The Mayor's Office for Small Business Services says two-thirds of the city's small business could close their door forever because of the pandemic. It is no secret that small businesses, the life blood of New York, employing nearly 52% of the city's workers, were decimated by COVID-19 and the lockdowns that came with it.
Bars were closed, restaurants were only open for takeaway and delivery, shops were shuttered for months. And while some businesses were able to avail themselves of PPP loans, many of the smallest businesses were left out in the cold, their employees joining the ranks of the unemployed.
Jim Gerding is one of the owners of Ryan's Daughter, a legendary Upper East Side pub that has been in existence since the '70s. He joined In Focus to talk about the challenges he faced when the city shut down. He considers himself lucky. His landlord was the pub's original owner and allowed them to slide on the rent, so he made the decision to close before the state told him he had to.
But he also talks about the struggles ahead, as low capacities and early closing hours means the walk-in trade that was so important to his business won't necessarily find a place in his pub.
Kamila Myzel's experience was quite different. Her small sweet shop is located on Manhattan's West Side in a mostly commercial neighborhood. When offices closed and employees began working from home, her trade just about disappeared. Her rent is months in arrears, and, because she has no full time workers, she had no access to PPP funds. She joined In Focus to talk about her struggle to keep her shop open, and what she fears might happen when eviction protection disappears, and the back rent comes due.