New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told a New York radio audience businesses in the city are “hanging on” and they’ll be able to stay closed for several months.
“I’ve talked to lots and lots of business leaders, especially the smallest businesses. They’re very worried about their futures understandably, but they also are hanging on and they know it can be a matter of months until they’ll be back in action,” de Blasio said on WNYC Friday.
Meanwhile, back on planet earth, The National Restaurant Association predicted that 11 percent of New York’s 25,000 restaurants will permanently close by the end of May and the entire travel and leisure industry will lose up to 68 percent of its jobs.
A caller named Cassius from Brooklyn urged Hizzoner to “take a more surgical approach” to the city’s COVID-19 response by finding a way to protect the elderly and health care workers while allowing businesses to reopen.
“We’re on the precipice of destroying the whole city basically,” Cassius said.
“I couldn’t disagree more with that core analysis,” de Blasio responded.
Actually, that “core analysis” sounds pretty spot on to me. If de Blasio doesn’t change course soon, the “city that never sleeps” will become “the city that never wakes up.’
“Rushing back is consistently proven to have the boomerang effect and make things worse and cause bigger shutdowns because it’s not just about a small number of particularly vulnerable people,” de Blasio said.
He dismissed the caller’s “doomsday” concerns, even though a new analysis of state Department of Labor data by the independent nonprofit the Empire Center found the city lost 24.5% of private-sector jobs during the crisis.
How many examples are there in history that have “consistently proven” anything about this situation? That’s what “unprecedented” means, Billy. It’s never happened before. The shutdown, when you strip away all the rhetoric, is just one, big, gigantic social experiment.
And we’re the guinea pigs.
City Councilman Mark Gjonaj blasted the mayor’s remarks.
“Out of all the things that have come out of his mouth, this is the most outrageous. He lives in a de Blasio land. That is the furthest thing from the truth,” said the Bronx Democrat, who chairs the council’s small business committee.
“He is not in touch with reality and all he has to do is walk down a commercial corridor to understand what is happening to our small businesses,” Gjonaj said.
“He is setting up the city for failure. He’s going to leave City Hall in the [worst] condition that this city has experienced since World War II and the Great Depression,” he said.
de Blasio is a man who has never worked in the private sector, never owned a business, never met a payroll. His entire life has been spent in government jobs, sinecures that did not prepare him to deal with a crisis of this magnitude.
Naturally, he hasn’t a clue how the private sector is being destroyed in this pandemic. Government jobs are dependent on government funding and the government never, ever runs out money.
But small businesses do run out of money, and they are running out of it right now. And if de Blasio doesn’t act soon, the city will suffer a blow from which it may never recover.
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