Citing the devastating effects of the pandemic and civil unrest, the New York City Business Improvement District Association today called on Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to implement a nine-point plan aimed at ensuring the vitality of businesses and the areas they serve.
“The city and state must find ways to stimulate commercial activity or we will continue to lose businesses and jobs at an alarming rate,” said Robert J. Benfatto, co-chair of the Association. “Our action plan offers a set of steps our government can take to stem the current financial freefall.”
Mr. Benfatto, who also serves as the executive director of the Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen Alliance, said the plan is designed to enable businesses, especially retail stores and restaurants, to restore their vitality and thereby speed up the city’s recovery. The plan asks for:
- The mayor to appoint one senior City Hall official to oversee a multi-agency business recovery effort
- Rent and mortgage relief to small business
- Expansion of the Open Restaurants program to other storefront businesses
- Maintaining existing siting criteria for mobile street vendors and to quickly develop new enforcement protocols since the NYPD has been relieved of jurisdiction
- The streamlining of the State Liquor Authority’s procedures to allow for quicker approval of temporary and permanent permits
- Activation of sales tax exemptions to spur retail activity
- Easing requirements to allow non-profit organizations which want to establish open-air markets and pop-ups in city parks and open spaces
- Holding customers and patrons—not businesses—responsible for their actions
- Continuous review and revision of outdated and burdensome rules and laws
The NYC BID Association represents 76 commercial districts in every borough where more than 93,000 business are located. Each member BID provides enhanced services such as security, sanitation, marketing, and streetscapes elements. Several major organizations are lending their support to the BID Association’s plan, including the NYC Chambers of Commerce in all five boroughs, the New York Building Congress, the National Restaurant Association, The New York State Restaurant Association, the New York City Hospitality Alliance, the National Supermarket Association, and the New York State Latino, Bar and Lounge Association.