presented by Vision Long Island and the Long Island Main Street Alliance
March 26th, 2020
Helping Main Street through the
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 connected to over 270 small businesses in over 40 downtowns as they weather the economic storm through the Coronavirus. We encourage people to responsibly patronize these and other open establishments who need your help in this time of crisis. Many of them have been there for local organizations and philanthropy - they now need our support.
In the meantime, here is a selection of updates from Long Island downtowns, more to follow...
Day 11 of the Coronavirus economic shutdown takes us to the Village of Valley Stream. The Village has approved and built a number of transit-oriented developments in recent years and was poised for an uptick of downtown activity in 2020.
Last 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 is expecting a big dent in normal patronage.
“No one wants to close down, but it’s the right thing to do,” 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.
But Mr. Notarbartolo also noted that his business had already been seeing a sharp downtick in business as customers began avoiding 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.
Kudos to Village of Valley Stream Mayor Ed Fare and his team for keeping the Village well managed during this crisis.
Here are some of the restaurants that are open for takeout and delivery.
Big Guys Burger & Grill is open for takeout and delivery
Biryani House is open for takeout
Boston Market is open for takeout, delivery & curbside
Buckley's is open for takeout
Charlie Meaney's is open for takeout, delivery & curbside
Chicken Coop is open for takeout
Dawat E Khaas is open for takeout
Genovese Pizzeria is open for takeout, delivery & curbside
IHOP is open for takeout and delivery
Inatome Japanese Steak + Sushi is open for takeout, delivery & curbside
John Anthony’s Pizzeria is open for takeout and delivery
La familia Deli & Grill is open for takeout
Mamma Gina's Pizzeria of Valley Stream is open for takeout and delivery
Mary's is open for takeout is open for takeout and delivery
Mia's is open for takeout, delivery & curbside
Mitchell's Restaurant is open for takeout, delivery & curbside
Pizza Amore is open for takeout
Pomodorino Rosso is open for takeout and delivery
Pretty Toni's Café is open for takeout
RoRo 's Gyro Place is open for takeout and delivery
Rosas Pizza is open for takeout
Sam's Steak & Grill is open for takeout and delivery
TRUFFLE Restaurant & Bar is open for takeout, delivery & curbside
Great Neck Plaza
Day 10 of the Coronavirus economic shutdown brings us to the Great Neck Plaza.
Amid Coronavirus concerns, the Village of Great Neck Plaza is putting residents first. As per Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order on March 16th, village elections have been delayed to primary Election Day, April 28, 2020. As such, Mayor Jean Celender has delayed her retirement through early May.
According to the Mayor, “Our Preparedness Team is meeting daily to ensure we consider the most up-to-date information from public health agencies and government authorities, share key data and best practices with our staff, and ensure we are taking appropriate steps to protect the health and safety of all of our people while continuing to meet the needs of our residents and businesses on Main Street.”
The Village of Great Neck Plaza, led by Mayor Celender, has flourished throughout the years. From advocating for safe streets and traffic calming initiatives, demanding affordable housing units in a high wealth area, managing and promoting festivals, events, arts, culture, music, and securing $5million for a range of capital projects and services, the Village of Great Neck Plaza is thriving.
Most recently, the Village has been working with Vision to change codes to help promote/preserve Main Street retail and get more affordable units in its downtown. The effects of the pandemic now threaten to interrupt this remarkable trajectory.
“We are a ghost town,” described Mayor Celender. “Our eateries are experiencing real hardships. The restaurants are doing yeoman’s work. They need all the advertising help we can give them, especially through the use of social media.”
The Great Neck Plaza Business Improvement District is encouraging residents, during this time of crisis as restaurants and patrons do their part in flattening the curve, to visit favorite local eateries and utilize takeout, curbside or delivery options.
Here is a sampling of local restaurants making it work:
Bareburger is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
Francesca's Pizzeria & Restaurant is open for takeout and delivery
Gino's of Great Neck Pizzeria & Restaurant is open for takeout and delivery
Great Neck Diner is open for takeout and delivery
La Rotonda Ristorante is open for takeout and deliver
Lola is available for takeout
S&D Crab House is open for takeout and delivery
Day 9 of the Coronavirus economic shutdown takes us to downtown Lynbrook where the community has banded together on a number of levels.
From monitoring experts’ opinions and suggestions, providing COVID-19 education, closing the library and village sponsored recreational events, to partnering with Key Food Supermarket to deliver food to seniors that rely on buses to get to the market, the Village of Lynbrook is working overtime to keep its residents safe. Along with tackling this health crisis, the Village is grappling with the economic crisis all downtowns are now facing.
With great schools and friendly residents, many of whom have grown up there, Lynbrook has been able to maintain its local flavor. With its embrace of several recent projects, the Village has begun lowering its oar in the water on transit-oriented development, utilizing its unique rail opportunities. Now, all hands are on deck to try to minimize the economic damage that is ensuing from the fallout of the Coronavirus.
Joe Carusone, owner of Vincent’s, embodies the spirit of Lynbrook, “We are hanging in there. Whatever our customers are comfortable with, we’ll do. We’ll deliver to the door, knock, or not, deliver curbside, or welcome you into the restaurant for takeout. Everyone is different and we understand.”
The Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce has a message for residents, “Between the mandate that closed restaurants, and the supermarkets out of, well, everything, you can support our member restaurants who are open for takeout and delivery. You’ll be doing yourself and them a big favor.”
Kudos to Mayor Alan Beach and his team for managing the Village through this crisis.
Here is a sampling of local restaurants making it work:
Angelinas Pizzeria & Restaurant is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
Burger Shack is open for takeout & delivery
Craft Kitchen & Tap House is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
Lynbrook Eats is open for takeout & delivery
Maier's Brick Café is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
Santorini's is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
SaVino's Restaurant & Wine Bar is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
Villa Formia is open for takeout & delivery
Vincent's is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
Day 8 of the Coronavirus economic shutdown brought us to Suffolk County and the Village of Babylon.
The Village of Babylon has been working on redevelopment projects, including a downtown theatre, and maintains a robust business district. The Village understands that money spent on brick and mortar stores in its downtown stays in the community, helps pay local taxes, and keeps jobs and resources in the neighborhood. The advent of the Coronavirus and the steps that towns, villages, counties, and states are necessarily taking to protect the health of residents, may ultimately injure downtown businesses.
Kelly Peckholdt, President of the Babylon Village Chamber of Commerce, sees the importance of focusing on the economic impact of this crisis. “Our businesses here in the village are already significantly impacted,” said Ms. Peckholdt. “At this point, pretty much all of the businesses are closing or have modified their hours significantly. A few retailers are still open but are only doing virtual shopping or private shopping appointments. We're essentially waiting on and expecting the announcement to come that all non-essential businesses must close. There are a lot of business owners and employees of those businesses who are already concerned for their livelihoods considering the government has not provided a timeline on these shut downs. On the other hand, we are already seeing a wave of support from the community.
“As a Chamber, we have been working really hard this week at constantly sharing businesses who are offering takeout, virtual shopping, etc, on our social media pages, and have also been trying to share as much information from local governments as possible for business owners to reference. We also have some larger marketing projects in the works, too, as we are trying to help our fellow business owners as much as possible. Another upside, though, is that this situation has forced many businesses to become really creative in what and how they are marketing - only time will tell if these strategies will also work in a post-coronavirus world, but I think these innovative strategies will be what will hopefully allow these businesses to survive for the time being.”
Richard Kahn, Bar Manager at The Brixton, sums it up. “We are all in this together. We are trying to restore some sense of normalcy, which is so important right now. We need to take care of each other.”
Here is a sampling of local Babylon restaurants making it work:
Del Fuego is open for takeout, curbside service and delivery through Uber Eats & Doordash
Horace & Sylvia's Publick House
Jack Jack's Coffee House is open for takeout
Lily Flanagan's Pub is open for takeout and delivery
Mary Carroll's is open for takeout
Mulberry Street Babylon
Ohayo Japanese Cuisine is open for takeout and delivery
Post Office Café is open for takeout and delivery through Uber Eats & Door Dash & Grubhub
The Brixton is open for pickup (delivery coming soon)
Kudos to Babylon Mayor Ralph Scordino who is managing the Village through this crisis.
We recently had a chance to talk to our friends, small businesses, and government leaders in Kings Park to see how they are coping amidst the shutdown.
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.
Linda Henninger, President if the Kings Park Civic encourages residents to support the local businesses downtown as well.
We had the chance to also see the Park Bake Shop set up an order window. Owner Lucy Shtanko offered delicious kronuts to go.
Here is sampling of Kings Park restaurants making it work:
Café Red is open from 12 pm to 8 pm for order and pickup.
Ciro’s Kings Park is open from 2 pm to 8 pm for deliveries, takeout and curbside pickup.
Gino’s Kings Park is open from 10 am to 9 pm for takeout and delivery.
Long River Restaurant is open from 11 am to 6 pm for takeout and delivery.
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.
Relish is open from 11 am to 7 pm for takeout and delivery.
Simply Greek is open 11 am to 9 pm for takeout and delivery.
Park Bake Shop, 5:00am-6:00pm, Takeout through order window.
Park Lounge, 4:00pm-7:00pm, doing takeout of family meals.
Kings Park Shipping has been mandated as an essential business by the Governor's order to remain open as a vessel into the shipping channel for UPS,FEDEX,DHL and USPS. They can also handle printing as needed. Please email any inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vision Long Island was in downtown Northport recently, where a number of small businesses are still open for takeout during the day and the night.
Some of the businesses that are open for takeout include:
Northport Harbor Delicatessen
Rob Breudenbach from the Northport Harbor Delicatessen, both of which have been mainstays in town for decades, has great egg sandwiches, soups and lunches.
Martoni’s, a much newer operation, has great coffee, homemade soups, and other entrees and products. They also have pasta for sale for folks that are stocking up and find their local supermarket bare.
The Wine Bar is open for takeout and serving up their eclectic menu, which includes other open restaurants in town. It is literally a one stop takeout shop along with wine, of course.
Lastly, Maroni’s is open with lots of their award winning meatballs hot and ready to go. Maria Maroni is working long days and nights to keep that operation ready to go for local patrons.
Folks can grab their takeout and eat at the waterfront while still remaining good distance apart, or just safely walk around town while avoiding close contact with others.
Many of the retail shops voluntarily closed even before the forced shutdown the came last night and the one last Monday. Northport is a village that relies heavily on tourism revenue, so summers are when most restaurants, bars, and retailers benefit and January & February are the slowest months of the month. The shutdown occurring in March, when most of these businesses are beginning to ramp back up, may actually be worse than the winter and is debilitating for many. Sadly, our friend Gene from Oscar’s barbershop was forced to close last week in anticipation of shutdown orders. We hope to see him back.
We hope folks can find a responsible way to patronize these small businesses or others in your own downtown. It’s the only way these folks will make it through what will be a rough economic time for all of us.
No single downtown has brought housing, jobs, economic activity and great adaptive reuse with transit-oriented development as the Village of Farmingdale, but as this pandemic begins to cause significant economic distress, very few places or industries will emerge unscathed, and none are more vulnerable than our local Main Street businesses.
Farmingdale Village Mayor Ralph Ekstrand and the Village Board of Trustees are not only working to keep their community safe; they are visiting merchants throughout the Village to address the current economic crisis. Mayor Ekstrand tells us, “We have been doing take out every night from a different place. We put out on the Village website, and to all residents on our constant contact, a list of restaurant’s names and phone numbers which are doing delivery and take out. We have given all merchants the SBA information to file for money. We are trying our best to keep Farmingdale a Village to be proud of.”
The Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce asks that Farmingdale come together to support the businesses that support the community. “Every day, small business owners and organizations are being asked to make public safety judgement calls, putting themselves, their staff, and their future at risk,” President Joseph Garcia states. “Our restaurants, brewery, and many others have been forced to change business models overnight to comply with State Rules and Guidelines to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. The vast majority of our members are still operating. Food and beverage establishments have made provisions for takeout, curbside pick-up, free delivery, discounts, and Alcohol to-go and even delivered. Please continue to support our businesses here in Farmingdale. Order in, have some beer or wine. Continue doing business over the phone. Consider purchasing gift cards for future use, as well. We want to make sure Farmingdale continues to be a strong and vibrant business community.”
Here is a sampling of local restaurants making it work:
317 Main Street is open for curbside & delivery
Bagel Hut is open for takeout & delivery
Caracara Mexican Grill is open for curbside & delivery
Charlotte’s Desserts is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
Chiddy’s Cheesesteaks is open for pick up & delivery
Croxley Ales is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
Dominican Restaurant 4 is open for takeout & delivery
Flux Coffee is open for takeout
Frankie’s Pizzeria is open for takeout & delivery
Grecian Grill is open for takeout & delivery
High Tide Taco is open for takeout & delivery
Library Café is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
Lithology is open for curbside & delivery
Main Street Pizza is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
Palmer’s American Grille is open for curbside & delivery
Sobol is open for takeout
Stuff-A-Bagel is open for takeout & delivery
That Meetball Place is open for curbside & delivery
The Republic Pub is open for takeout & delivery
Thyme on Your Side (Le Petit Café) is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
Tiny Thai is open for takeout
TOA is open for takeout & delivery
Tre Scalini is open for takeout & delivery
Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar is open for takeout & delivery
Wings Over Farmingdale is open for takeout
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.
Vision was out in downtown Mineola for day 4 of the forced shutdown of most activities.
Restaurants we were able to speak with or observed open included:
(It is worth noting that the line for one of the local gun shops was out the door at 8:30 at night.)
We had takeout from Taglio Roman Style Pizza, which tasted great. We also stopped in to see Avelino and Elizabeth from Heart of Portugal. Their Grilled Octupus with Vegetables special was particularly delicious!
Unfortunately, businesses reported of being 90% down on average, even with takeout orders still being available. Most have had to lay off 50 to 80% of their staff, and are operating under skeleton crews. But it is still worth noting that takeout food delivery is still allowed under the forced measures to be enacted on Sunday.
Vision has now spoken to over 160 independent small businesses who have been decimated by the forced shutdowns of most Main Street activities.
East Meadow businesses were the latest group to be stunned by a sudden closure of businesses on Monday as they worked to keep their establishments extra clean in hopes of staying open. After the order toc lose came, owners began to work in earnest to figure out how to make up for the loss of revenue.
“Up until five minutes ago, we were sanitizing and planning to stay open,” Frank Camarano, the manager of World Gym in East Meadow, said on Monday afternoon. “Now everyone is just stunned, just like I am. The members are heartbroken, and now they don’t know what to do.”
Mr. Camarano is also the board chairman of the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce and the vice president of the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce. Working in those positions have placed him in the position of contacting numerous local businesses so as to calm nerves, but a number of local owners feel as though they have nowhere to go. Right now he is working to gather resources to and information on relief plans at different levels of government that can possibly help.
“I think what people have to hear is that ‘You’re not alone,’” said Mr. Camarano. “I know it sounds kind of hokey, but it’s true.”
Frank Borrelli, owner of Borrelli’s Italian Restaurant in East Meadow, is hoping to keep his doors open with a takeout menu, but had to fire his entire wait staff in the wake of Cuomo’s order, though it pained him to do so. He made the promise to hire them once the ban on gatherings is lifted, but for the moment he has to make do the best he can.
“I guess we could deliver a pizza with ‘quarantini’ to go,” Borrelli said, referencing the loosening of liquor laws to allow alcohol to be sold off premises. Mr. Borrelli also talked about how his business made it through Hurricane Sandy, but could at least look forward to the nearby Nassau Colosseum to help bring in customers. But this time is different as the ban on public gatherings means at least a month without such relief.
Local businesses focused on fitness are working to continue providing services on a virtual level for their customers. Anthony Bevilacqua, who owns AB Fitness in East Meadow, will have his staff stream three half-hour sessions in the morning and three at night for members, as well as nutritional seminars each evening.
“One of the best ways to fight the coronavirus is to keep staying healthy,” said Mr. Bevilacqua. “Everyone’s definitely more stressed during this time. But the only thing you could control is yourself and the actions you take.”
You can read more at the Long Island Herald.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 businesses still open:
Cafe Gino's is open from 10 am to 8 pm for takeout.
Kabul Kabab House is open from 12 pm to 9 pm for takeout and delivery.
Nana's Ice Cream and Coffee House is open from 11 am to 8 pm for takeout and delivery.
Punta Cana Grill is open from 11 am to 9 pm for takeout and delivery.
Guiradelco, Phillipine Restaurant is open for takeout.
Dom’s Auto, 15 Post
St. Brigid’s Deli, 99 Post
Rosita Mini Grocery, 150 Post
Maria’s Pastry, 167 Post
Willy’s Fish, 249 Drecel
Subway, 211 Post
Rite Aid, 210 Post
Cremosa Market, 230 Post
Hernandez Agency, 254 Maple
New World Discount, 242 Post
Bravo Supermarket, 306 Post
No Pal Mexican, 263 Post
Dunkin Donuts, 253 Post
Westbury Floral, 53 Post
Super Convenience Store, 129 Post
Post Pharmacy, 173 Post
Whatley Wine, 193 Post
Mediterranean Kabob House, 190 Post
Jin’s Apple Farm, 215 Post
Gloria’s Bakery, 219 Post
Post Bagels, 226 Post
Allstate, 239 Post
CVS 307 Post
Donohue Cecere Funeral, 290 Post
Joe’s Cleaners, 263 Post
Bank of America, 248 Post
Deli Salvadoreno, 243 Post
Westbury Valet Cleaners, 123 Post
Laundromats at 278 Post, 184 Post, and 89 Post
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.
Island Harvest Seeking Food Donations from Commercial Food Establishments Impacted by the Coronavirus
Food establishments finding themselves with surplus food due to the state-imposed curtailment of public gatherings should consider donating excess product to help Long Islanders who are facing hunger and food insecurity.
At this time of uncertainty, Island Harvest Food Bank is working to support the 300,000 Long Islanders who are facing hunger and food insecurity on a daily basis. They are now asking for help from local establishments who might otherwise see these precious resources go to waste. Their refrigerated vehicles can safely transport surplus food to those who need it the most thanks to staff and volunteers who are trained in safe food handling procedures.
“The people we assist every day are finding it increasingly difficult to put food on their tables during this unprecedented public health crisis,” says Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO, Island Harvest Food Bank, “We’re asking our partners in the food-service industry to consider donating surplus food to help people in need feed their families rather than discarding it, or leaving it to spoil.”
Among the types of product the food bank can accept includes fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, frozen items, dry goods, readymade pre-packaged items such as sandwiches, packed salads, etc. They are also accepting frozen meat, poultry, and fish. All items must be in the original packaging, unopened, and with nutrition information and the product label intact and readable. Products must be within their expiration dates.
Island Harvest Food Bank cannot accept items that have thawed, repacked, opened, unlabeled, or expired. The food bank is presently not accepting any prepared food, such as hot meals, unless it’s been refrigerated, packaged, and labeled for sale.
For more information on how to donate surplus food, contact Migdalia Otero, Island Harvest Food Bank, 631-873-4775, email@example.com.
East End Leaders Call for Travel Ban for All but Essential Services
Local Leaders on Long Island’s East End are calling for Governor Andrew Cuomo to instill a travel ban that would prevent NYC residents from fleeing to summer homes and rentals in their Towns.
The East End is currently being inundated with residents who are seeking to leave the city in numbers normally only seen during the summer months. Concurrently, cases of COVID-19 have surged, and many full time residents believe that it was imported directly by the new arrivals. At the same time, much needed supplies have dwindled as the system becomes increasingly taxed thanks to the influx of part-time residents.
“It's probably easier for Manhattanites to come out here to their large summer homes than the limited elbow room of their New York City apartments,” said Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, “but it does put a lot of stress on our system."
Southold Supervisor Scott Russell noted that the Town has just a single hospital and cannot handle a quick and sudden spike in cases, which is now at 111 confirmed positives. "There's much more difficult access to healthcare now," stated Supervisor Russell. Southold is also having difficulty continuing to meet increasing demand for food an emergency services as the population increases. “We have a limited number of stores trying to keep their shelves stocked and ration out supplies as best they can. Local residents are finding it difficult to meet even their most basic needs. Unnecessary hoarding and the recent, sudden expansion of the population by those who come are making it far worse.”
The White House has recommended that anyone who leaves NYC self-quarantine for at least 14 days to ensure that they are not currently carrying the virus with them. It is unclear how many of the part-time East residents are doing so.
As of now travel is unrestricted but Supervisor Schneiderman is putting together a letter signed by other local supervisors that will urge Governor Como to put an end to the rapid influx.
Governor Cuomo Gives Daily Update on NYS Coronavirus Outbreak
Governor Cuomo appeared earlier today for another daily briefing about what the state is doing to fight the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
He opened the conference by talking about the goal of the efforts, which is to reduce the rate of increase in cases, but not the total number. What the goal at this point should be is to make sure that there is no sudden apex but instead to flatten the curve and ensure the hospitals do not become overwhelmed.
Efforts are also currently underway to add to hospital capacities. The goal is to have 1,000+ bed overflow facilities in each of the New York City boroughs, and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, and Rockland. The system will need an increase to 140,000 total beds if it’s going to be able to handle the expected number of cases. In the meantime, the state is scouting for alternative locations to house patients, including dorms and hotels.
There is also concern over the lack of equipment currently available for treatment. The state is shopping around the country for more ventilators but desperately needs more. They are also looking into new technologies that could help such as splitting ventilators between two patients or converting anesthesia machines to ventilators. Neither are ideal, but with COVID-19 patients needing ventilators for so long in comparison to other patients, it is becoming increasingly necessary.
The economic consequences are also beginning to become stark for local governments. All state and city governments are currently experiencing a double whammy of increased expenses to fight the virus and decreased revenue thanks to the economic shutdown. The state of New York is looking at a loss of revenue between 10 to 15 billion dollars.
While the incoming stimulus bill from the federal government will go to help small business and the unemployed, which is very good, it does nothing to address loss of governmental revenue. NYS will receive $5 billion, but that is earmarked for fighting the virus and will not help to address those shortfalls. Governor Cuomo also expressed frustration at what he feels was partisan politics playing an outsized role in the process when an extraordinary response was required. NYS will need to address that loss in revenue in a budget that is still due on April 1st. The state will most likely have to adjust distribution of funds periodically depending on actual revenue received.
Cuomo came back around to public health then, talking about how testing is up thanks to a massive mobilization of healthcare workers. New York is currently testing more than any other state and has distributed more tests per capita than Korea and China. This helps to identify and isolate individuals with the virus but does not change the infection rate. He also updated numbers, with 37,258 positive cases in the state, 5,327 hospitalized, 1,290 ICU patients, and 1,517 patients discharged.
He ended on a high note, talking about the strength he’s drawn from watching New Yorkers come together when the pressure has been the highest. There has an outpouring of support from across the country at this time of adversity. Healthcare workers volunteer numbers went up by and astounding 12,000 people in one day. 2,500 mental health professionals also volunteered in a single day as well, including professionals from other states.
Though these are not easy times for our country, people are stepping up and making heroic efforts. It is truly a transformative time and hopefully we can come out the other side stronger than before.
US Jobless Claims Soar to 3.3 Million Due to Virus Outbreak, Local Resources Needed
Over 3.3 million Americans have applied for unemployment in the past week alone. That number includes 80,000 in NY, but there are many more as folks can't navigate to the website as it keeps crashing due to volume.
That is not simply an eye catching statistic, but real people with lives upended. For the folks that are still working, Vision hopes that you are:
1) Humble, sober and aware of the fact that right now millions of Americans are in pain.
Like during Sandy, we have seen a high amount of community-level philanthropy that has made a difference. Anything folks can do to help is greatly appreciated.
If you have questions as to what groups in what community are pulling together resources, please message us at firstname.lastname@example.org or text 631-804-9128.
Nassau and Suffolk County Calling for Medical Supplies Donations
Nassau County has placed a call out to residents for much-needed medical supplies among the ongoing pandemic. County Executive Laura Curran, Comission of Police Patrick J. Ryder, and OEM Commissioner Steven Morelli all made the announcement today.
Supplies that Nassau County is currently looking for include:
- N95 Surgical Masks in unopened container/boxes
The supply drive will run this week through Friday, March 27th and begin again next Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3 pm. Supplies can be brought to the Nassau County Public Safety Parking Lot, Field 3, Eisenhower Park, where a drive-up collection point is set up.
Meanwhile, Suffolk County is currently holding its own medical supply drive. They are currently asking for medical masks, gowns, gloves, antibacterial and any other desperately needed medical supplies. These supplies can be dropped off at the Suffolk County Fire Academy in Yaphank for the rest of the week from 10 am to 2 pm.
The Suffolk drive is aimed at helping out hospitals, medical centers, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes where supplies are quickly being depleted among the spreading disease. Supplies are also in high demand for EMS workers, police officers, and first responders.
Facilities in Suffolk County that are in urgent need of supplies can register to receive them here.
The drive has seen success so far with 40,000 gloves, 3,000 N95 masks, and 1,500 gloves donated so far.
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:
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
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