Small businesses and restaurants have voiced a lack of fairness under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mandate for nones- sential businesses to not be open while the state and the nation continue to …
Small businesses and restaurants have voiced a lack of fairness under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mandate for nones- sential businesses to not be open while the state and the nation continue to face a health pandemic. Brookhaven Town officials, Bellport mayor Ray Fell, and members of the Bellport Chamber of Commerce spoke at a press conference last Thursday in Bellport in front of the firehouse on South Country Road on behalf of local businesses for the unfair treatment compared to the big- box stores.
“I am looking at many Main Street businesses that ask me, ‘How come Walmart or BJs or Costco are open, selling the same products that I am selling, and I am not allowed to sell this product?’” said Brookhaven Town supervisor Ed Romaine. “We are asking for a little fairness and equity. We think that some of the applications of the governor’s executive order have not been fair as it relates to Main Street and small businesses. We are concerned about the prospects for the future of small businesses here in Brookhaven Town and Suffolk County.”
Romaine referenced the typical business of a flower shop as an example.
“Most florists get their business over the phone or over the internet, and they do delivery. They have very few walk-ins. Why are they shut?” he said. “We don’t need rules that work against mom-and- pop businesses when there is no need to do that.”
Bellport Village mayor Ray Fell pointed out the advocacy for small business that has been pushed by the Bellport Chamber of Commerce. He also mentioned that there are talks of closing Main Street for one day a week in order for restaurants to have tables in the road.
“Because of social distancing, it would give us more space and people,” Fell said. “Businesses would be able to be much more successful.”
Brookhaven Town councilman Michael Loguercio spoke, too. Since the press conference took place in his district, he discussed the importance of mom-and-pop shops flourishing on Main Street.
“They are our friends, our neighbors, our families. We need to support them. These folks live here, work here, go to school here, eat here, [and] shop here,” Loguercio said. “We need to help them survive because at the end of the day, they help us survive.”
Councilman and deputy supervisor Dan Panico said that businesses should be open.
“Any restrictions must be narrowly tailored and be the least-restrictive means of achieving your purpose,” Panico said, continuing on to say that there needs to be an acceleration of the phases to allow for outdoor dining. “Nobody here is promoting anything foolhardy. We are with the governor in being safe, but we need to be allowed to open and jump-start our economy. Our businesses need it.”