NEW YORK – “We are in a state of emergency and we must move quickly to mitigate the impact of coronavirus/COVID-19 on our city. All non-essential services must be closed, including bars and restaurants. We should keep essentials like grocery stores, bodegas, pharmacies, and banks open. And restaurants that can make deliveries should be able to stay open to provide delivery service for New Yorkers. We must be bold – but we must also be prepared.
We need to make sure impacted businesses like bars are able to survive and employees are taken care of until we’re back to normal. Businesses have costs that need to be covered no matter what — rent, utilities, loan payments, insurance, and taxes. We need to help them stay afloat. The City needs to do what it can immediately, including suspending payment of fees, penalties, and taxes.
We also need to keep cash in businesses’ hands. The State, federal government, and private actors need to step up to help. The government should explore how to make sure that large corporations are taking on some of the burden. We’re all in this together. We must take care of all workers. Paid sick leave and unemployment might not be enough. There are going to be lots of new needs the City has during this crisis. Bar workers, independent contractors, domestic workers, gig economy employees, and other types of workers who don’t have solid benefits and who are going to be impacted the most during this time need cash. Government needs to step in and make this happen.
We need to be doing much more to help vulnerable New Yorkers, including the homeless and those with serious health needs. Homeless shelters, supportive housing, and nursing homes are essential services and should not be closed. Provisions need to be made to provide them support.
As I have said before, schools should close. We must come up with a plan for all students, including those who rely on school for food and medical support.
Perhaps most importantly, we need to support our healthcare workers, including by providing childcare so they can continue to work during this state of emergency.
Last but certainly not least, we as New Yorkers need to come together for the common good. Let’s take care of each other and remember to safely help our neighbors, family, and friends who need support. We need to do this, or we’ll do it later after the damage is much worse.
This is a difficult time and the only way we’ll get through it is together.”