Manhattan business leader believes city regulation reform key toward economic recovery

Mayor Eric Adams signs the “Small Business Forward” Executive Order to reform existing business regulations, ensuring local businesses face fewer needless fines and penalties. Pearl River Mart, Manhattan. Tuesday, January 4, 2022. Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

Mayor Eric Adams’ inked this week his first executive order focused on business regulation reforms, with the goal of preventing mom-and-pop shops from facing draconian fines and/or forced closures for easily correctible offenses.

“Our small businesses have been through so much during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Adams told reporters during a Downtown press conference Tuesday. ““The last thing they need to deal with are unnecessary fines. We’re cutting the red tape and bringing real relief to the entrepreneurs who have made their dreams a reality and keep our local economy strong.”

And business owners agree. Jeffrey LeFrancois, the Executive Director of the Meatpacking Business Improvement District, believes that this executive order is an excellent first step towards getting small business back on track after the damage incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So often businesses are held up from actually being able to do business,” LeFrancois told amNewYork Metro in a Jan. 6 interview. “So hopefully this [executive order] helps businesses be able to do business more efficiently. This order is directing agencies to analyze the laws on the book. Anything we can do right now to help businesses stay open we need to be considering.”

LeFrancois believes the executive order was long overdue, and he expects it will prove to be an extremely helpful step forward to revitalizing NYC’s small businesses..

“It’s really exciting and refreshing that Mayor Adams is right out the gate with this new administration,” said LeFrancois. “There are hundreds of thousands of businesses in the city so I imagine this is going to go a long way.”

Businesses in the Meatpacking District – as well as across the city – have been hard hit by the pandemic and initially struggled to safely accommodate patrons. But with “Small Business Forward”, owners are becoming more optimistic about their futures.

“There was a major crackdown on outdoor fines last year that was affecting communities in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan – particularly Chinatown,” said LeFrancois. “It was a huge huge burden because these fines were costing businesses money right as they had reopened their doors.

While Adams’ executive order figures to help jump start small businesses, LeFrancois believes there is still a lot of work to be done — namely through finding smart and safe ways to bring employees back to work.

“Our businesses employ New Yorkers,” said LeFrancois. “At the end of the day, this is about health and safety and keeping our communities bustling.”