has been – correctly – the health impacts of the virus and things we can do to limit its spread. Where it has veered into economics it’s been a discussion of the stock market on Wall Street.

What hasn’t been covered much is the economic impact to real people on Main Street of the shut down efforts to date and those that are upcoming.

It is really simple the bulk of our economy is centered around residents and business owners spending money and the supply chains that follow. If folks aren’t out downtowns have trouble functioning.

Tonight at 8pm the first wave of quarantine efforts will commence which will shut down restaurants, bars, gyms and movie theatres and limit gatherings of more than 50 people. 

We will be getting into more details in the coming days on ways that Main Street businesses can survive this crisis and what you can do to help them before any further governmentally imposed quarantine is put in place.

What folks can be doing to help their Main Street right now before large scale quarantine’s are in place is to:

1)  Regularly select take out or delivery services to independent small businesses.   Where possible order services or products from their websites in the absence of showing up at their door. 
  
2) Purchase gift certificates from your local stores or restaurants in order to get them desperately needed cash given the pending shut down of day to day activities.

3) Lobby for the Federal government to fast track SBA loans without red tape.  If this requires partnering with local government, who know these communities better, to help administer them make it happen.  Loans of up to $2 million  are available but need to be implemented quickly.

4) Lobby to create small grants and other resources for our local Main Street businesses.  A Small Business Stabilization Fund, like the one created in Seattle as part of their Coronavirus response, provides grants of $10,000 and is a helpful stopgap measure to keep smaller operations running.     The Federal or NYS government should put an aid package together that will help keep the lights on for medium scale local businesses, those that might not be small enough for a grant but may not qualify for an SBA loan.   

5) Lobby to pass the NYS Small Business Savings Accounts legislation that has stalled in Albany for the last five years.   If that was passed five years ago local businesses now under a State of Emergency could access those tax free accounts that are in the form of an IRA to make payroll and operational costs through this difficult time.   The entire idea, sadly ahead of its time, was to have these stores access capital in times of emergency or recession. 

In the coming weeks Vision and the Long Island Main Street Alliance and our local partners will be working to ensure that the impact to our local downtowns is minimized and resources come forward to help local businesses and communities through this crisis. 

Seven and a half years ago we worked successfully with our friends on the South Shore as their lives were turned upside down through Sandy.   We will work now to ensure that the same concerns from last time – lack of consistent information, glacially slow public response/support from government programs and lack of private resources moving directly to real impacted people is not repeated.   There are good, professional staff within government and volunteers outside government in the private sector looking to assist.

We will get through this but it will require our collective support from the community level on up.   Please contact us to join the LI Main Street Alliance and tell us if you are willing to help at ea@visionlongisland.org

Day 3 of shutdown – Wednesday March 17, 2020

The last month of the Coronavirus public health and  economic crisis and resulting shutdowns of the last few days have been devastating to Main Street businesses, workers, associated industries and varying supply chains. 

We have communicated with over 120 independent small business and have heard their experiences as they were down on average 40-50% before the shutdown this week.   Of the business that are still open many are now over 80% down.  Some small businesses are temporarily closed and some considering permanent closure.   Unconfirmed projections of tens of thousands have been laid off this week due to the forced closures.   The March unemployment report will start to tell the story of the folks seeking fast tracked unemployment insurance.

Here are a few brief notes on what is going on around the island in response to the shutdown:

  • Companies are now required to have half of their staff work from home and there has been discussion in NYC about a set of “Shelter at Home” regulations.   Despite various rumors, as of this moment no “Shelter at Home’ order or forced quarantine has been put in place.
  • New York State has submitted its application to the Federal Government for emergency disaster assistance and declaration.  Once that is approved the SBA loans application process will open.   Small business should get their information together outlining their economic hardship, particularly compared to this time last year.  
  • There are also discussions about different types of grant programs available to small businesses, but nothing structured as of yet.
  • Both County governments have included local Chambers in their small business survival committees and operations that can assist moving forward.  Both of our County Executives have led the charge on the public health front communicating along with the public daily and mobilizing their staffs to assist residents.
  • Villages and Towns are managing their Main Streets and communities while fielding resident’s calls.  On the front lines they are coordinating with different levels of government including their local emergency services and school districts while pulling in resources.
  • Chambers of Commerce are working to get resources to their members and seeking to communicate with loans and aid packages that should be moving forward.   They have been incredibly helpful communicating the status of open businesses and promoting the services that do exist.
  • Long Island’s local religious and community based food pantries are stepping up to help through Island Harvest, the Interfaith Nutrition Network, Salvation Army and many others.   A slew of local food drives are underway across Long Island to refill and restock supplies.
  • There has been some corporate philanthropy emerging but nothing of the scale that is needed to date.   Like in the response to Superstorm Sandy Long Island communities, neighborhoods, families, friends and relatives are banding together to assist each other.

The very good news is that larger government entities that had been battling in a polarized fashion for years now have been working together in a bipartisan manner to bring resources from Washington.   NYS has also mobilized to put multiple testing sites in Jones Beach, Stony Brook with more to come. 

The other bit of good news is that the media is now starting to focus on the impacts to our downtowns, local businesses and workforce in addition to public health needs and the status of Wall Street.  This is happening because local businesses are stepping up to tell their story as our the many folks who patronize these establishment.  The “Shop Local” spirit that has been emerging for many years is rallying at this point.

The more we can get information out from local communities to the broader public and to policy makers of the real needs, resources and the experiences of residents and local businesses the better the wide ranging governmental decisions will be.

Residents and business owners are overwhelmed during this time but Vision and the members of the LI Main Street Alliance are looking to keep you updated with links, resources and real people to assist in pulling together through this unprecedented crisis.  

You can help by patronizing small businesses by takeout, delivery  or gift certificates.  You can also help many in need by donating to a local food pantry.  You can also ask larger national and regional companies that do business on Long Island what their commitment is to corporate philanthropy during this time of need. 

We need you out there to tell is what is happening and what resources are available to folks.   No matter what please join the LI Main Street Alliance by emailing us at ea@visionlongisland.org.  

Stay healthy, safe and while we can be physically distant let’s keep our communities and Main Streets together!

icon Like us on Facebook

icon Follow us on Twitter

icon Watch us on YouTube

Join us on LinkedIn icon

View us on Instagram 

Visit our website icon

Reports from Local Downtowns

At this time of uncertainty, we are beginning to see a number of downtowns being shuttered as bars, restaurants, and any place where multiple people congregate are running up against fears of and caution at spreading the Coronavirus.  While this is a socially responsible action that will help to save lives, in the short term these actions are having a number of adverse effects on our local communities.

Vision Long Island has collected a number of experiences from local restaurants and service businesses, but before we go into that we would like to encourage everyone reading this to find a way to responsibly patronize local establishments.  Many stores are offering curbside pickup or online shopping to help them get through this difficult time.  And your favorite restaurants are also currently open for business with takeout available.  We also urge you to consider gift cards in order to purchase something at a later date for yourself, or perhaps to give as a present.

Local shops are in a capable position to provide you with what you need in the short-term.  Many will also be willing to accommodate you if you contact them ahead of time with requests that will minimize contact and help to lower the spread of this virus.

Vision has now spoken directly to over 120 independent Main Street businesses in over 20 communities through the Coronavirus economic crisis.  The message is dire but owners are looking to move forward as best they can.  Thanks to all the folks who shared their experiences and again happy to see folks work through this.

In the meantime, here is a selection of updates from Long Island downtowns, more to follow…

Franklin Square and Elmont

This past Tuesday was supposed to see an influx of business for local restaurants and bars in Franklin Square and Elmont.  Instead, there has been mostly silence in the wake of Governor Cuomo’s order to for bars and restaurants to switch to takeout and delivery instead of dine-in establishments.  This turn of events has left local owners worried during what should be one of their busiest times of year.

“It might shut down my restaurant,” said Ann Angelino, owner of Murph’s Restaurant in Franklin Square.  Ms. Angelino recently invested $10,000 into her business in preparation of St. Patrick’s Day and is afraid that she will be unable to recoup the cost with the ongoing shutdown order.  Additionally, she is unable to apply to unemployment insurance as the owner of her own business.

This is a problem being seen across the region as owner after owner faces plummeting sales and patronage as local residents stay home for fear of spreading the Coronavirus.   This has left local chambers scrambling as they look to help out their businesses.

“In the next week or two, everyone’s really going to be hurting,” said Elmont Chamber of Commerce President Paul Sapienza, who also owns Sapienza Bake Shop in downtown Elmont. “If they don’t have any money, they’ll have to close up.”

Mr. Sapienza stated that some businesses might be able to take out loans or use money in reserve, but that the shutdown could still lead to a large number of employees being laid off.  Part-time employees will probably be the first, a majority of whom are students or people looking for extra disposable income, but the longer this crisis drags on the more difficult it will be for local business to pay even a skeleton staff.

That is the primary concern of Mario Testani, owner of Filomena’s Restaurant, who feels as though he has enough money to weather the crisis, but is concerned for his employees.  He is trying to figure out the best way to remain open and still paying them while also being conscientious of the safety of others.

But on top of that, the main concern is how businesses will be paying their ongoing expenses.  “I’ll have to pay my landlord no matter what,” said Anthony Capogna, owner of Olivetto Pizzaria and Ristorante, which is still open for takeout.  But the future is suddenly very uncertain for him and a lot of local business on Long Island.

You can read more about Franklin Square and Elmont at the Long Island Herald.

Rockville Centre

Rockville Centre businesses have also been experiencing losses during this time as owners work to figure out how to move forward at this time.

The message coming from local restaurants has been one of shrinking business coupled with cutting staff to help deal with nosediving revenue.  While a switch to takeout might be enough to keep restaurants afloat, it’s not enough for workers who rely on these businesses.

Many hourly workers depend on their paycheck, so that’s disconcerting,” said George Korten, owner of George Martin restaurants in Rockville Centre. “We need some relief from the federal or state government [because] you have a lot of people worried financially, as well as health-wise.”  But even so, Mr. Korten also noted that “the safety of our guests is our primary concern, so the shutdown is a very smart move. That’s the only way to flat-line the curve.”

Even so, businesses are suffering.  Tommy Masvroudis, who owns Pantry Diner, said that even with takeout being offered his diner would need to significantly cut back on staff.  While he would have liked to have retained hem for when business came back, he felt it was more responsible to put them in a position where they could file for unemployment.

It’s not just restaurants though as Rockville Centre’s The Little Gym, which caters children and is owned by married couple Alu Murphy and Miguel Madera, has had to close its doors for the time being and is scrambling to make up the revenue.  “It’s definitely nerve-racking,” said Ms. Murphy. “We rely on people to come in for classes. I’m hoping the government will assist us, because if people can’t come in, it will affect our business. For now we’re just doing everything we can to keep our business going.”

Sportset Health and Fitness Club, another local gym, is hoping to retain members by offering virtual classes.  Owner Dennison Silvio talked about how he had hoped it wouldn’t come to a shutdown and had been investing into extra leaning staff and sterilization methods to help keeps customers safe.  “I was really hoping,” said Mr. Silvio, “even if we would lose money, that we’d be able to stay open and be an outlet to the community. I was planning to operate [with] a skeleton crew. Now we’re forced to close, and it’s tricky, because I’m not sure how long it will be.”

Meanwhile, the local Chamber of Commerce, headed by President Brian Courtier, has been working to reach out to local businesses in the downtown to help promote takeout and delivery options.  The Chamber has been working with Village Hall to try and get some sort of relief by offering free parking for the duration of the shutdown.  He is also encouraging residents to buy gift cards from local businesses.  Even with the shutdown he noted that people still need purchases for things like birthdays, anniversaries, and births, and gift cards offer a way to help local businesses while providing for those occasions.

You can read more about Rockville Centre’s efforts at the Long Island Herald.

Greenport

Greenport businesses are getting ready for the impact of the Coronavirus shutdown as life on the buys Main Street has drawn to a halt.  Like the rest of Long Island, the Village has seen a severe drop in patronage as resident avoid public places and big crowds.

“Town is very quiet,” said Scott Raulsome, who owns Burton’s Bookstore.  “We haven’t had more than two customers in the store at the same time.”

Mr. Raulsome said that he is hoping that isolated people will take advantage of his bookstore for entertainment, noting that he is capable of shipping, local delivery, or other transactions that aren’t in-person.  In the meantime he is simply sanitizing everything and keeping his store as clean as possible for the limited amount of customers who still come in.

For other businesses, March is going from a month normally reliant on regular customers to one with almost not business whatsoever.  “We came into March knowing already it would be a down month and now you put this on top of it. We’re playing it by ear,” said Nancy Kouris of the Blue Duck Bakery.  The Bakery is normally reliant on regular customers, but a majority of those are elderly resident who are avoiding downtowns due to public health concerns.

Other businesses have assessed the risk and decided simply to close shop for the time being.  The Weathered Barn, which is owned by Rena Casey-Wilhelm and her husband Jason decided it was in their personal best interest to temporarily shutter the shop.  The two of them suffered from compromised immune systems and didn’t wish to risk their health or their elderly parent’s.

“The economic impact, certainly in the short-term, is severe,” said Southold Supervisor Scott Russell. “Impacts on the financial health of businesses in the long-term is difficult to predict.”

Local businesses are hoping that loans from the SBA can help get them through without having to dip too much into earning from the previous summer.  Owners seem anxious but optimistic that this will pass and life can return to normal before too long.  In the meantime, they are urging solidarity among residents and business owners.

“We are all in this together and this virus affects each and every one of us in so many ways health-wise as well as our local economy,” said Ms. Casey-Wilhelm.  “We feel confident we will all come out A-OK on the other side.”

You can read more at the Suffolk Times.

Farmingdale

Closing night in downtown Farmingdale night one saw typical Monday night customers ordering a last meal from their favorite restaurants.

Vision visited two places that continued to do takeout.  Arsalan Pourmand, owner of Flux Coffee, had removed all his seating to focus on packaged roasted coffee to go and takeout orders.

We also stopped in to Taste of Asian Fusion who was also open with takeout and delivery service available. Chiddy’s Cheesesteaks, Cara Cara and Tiny Thai, Hogh Tide Taco were also open for takeout along with others.

Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand​​ and Village Trustees were holding a Board meeting as well, but have been in touch and helping the local businesses any way they can through this difficult time. They are lobbying for grants and loans to bridge the economic gap towards when recovery begins to occur.

In the meantime, folks can frequent the restaurants that have takeout and delivery service downtown. Folks can also order gift certificates from their favorite restaurants and shops as well.

Farmingdale has also released a list of local businesses that are still open and what services they are offering to customers, which you can access here or view below.

Hicksville

Night 2 of the Coronavirus economic crisis brought Vision Long Island out to downtown Hicksville.  Armed with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, we were happy to see a number of restaurants providing take out to customers.

Some of the restaurants visited or observed open included: Punto Rojo Colombian; Fuel Your Body Café; Jalea Peruvian Cuisine; Peppercorns; New Hot Breads; Benghali Sweet Shop; Crown Chicken Grill; Kandahar Grill; Lemon Leaf Grill; Biryani House; Gyro Stop; Dosa World; Kebab House; Texas Chicken & Ribs; Choopan Grill; Sakana Japanese; Bakhatar Halal Kabab; Khabul Tea House; Trullo Doro; Mulberry Street; Masala Wok.

Vision also stopped in to see Tony at Food Universe, who is doing brisk business.

All of the restaurants we talked to were down 20-50% of normal business before Monday.  The shift to takeout only has caused those numbers to drop even further.  The main concern most folks had was the coming weekend, which is where 50% or more of their business is secured.  Takeout only on a Saturday night is far different than a full dining room.

Huntington

Downtown Huntington has also begun to see the effects of the shutdown as the order to close restaurants and theaters went into effect this past Monday.  It was strange to see a normally bustling downtown dark and quiet come 8 pm as local businesses complied.

Restaurants are still offering curbside service and takeout, which is allowed under the order, but the Paramount as well as the local AMC theater were all closed.  Some restaurants opted close completely, going dark and shuttering their businesses after 8.

Staples such as Little Vincent’s and Skorpios stood ready to serve customers with takeout orders, but the owners acknowledged that the loss of business will hurt them.  Meanwhile Besito’s, which is a popular hot spot, stood closed.

One of Huntington’s newest businesses, the Main Street Board Game Café, is in a peculiar position thanks to the order.  The café side has to be closed at 8 but the retail portion of the store can remain open in order to sell board games.  This has led him to having to lay off workers since he no longer has enough work for them.  It’s also unclear if retail will eventually meet with a similar order to close early.

You can read more at Huntington Now.

Valley Stream

This Tuesday was supposed to be a big day for local bars and restaurants as St. Patrick’s Day is usually one of the busier days of the year.  But with Governor Cuomo’s executive order in full effect, it was a rather stark one for Valley Stream businesses beginning to get hit by the Coronavirus shutdown.

This mood was felt at numerous local establishments, including Buckley’s Restaurant and Bar, a 51-year-old establishment in downtown Valley Stream that had been reduced to a takeout service.  Even with a temporary change in the state’s liquor laws to allow off-site sale of alcohol, the business was expecting a big dent in normal patronage.

“No one wants to close down, but it’s the right thing to do,” said Buckley’s bartender Kenny Collins said. “You don’t want people to get sick, so you do what you have to do.”

Another local establishment, Mitchell’s Restaurant, has already had to send home workers as business has declined and is currently working out a plan to be able to switch full time to takeout and delivery service.  While owners and managers recognize the need for these sudden shifts, there is still much anxiety over how to do so and what the long term effects will be.

Local coffee shop Sip This has moved quickly, already shifting to takeout only as of Sunday, which was before the Governor’s order.  “We made the switch for our workers and customers,” manager David Notarbartolo said. “We wanted to make sure we were being as safe as possible.”

But Mr. Notarbartolo also noted that his business had already been seeing a sharp downtick in business as customers began avoiding the crowded places in recent weeks.  It was already putting his establishment in a place where they needed to cut back on staffing hours.  Fortunately for him a number of his staff are high school or college students who were looking for a little bit of extra cash, but there are a number of workers who rely on this as their primary source of income, and those are the ones who businesses are prioritizing at the moment.

You can read more at the Long Island Herald.

Kings Park

The quiet hamlet of Kings Park has been making slow but steady strides towards revitalizing its aging downtown. With business, community and government working together, the prospects for positive growth has become a reality. The current restrictions associated with combatting the Coronavirus threatens to derail this progress. Like every local Main Street, the businesses, especially restaurants, are struggling to survive.

Anthony Tanzi, President of the Kings Park Chamber of Commerce, predicts “Main Street and small business will weather this storm!  However, it’s going to take a commitment from our local communities to help them though if we want them there when it’s over.” Kevin Denis, owner of Professor’s Café agrees, “We’ve been taking care of the community for 33 years, we hope the community will be there for us.” Denis explains, “It’s hard to know what the right thing to do is, close for a few weeks or stay open. We are doing everything we can to hang in there and survive.” Michael Grimaudo, owner of Gino’s Kings Park concurs, businesses are hurting, but we are working to stay positive.

The Town of Smithtown government understands the immediate challenges of balancing personal health and economic health of communities. “This pandemic has hit our Main Street businesses in a way that has many of them wondering how they will survive. Many are coming up with ways of conducting business without compromising the public. Bakeries are making DIY cookie kits to take home, restaurants are amping up takeout, realtors are filming available homes… they’re each finding their own recipe to make lemonade. And while the public must remain vigilant in social distancing, we can all find a way to safely support our local shops, be it sharing their social media posts or making a donation to those forced to close… the way through this is together,” Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

Here is sampling of Kings Park restaurants making it work:

Café Red is open from 12 pm to 8 pm for order and pickup.
107 Main Street, Kings Park, Phone (631) 544-4500.

Ciro’s Kings Park is open from 2 pm to 8 pm for deliveries, takeout and curbside pickup.
74 Main Street, Kings Park, Phone: 631-269-2600.

Gino’s Kings Park is open from 10 am to 9 pm for takeout and delivery.
52 Indian Head Road, Kings Park, Phone (631) 269-2880.

Long River Restaurant is open from 11 am to 6 pm for takeout and delivery.
4 Main Street, Kings Park, Phone (631) 544-4666.

Professor’s Café is open M,T,W from 8 am to 7 pm, Th, F from 8 am to 8 pm, Sat 8 am to 7 pm, Sun from 8 am to 3 pm for takeout and delivery.
58 Indian Head Road, Kings Park, Phone (631) 269-4346.

Relish is open from 11 am to 7 pm for takeout and delivery.
2 Pulaski Road, Kings Park, Phone (631) 292-2740.

Simply Greek is open 11 am to 9 pm for takeout and delivery.
12 Indian Head Road, Kings Park, Phone (631) 663-3652.

Westbury

As concern about the Coronavirus rises, Village of Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro, the Board, and village agencies are taking steps to assure residents that everything possible is being done to promote their health and safety.

The Village, like other downtowns on Long Island, has been making great strides through the spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation, with hyperlocal focus and local groups coming together to support its downtown transformation. The Coronavirus pandemic threatens to change this protectory.

When it comes to local businesses, Mayor Cavallaro observes the longer the pandemic lasts, the more these businesses will feel tremendous pressure. “We need to support small business, as they do not have a long safety cord.” The Village is asking residents to shop locally where they can. “Without this support during these difficult times,” the Mayor says, “these businesses may not be here when its over.”

The Mayor notes that when it comes to health and safety, there are lots of resources from the County and State. Conversely, downtowns have less tools in their toolbox. The encouraging news, the Mayor notes, is the Village is in good shape. “Zoning is in place and we have a healthy downtown.”

Local restaurants are finding ways to safely serve their community. Owner of Toskana Pizzeria Restaurant, Jennifer Bautaj, notes the importance of shopping local all the time, and especially now, during a time of crisis. “People need to shop local, invest in small business, the Mom and Pop stores, in their communities. If not, we all lose.”

Here is a sampling of local restaurants making it work:

Cafe Gino’s is open from 10 am to 8 pm for takeout.
237 Post Ave, Westbury, Phone (516) 997-1912.

Kabul Kabab House is open from 12 pm to 9 pm for takeout and delivery.
247 Post Avenue, WestburyPhone (516) 280-4753.

Nana’s Ice Cream and Coffee House is open from 11 am to 8 pm for takeout and delivery.
225A Post Avenue, Westbury, Phone (516) 338-6888.

Punta Cana Grill is open from 11 am to 9 pm for takeout and delivery.
162 Post Ave, Westbury, Phone (516) 280-4099.

Toskana Pizzeria Restaurant is open from 10 am to 8 pm for takeout and delivery.
63 Post Avenue, Westbury, Phone (516) 414-7585.

Guiradelco, Phillipine Restaurant is open for takeout.

The Westbury Business Improvement District Board will continue to push out the revitalization plans with significant influence on keeping the current businesses open for the residence during these challenging times. Many of the food business are providing curb side pickup or delivery service to respect residents concerns. As the CDC recommends changes we will push them out the business. In these trying times lets all stay safe and keep the ill in out prayers, Vanessa Esposito, Executive Director

Vision staff stopped in to Guiradelco for delicious kebabs to go and a tasty Calzone from the Jennifer, Mike and Bill at Toskana.

Folks should visit these restaurants if you want to see them continue functioning.

SBA Disaster Relief Loans Become Available

Just about every Main Street business we have been talking with has requested information on SBA Disaster Loans and the potential for grants.

THE SBA DISASTER LOAN PROGRAM IS NOW OPEN.

In addition to small businesses non profits are also eligible.

With all that said there are things small business can do now to prepare themselves for the application. There is a fair amount of paperwork involved to document the loss your business has faced but essential nonetheless. Qualified entities can receive up to $2 million.

Special thanks to Congresswoman Kathleen Rice who has put this FACT SHEET together to help prepare once the application process is open and that may be soon.

Information is also being distributed by SUNY Farmingdale College Small Business Development Center in preperation for the SBA Disaster Relief Loans. You can download them here, and they include a disaster business loan application, a disaster home / sole proprietor loan applicaton, a monthly sales figure form to accompany loan applications, a personal financial statement, a request for transcript of tax return, and a schedule of liabilities.

Please check back for updates from the LI Main Street Alliance for resources in the coming days

Nassau County Gives Update on Coronavirus Response

Vision and the LI Main Street Alliance were out this week with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Comptroller Jack Schnirman, Nassau IDA Chair Richie Kessel, Nassau Council of Chambers Frank Camarano​​, Nassau Minority Affairs Director Lionel Chitty, Discover LI’s Kristin Jarnagin, Crest Hollow Country Club’s Rich Monti, and many others to launch a small business recovery effort in preparation of Federal and State disaster recovery loans and grants.

“We don’t know the full economic impact but I predict that it will be brutal and that it will have long-term impact,” said Nassau County Exectuive Laura Curran.  “The more quickly we can quantify that impact the more quickly we can address it.”

In order to receive these funds documentation of economic needs is paramount and having the County assist the small business community is critical. Kudos to County Executive Curran and Comptroller Jack Schnirman for spearheading this effort.

With today’s wave of layoffs due to forced closures, it shouldn’t be hard to measure the economic impact for our local businesses to qualify.

Vision has spoken directly to over 80 downtown small businesses within the last week and all are hurting, some have closed temporarily, some are open partially. Some may close permanently. Most had to at least temporarily lay off their staff. The economic impacts to independent small businesses will take years to recover.

We have been acutely aware of the public health crisis, the national news media has obsessed over the impact on Wall Street it is now time to recognize the impact on Main Street.

Check out local coverage on CBS and ABC.

Suffolk County Holds Conference Call on Crisis Response

Vision and the LI Main Street Alliance were on a call with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and his team working on the response to the economic crisis associated with the Coronavirus. Joining the call were Suffolk Chamber members led by Gina Coletti with representatives from Bayshore, Bayport, Holbrook and organizations like Hauppauge Industrial Association, LI Food Network and many others.

County Executive Bellone said “This is an unprecedented situation with a global health crisis. We are doing everything we can to respond to this crisis and the County’s focus is to contain the spread. We are taking the lead of the NYS Department of Health and want to amplify measures to ensure that people stay home. We encourage folks to wash hands frequently and make sure employees are cleaning.”

The County Executive is putting together an business recovery unit starting Thursday.

Questions ensued about the timing of SBA loans and the need for a direct grants program for smaller businesses. It was encouraged for all businesses to use this time to put together documentation on the economic hardship this disaster has impacted your business so the application process moves smoothly.

NYS just submitted their application to the Federal Government for disaster relief that should unlock the process for business to apply for loans of up to $2 million directly.

Stay tuned for future updates from Suffolk County, the Suffolk County Chamber of Commerce and the LI Main Street Alliance will keep information flowing on timing of loans and grant programs as well as other recovery news.

NYS Asking for Qualified Health Professionals to Recertify

In the event that the novel coronavirus crisis worsens, we need the help of qualified health professionals and related professionals to supplement our hospital capacity on a temporary basis to treat seriously ill coronavirus patients including those that may need to be intubated. The NYS Dept. of Health will recertify you for the purpose.

If you are interested and able to help out, please fill out the Health Professional Survey here.

Amazon Hiring Thousands of New Workers During Coronavirus Outbreak

As a number of workers are being let go from their positions, Amazon is looking to hire 100,000 new workers as delivery drivers and warehouse workers. To help incentivize this initiative they are offering an additional $2 per hour to anyone who applies before April.

If you are interested in one of these positions you can read more about the initative and apply for a job here.

CDC Guidelines on Coronavirus Prevention

As concern about the ever-expanding impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) grows, we can minimize or prevent the spread of coronavirus by taking these steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.  Wash or sanitize your hands thoroughly.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or antiseptic wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

For more information see the CDC website or call the NY State Coronavirus hotline to speak with a representative 888-364-3065

Smart Talk

Contributors:
Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Elissa Kyle, Placemaking Director; Jon Siebert, Administrative Director

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to info@visionlongisland.org for consideration.

If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.

Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.
Email: info@visionlongisland.org

Home | Contact Us | Donate | About Us