NYC Offers Help For Small Businesses Affected By Coronavirus


Mayor De Blasio disseminates information about the coronavirus (Photo credit: Jeenah Moon / Getty Images)

As foot traffic declines at New York City retailers and restaurants in the middle coronavirus fears, Blasio’s administration is stepping in to help small businesses avoid layoffs and closures.

The city will offer businesses with less than 100 employees interest-free loans of up to $ 75,000, if they can demonstrate a 25% or more drop in sales, the mayor announced On Monday.

Very small businesses with fewer than five employees will be eligible for cash grants covering 40% of wage costs for two months. The City estimates that 2,600 businesses will be able to benefit from these grants, for an average amount of $ 6,000.

“We know from the experience of people we know in Italy that restaurants are hit hard,” Emanuele Nigro, owner of Italian restaurant Osteria 57, told the Wall Street Journal. “So we know it’s only a matter of time.”

The Italian government on Monday announced it would extend quarantine and travel restrictions from the hard-hit north to the entire country, as more than 400 people have died from coronavirus in Italy.

Nigro, from Milan, estimated that his restaurant saw a 15 percent drop in business last week and that he would face a 30 percent drop in bookings for the coming week. The restaurant has unveiled a new, cheaper delivery menu as more customers choose to stay at home or leave town entirely.

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New York State has identified more than 140 cases of the virus, with a majority in Westchester County.

Businesses in Asian neighborhoods like Flushing have also seen a sharp drop in revenue due to coronavirus fears, and some have already closed indefinitely.

“Businesses in downtown Flushing depend on high volume and low profit margins,” said Dian Song Yu, executive director of the Flushing Business Improvement District in Queens. “As soon as we lose the big volume, most of the business will go down. It’s hard to survive this. [WSJ] – Kevin Soleil

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