MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Mar. 17, 2020

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De Blasio Announces Closure of Bars, Restaurants, Entertainment Venues

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: William Alatriste)
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced on Sunday that, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, he would sign an Executive Order limiting the services of bars restaurants, and entertainment centers.

Starting today at 9 a.m., restaurants and cafés will be limited to take-out and delivery. Nightclubs, theaters, concert venues and bars that do not serve food will have to close entirely.

“This is not a decision I make lightly,” said de Blasio. “These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker. But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality. We will come through this, but until we do, we must make whatever sacrifices necessary to help our fellow New Yorkers.”

Rodriguez, Menchaca Call on Mayor to Decriminalize Motor Scooters for Delivery Workers

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

Yesterday, Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights, Inwood) and Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn) wrote a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), urging him to decriminalize motor scooters during the COVID-19 crisis.

Going forward, restaurants will rely heavily on delivery services to alleviate their net losses in revenue during the crisis. The letter points out that delivery workers – who are predominantly immigrants – will not have the privilege of self-quarantining during these times.

“These workers will not have the luxury of self-quarantining, and the precariousness of their jobs underscores that fact,” reads the letter. “We must provide them and their families with the certainty that the NYPD will not use this moment as an opportunity to crack down on the technology they are using to keep us fed.”

Johnson Writes Opinion Piece on Supporting Businesses During COVID-19 Pandemic

Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

Yesterday, Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) published an article on Medium about how we can continue to support local businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

In the article, Johnson identifies several preliminary steps we should take to keep our businesses afloat, including pausing and deferring fines and fees that they owe to the City; broadening the new grant and loan program for small businesses impacted by COVID-19; and ensuring that businesses continue to take necessary health precautions to protect their workers and customers from infection.

“The challenges before us are enormous, and will require hard work, sacrifice and a collective response prioritizing the common good,” said Johnson. “The days ahead will not be easy. But New York City has faced adversity before, and come out stronger than ever. We can again do it again by sticking together and looking out for one another.”

Read the full article here.