Push to end NY's coronavirus business shutdown gains momentum

Local leaders have said steps toward reopening could begin in June

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As states across the country begin to slowly reopen their economies, business owners in New York, which had the most severe coronavirus outbreak, are getting restless as local lockdown orders remain in place.

A group called ReOpen NY, which consists of small business owners, held an event in front of the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday, pleading their case to have coronavirus-related restrictions on their establishments lifted.

They are asking for business owners to sign on to a letter they are sending to New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow them to “reopen safely and carefully.”

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A City Councilman from Brooklyn on Thursday told the New York Post he is asking Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to allow mom-and-pop shops that did not receive government loans to reopen.

De Blasio said Thursday that “small smart steps” toward a reopening would likely begin next month.

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During a press conference Thursday, Cuomo said state leaders are trying to find a “balance” between “financial ruin” and death, adding that decisions regarding a reopening were based on data and science.

“If you make those numbers tomorrow, you open tomorrow,” Cuomo said. “If you make them in a month, then you reopen in a month, but you don’t reopen until you can reopen safely because the last thing we want is to go back where we were.”

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He also said summer school would not reopen for in-class teaching – and said a decision had not yet been made about opening up schools for the fall.

ReOpen NY also alleges there has been a double standard in the way businesses have been treated, as big-box stores like Target have been permitted to keep operating but small mom-and-pop stores were forced to close.

Cuomo has said New York state needs about $61 billion in federal support or it faces spending cuts of about 20 percent. That would affect institutions ranging from schools to local governments to hospitals.

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