NYC Councilman Supports Outdoor Dining, Seeks Relief Extension
As coronavirus cases continue to grow across the country, many businesses and establishments are struggling to stay afloat.
Financial aids and assistance are given to different industries and unemployed individuals to address the ever-growing number of people needing help. In New York City, restaurants attempted to re-stabilize by adding outdoor dining and curbside cocktail takeaway.
New York City council member Keith Powers has released a plan on Monday that aims to extend the help to mostly affected bars and restaurants in the coming months.
Keith Powers' plan "Open for Business: Saving our small businesses post-COVID," proposes the permanent extension of outdoor dining to help small businesses avoid permanent closure.
Also included in the plan are allowances for emergency measures on takeaway cocktails and delivery rules. Emergency rent relief for stores is also proposed.
Powers said he is calling the entire council and state legislature to act rather than wait for "federal dollars" to come up.
Powers said small businesses can help future economic recovery.
The councilman added that New York City is composed of neighborhood businesses, but they will not be able to open if measures to save them are not considered.
"Our report spotlights actionable items that we can take to help them starting today. From the local pizza spot to the neighborhood bar, we need to rescue our cherished local businesses," Powers was quoted in an ABC News report.
Outdoor Dining and Takeout in New York City
Powers said outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery services have "brought new life to the city" ever since the coronavirus pandemic started.
"[Outdoor dining] has allowed New Yorkers to enjoy their favorite establishments and socialize in a safe and healthy manner," the plan proposal stated.
It added that it also provided a way to keep their favorite restaurants, bars, and cafes in business.
The councilman said through his proposal that New York should learn from this and extend outdoor dining permanently.
The Open Restaurants programs for outdoor dining and roadway seating was earlier extended until Oct. 31. It was initially set to expire on Sept. 8, according to the city's Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"We hope this extension helps restaurants not only recoup the expense so many have made in building roadway dining installations but also helps because indoor dining has been postponed indefinitely," the New York City Hospitality Alliance was quoted in a report.
Powers is calling local leaders to cooperate with other city agencies to create criteria for a long-term program.
Powers' plan also recommends an assistance program that would suspend the commercial rent tax, which would be a huge relief for Manhattan businesses.
Powers' proposal says that rent in New York City presents a unique challenge for small businesses compared to other parts of the country.
Powers calls on Congress to allocate federal stimulus funding to the city so that a rental assistance program would be created.
Small Business During COVID-19
Meanwhile, other states like Florida have small business owners trying to stay open.
In Jul.1, a federal loan program for small businesses has denied around 48 percent of applicants, which leaves 2.5 million small business owners without money they have requested.
The Small Business Administration has seen an increase in demand for loans since the beginning of the pandemic.
In a typical year, the agency approves a total of 20,000 loan applications, which amount to $1 billion.
James Rivera, an associated administrator with the Small Business Administration, said that this year the agency has approved just over 2 million loans worth $127 billion.
These can be paid back for 30 years with a four-percent interest rate.
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