New York City council member proposes Covid-19 relief plan for small businesses
Mar 24, 2020
New York City Council has proposed a relief plan estimated to cost $12 billion over six months to help the city's businesses and individuals impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak.
The plan, introduced by Council Speaker Corey Johnson on March 19, proposes multiple points of financial assistance, including a temporary universal basic income across all five boroughs which would allow $550 per month for every adult resident and $275 per month for every child resident.
In addition, the plan proposes temporary fee deferments and business tax refunds for struggling businesses, and would build on the city's small business loan program to provide up to $250,000 per business to cover fixed costs. The plan would also provide assistance to freelance workers, members of the gig economy and workers who have experienced reduced hours.
At the time of the plan's introduction, the Council estimated that over 500,000 workers and more than 40,000 businesses are in the industries hardest hit during the Covid-19 crisis, including restaurants, bars and nightlife establishments. These businesses generated $40 billion in taxable sales last year.
“This is a crisis unlike any we’ve ever seen," Johnson said. "The difficult steps we’ve taken to protect ourselves and others are necessary, including social distancing and mandatory closures, but they are devastating our businesses and workers in every corner of the city. The hospitality industry has been the most high-profile industry impacted, but gyms, performance venues, salons, retail shops and many other types of businesses are shuttering or close to it. This plan will provide relief not just for our economy, but also for the small businesses and workers that are the heart and soul of New York City."
On March 18, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed emergency legislation guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of Covid-19.
The day after the speaker's proposal, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order mandating all non-essential businesses statewide to close in-office personnel functions, effective March 22.
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