presented by Vision Long Island and the Long Island Main Street Alliance
April 23rd, 2020
Quotes of Day
Helping Main Street through the
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 and Long Island Main Street Alliance members have 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 550 small businesses in over 45 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 these businesses have been there for local organizations and philanthropy - they now need our support.
In the meantime, here is the featured downtown for today.
For a complete list of downtowns profiles, please check out our website here.
Saturday April 18th Day 34 of the shutdown brought us to the community of Copiague.
The hamlet of Copiague is a waterfront community in the Town of Babylon that also has a downtown and train station area that has been undergoing revitalization over the last decade. In addition to their waterfront resources they have an active Town Park Tanner Park that services the community. A very tight knit community their Chamber of Commerce, School District, Library and emergency services work with the Town of Babylon to plan and manage day to day operations.
The community has rallied around their local businesses and in turn the small businesses have been offering discounts and providing free food and services to community organizations.
“We would like to thank all of the restaurants, deli’s pizza parlors that are open for take out business. Many of our local merchants have websites and the capability of shipping so please keep them in mind also. Gift cards are a great way to support them now so they can survive and you can use them once everyone is able to open back up” Sharon Fattoruso, Copiague Chamber of Commerce
Here are some of the Copiague restaurants that are open for take out or delivery:
3 Brothers Vegan Café
Big Star Nunez
Café Catania Pizzeria & Pasta
Copiague Bagel & Deli
Delicias Latinas Bakery & Restaurant
El Paso Taco
Figueroa’s Grocery and Deli
Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant
Long Wall Kitchen
Tang Asian Fusion
Thai Green Leaf
Vibes Jamaican Restaurant
Zheung Xing Kitchen
"A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there." - Cesare Pavese
Farmingdale Village is not only rich in ethnic culture, entertainment, and eclectic restaurants, it is filled with caring, compassionate residents. This is effortlessly illustrated by the volume of Farmingdale folks working on the front line during this Covid 19 pandemic. The Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce has undertaken a community effort to thank these residents and to show gratitude to those who are working tirelessly to keep residents safe.
The Chamber has initiated a “Dalers for Dalers” program. The Chamber is collecting monetary donations to be used to purchase food from Farmingdale restaurants to be delivered to the homes of Farmingdale medical personnel who work in hospitals. “These Farmingdale residents are working tirelessly to keep us safe,” the Chamber explains. “This community effort is a simple way to thank them by providing their families with a hot meal when they return home from work.”
The Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce, like business-support organizations everywhere, is doing everything they can to help support local businesses adversely affected by COVID-19. In addition to helping promote member’s new business models to the community during this crisis, the Chamber felt the need to also funnel sales to the businesses hardest hit. The Dalers fund was established to help. The Chamber has contributed $1,500 to the fund.
This initiative has been a huge success and donations have been pouring in. The community is clearly appreciative. On Facebook, resident Joan Elinor posted, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for thinking of me and my family for dinner last night. During this challenging time, it is comforting to witness the outpouring of support for our healthcare workers and first responders. I am proud to be a part of this great community.”
Kudos to the Chamber for starting this wonderful initiative and to all Farmingdale front line workers who risk their lives every day to keep us safe.
Governor Cuomo and Michael Bloomberg Launch COVID-19 Contact Tracing Program
The following is an update from the Governor's website:
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Mike Bloomberg today announced a new nation-leading COVID-19 contact tracing program to control the infection rate of the disease. Mike Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies have committed organizational support and technical assistance to help build and execute this new program. The contact tracing program will be done in coordination with the downstate region as well as New Jersey and Connecticut and will serve as an important resource to gather best practices and as a model that can be replicated across the nation. There has never been a contact tracing program implemented at this scale either in New York or anywhere in the United States. The program will launch immediately.
As part of this effort, The Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University will build an online curriculum and training program for contact tracers. The New York State Department of Health will work with Bloomberg Philanthropies to help identify and recruit contact tracer candidates for the training program, including staff from the State Department of Health, investigators from various state agencies, hundreds of tracers from downstate counties and SUNY and CUNY students in medical fields. Bloomberg Philanthropies will also work with New York State to establish an expert panel to review the work of the program, and create a best in class model that other states can use for contact tracing.
The effort includes a partnership with Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, to provide operational and technical advising to New York State Health Department staff. They will assist in the development of call center protocols and digital solutions to rapidly catalyze progress and expedite workflow; and determine best ways to increase community engagement and understanding of the role of contact tracing as a public health tool.
Bloomberg Philanthropies has committed $10.5 million, along with organizational support and technical assistance, to help build and execute this new program.
"The numbers indicate we are past the apex of this pandemic, and while we start our work to re-open our economy we must ensure we are doing it in a way that does no harm and does not undo all of the work and sacrifice it has taken to get here," Governor Cuomo said. "One of the most critical pieces of getting to a new normal is to ramp up testing, but states have a second big task - to put together an army of people to trace each person who tested positive, find out who they contacted and then isolate those people. This partnership with Mike Bloomberg to create an unprecedented, nation-leading contact tracing program will do just that and serve as a model for the rest of the nation."
"We're all eager to begin loosening restrictions on our daily lives and our economy. But in order to do that as safely as possible, we first have to put in place systems to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus and support them as they isolate," said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP, three-term mayor of New York City. "I'm honored to partner with Governor Cuomo and New York State to help do that, by creating a new contact tracing program on a widespread scale. Coupled with far more testing, it will help us drive the virus into a corner -- saving lives and allowing more people to begin getting back to work."
As the state continues its work to flatten the curve, large-scale contact tracing is critical to safely and responsibly reopening communities while preserving the public health. Contact tracing helps prevent the spread of a virus by using testing to confirm if someone has COVID-19, interviewing that person to identify people they may have been in contact with during their illness and during the few days before symptoms began, reaching out to their contacts to alert them to their risk of infection and then referring contacts to medical providers and asking non-ill people to stay home for 14 days to be sure they don't spread COVID-19 to others.
Contact tracing is a proven public health tool which can profoundly help "box in" the virus. Several countries, such as Germany, Singapore and South Korea, have used contact tracing effectively amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, those countries have been able to re-open for business quicker and have experienced fewer deaths and lower rates of infection.
You can watch the full press conference from today here.
Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Financial Survival Toolkit
NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapolu has released an online financial survival toolkit for New Yorkers struggling to survive during the shutdown brought on by the coronavirus.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a serious public health crisis for New York and the economic impact to our State will likely be felt for a long time to come,” stated Mr. DiNapoli on the toolkit website. “My office is taking many proactive and positive steps to address the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and we want to help New York’s residents, government entities, nonprofits and businesses alike as they navigate these uncharted waters. We created this page of helpful resources and links to give you easy access to vital assistance and information you need at this time. Since the situation is changing rapidly with each passing day, please check back regularly as we update this information.”
The resource categories include “Your Health,” the CARES Act, Employment Issues, Paying Your Bills, Assistance for Small Business and Nonprofit, Personal Finance Information/Education, Avoiding Scams, and Assistance for Seniors, People with Disabilities, Veterans & Active Military. There are also links for websites with additional resources.
You can view the toolkit here.
RXR Unveils RXRVolunteer.com
RXR Realty has unveiled a new website aimed at helping to connect local nonprofits and small businesses affected by COVID-19 with volunteers from the RXR community of employees, tenants, vendors, partners, investors, and friends.
This new easy-to-use platform will match volunteers with a particular skill-set with local small businesses and nonprofit organizations. There will also be a system to help find professional support and technical assistance in applying for various government relief programs as well as support for other skill-based needs, such as repositioning an organization in a post-COVID-19 environment.
They will also be providing professional support and technical assistance in applying for various government relief programs as well as support for other skill-based needs, such as repositioning an organization in a post COVID-19 environment.
You can find out more at RXRVolunteer.com.
US Senate Passes $484 Billion Relief Package
The Senate has passed a new coronavirus bill aimed at aiding small business and hospitals as the economic shutdown drags on. The new bill was approved for roughly $484 billion and includes funding for more testing along with direct aid. The agreement was passed by a voice vote after negotiations took place between congressional Democrats and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The bill will now head to the House of Representatives where it is expected to pass later tonight.
The new bill will inject the Paycheck Protection Program with an additional $310 billion after it ran dry in a matter of days in the first go around. Other portions of the bill include $60 billion for community banks and small lenders, $74 billion for hospitals, $25 billion for testing, and $60 billion for emergency disaster loans and grants.
This new bill comes at a time when large swathes of the economy are suffering thanks to people practicing social distancing. It will hopefully go towards keeping small Main Street businesses afloat while giving people a chance to bridge the gap until the country can emerge from the self-imposed lockdown.
At the same time, congressional leaders have indicated that they will not jump directly into a fourth round of stimulus related to the coronavirus. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that he will work to call back senators for a discussion on what can be done while limiting the rising debt after almost $3 trillion in national aid has been approved.
You can read more at The Hill.
Amazon Sued for Price Gouging during Coronavirus Crisis
A lawsuit has been filed in the state of California alleging that Amazon has raised the price of essential items up to 1,000% in some cases.
Some of the goods that have allegedly had their prices manipulated include food and drink, cleaning products, personal hygiene products, medical supplies, and emergency supplies. Specific examples include face mass, which saw an increase from $20 to $120, pain relievers, which went from $18.75 to $62.40, Flour, which was raised from $22 to $110, black beans from $4.65 to $35.99, and disinfectants, which went from $14.99 to $29.99. The suit further alleges that third party sales have also seen an increase prices as well as Amazon’s own.
What is particularly disappointing about this turn of events is that Amazon has previously trumpeted efforts to prevent price gouging on their stores. A blog post on their site from March 23rd noted that "price gouging has no place in [Amazon] stores". It went on to state that "Amazon has zero tolerance for price gouging and longstanding policies and systems to prevent this harmful practice. We’re working vigorously to combat price gouging."
The plaintiffs in the suit are Mary McQueen and Victoria Ballinger, who talked about the unprecedented times that the country is currently facing. Thanks to efforts to stay indoors and limit contact, more and more Americans are turning to online purchases to help keep themselves stocked with supplies. At such a time it seems indefensible that a company would try and take advantage of those same Americans, if proven true.
You can read more at the U.S. Sun.
Unemployment Claims Rise to 26 million in US
This past week saw another 4.4 million Americans apply for unemployment benefits as the economy continues to be battered thanks to the coronavirus outbreak.
The past five weeks have seen a staggering 26 million Americans lose their jobs thanks to the ongoing health crisis and social distancing efforts. Approximately 1 in 6 Americans have seen their jobs disappear in that time as the worst string of layoffs on record continues. Economists fear that the unemployment rate for America could go as high as 20%.
These numbers are representative of one of the biggest economic crises this country has seen since the Great Depression. The worst forecasts predict that the nation’s output could shrink by twice as much as it did during the Great Recession in 2009.
Meanwhile, people are hopeful that the economy will rebound quickly, but some experts aren’t so sure. While few see a downturn as long as the Great Depression, where unemployment hovered in the double digits for over a decade, there isn’t likely to be a return to normal anytime soon.
Some governors across the country have begun to experiment with a limited reopening period, but there isn’t much indication of employers hiring back large numbers of employees. So long as people remain home in order to slow the spread of the virus there won’t be much demand for hiring.
This is mostly due to health officials warning that it simply isn’t safe to lift social distancing guidelines anytime soon. Most Americans seem in favor of stay-at-home orders in survey after survey until the spread of the virus can somehow be controlled and public health guaranteed.
But in the meantime Americans and businesses continue to suffer with a growing sense of unease. A record 16 million Americans had been approved for unemployment benefits, which surpassed the previous record of 12 million in the previous recession. That number only reflects the people who have been able to navigate an unemployment system that has been bursting at the seams as states try and process the record number of requests for benefits.
Those numbers will begin to get worse as the recently passed federal aid package will now allow gig workers, contractors, and self-employed people to apply for unemployment. States are in the process of re-working their systems to allow for those people and once they do, experts predict that unemployment numbers for April could soar to as many as 25 million.
You can read more at Long Island Business News.
Assemblywoman Judy Griffin and Long Island Main Street Alliance Host Business Resources Program
Assemblywoman Judy Griffin, Vision Long Island, and the Long Island Main Street Alliance are partnering on Zoom to hold a webinar aimed at helping small businesses. Co-sponsors include The Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, the Franklin Square Chamber of Commerce, the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce, Malverne Chamber of Commerce, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, the Rockville Centre Chamber of Commerce, and the West Hempstead Chamber of Commerce.
The webinar will feature speakers Peter Fehnel from the US SBA’s NY office, Domenick Napoletano from the NYS Bar Association and Small Business Committee, Erica Chase from the NY SBDC at Farmingdale State College, and Bernard Macias, AARP LI Chapter.
The event will take place on Friday, April 24th at 10 AM. If you are interested in registering to join you can email email@example.com.
SBA Offering Webinar for Programs for COVID-19 Impacted Businesses and Non-profits
The SBA will be offering a zoom meeting for businesses that need assistance in applying for programs to help counteract adverse effects from the coronavirus shutdown. Interested parties should register for the event as there will be a limitation of just 500 people.
The event will take place this Saturday April 25th from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Anyone interested can register for the event here.
LISTnet and Vision Long Island partner to host Webinar on Tech Tips to Virtual Working
Doing business has changed radically in the past few weeks and will continue to change. Businesses will need to adapt by adopting remote work, implementing cloud software, having a web site customers can interact with, including, if applicable e-commerce. It can be overwhelming figuring out how to get started.
The event will take place on Monday, April 27th from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM. It will be streamed on LISTnet's Facebook page. Registrants will get a link after signing up. You can also watch on LISTnet Tech Talk.
Featured speakers will include Loren Wildes, President of Bar Harbor Web Design, Malay Thacker, President of the IT People, Michael Maser, Co-founder and CEO UOTech.co.
You can register for this webinar 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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