By COLlive reporter
Leave it to Mayor Bill de Blasio to come up with a ludicrous explanation as to why shuls and small businesses in New York City can’t reopen while adhering to physical distance and health guidelines.
During a press briefing at City Hall on Tuesday, de Blasio was asked the following question by a reporter of the Hamodia newspaper:
“Good morning, Mr. Mayor, I wanted to ask very quickly since essential workers are allowed to be out during the curfew, if the Uber’s and trains and taxis will be allowed to run? My main question is this, why recommended that protesters stay home, for others in the city, even forced gathering bans, not recommendations.
“The retail store owners have been closed for two months. It was experiencing financial ruins, been banned from opening a store. People from attending houses of worship, our regular part of life, have been banned from doing so with more than ten people. Now you’ve expressed solidarity with this particular protest cause, is that why it’s been given dispensation to disregard epidemic guidelines?
“I know you were asked about this yesterday and you said there’s such pain and anger and you don’t want people to hear that as you’re not hearing their concerns. What about the retail store owner facing imminent financial ruin or the religious person who cannot in the house of worship? What about their pain and anger? So Mr. Mayor, are we in a pandemic or not? And do we have one set of rules of protestors and another for everyone else? Thank you.”
The Mayor answered: “I’m going to tell you that anyone who thinks there’s different rules for different people, again, is not trying very hard to see the reality. And I’m just not going to hold back. If you guys want to really work hard to miss the reality, be my guest, but everyday New Yorkers can see what’s going on. We’re in the middle of a national crisis, a deep-seated national crisis. There is no comparison. I’m sorry, I do feel for the store owners. I really do. I know a lot of store owners and I’m so happy that on Monday, we’re going to start to open up the minute we thought we could give relief.”
He then added, “When you see a nation, an entire nation simultaneously grappling with an extraordinary crisis seeded in 400 years of American racism. I’m sorry. That is not the same question, as the understandably aggrieved store owner, or the devout religious person who wants to go back to services.
“This is something that’s not about which side of the spectrum you’re on. It’s about a deep, deep American crisis, we have never seen anything quite like what we’ve seen in the last few days. This is a powerful, painful historical moment. So now I have eyes to see – we’re not going to treat it like it’s just any other day, we’re not going to treat it. Like why are people outside the bars and not notice that all of America is grappling simultaneously with a horrible crisis? Sorry guys, there’s a world outside New York City. So we’re dealing with this.
“I want to turn the page as quickly as possible, but we’re not going to ignore the reality. Monday, we restart, and that relief is coming for those small business owners very quickly – on Monday, they can do curbside pickup. They can do pickup at the stores. That’s going to start to relief – if we do things right, notwithstanding, I’m worried again about the health impact here, but it’s only been a few days.”
In a public letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein and Councilman Kalman Yeger urged the immediate and unrestricted reopening of the State of New York on behalf of their constituents.
Eichenstein represents the 48th Assembly District which includes Borough Park and Midwood, while Yeger represents the 44th Council District which includes Borough Park, Midwood, Bensonhurst, Gravesend and Kensington. Both heard calls by small business owners to allow their operation.
“Most small business owners get it. They are aware of the need to be safe, even while going about their business,” they wrote, noting that New York’s rate of Covid-19 infection is at its lowest since the outbreak began.
What is more, they said in reference to the protest over the death of George Floyd, “the lockdown may not have formally ended, but the calls for mass peaceful marching without any regard for social-distancing have rendered a continued lockdown at this point ludicrous.”
“Governor, it is now time to reopen New York,” they wrote. “It is time to bring us back to as normal as we can achieve. You must allow our small businesses to rebuild, to the extent still possible; our children to resume their growth and education; our society to flourish once again.
“New Yorkers are unemployed, broke, anxious and emotionally drained. We need an infusion of hope, a burst of energy, a restoration of normalcy. Our neighbors need their lives back fully and completely. We need to heal. The only way for any of this to happen is to allow for an unmitigated reopening. Now is the time to revitalize and restore New York’s greatness; to restart the economic engine that once fueled the nation.”
Video: Different rules for different people
Shameful day & night for our beloved city. Mothers & children evicted from parks in Williamsburg during daylight hours while Manhattan burns after dark. Yes Mr. Mayor a tale of two cities is the sad reality. pic.twitter.com/8IRfJrzsRf
— Chaskel Bennett (@ChaskelBennett) June 2, 2020