Time to Demand Cuomo and de Blasio Protect Workers and Small Businesses in Reopening Plan (OP-ED)

Posted on: May 29th, 2020 at 5:17 am by

Photo: Eddie Panta

The following editorial was written by Zishun Ning of the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side.

The New York City and State governments are still failing to protect people’s health and livelihood after two months of “PAUSE.”

The number of deaths and infections remain high. Patients with COVID-19 are still turned away, despite lower hospitalization rates and instead told to self-quarantine; healthcare workers are still not given enough protective gear (PPE) to stay safe; it is still difficult to maintain social distancing in public transit; and many laid-off workers are still not able to get unemployment insurance.

Despite these problems, Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo are rushing to reopen both City and State.

Reopening prematurely will only cause a spike in cases and deaths, as Texas has demonstrated. Workers are now facing the difficult choice of forfeiting unemployment insurance or risk going back to work and contracting coronavirus. Small businesses, struggling without sufficient relief, face shutting down permanently or reopening before deemed safe. It’s a cruel choice that could harm and displace the community.

The government had similarly reopened Lower Manhattan after 9/11. They told residents and workers the air was safe because they prioritized the economy and real estate. Nearly two decades later, the community saw many deaths and serious chronic illnesses as a result of the government’s rush to return.

Likewise, de Blasio and Cuomo’s call to reopen amid the pandemic shows they have little concern for citizens’ wellbeing. Instead, they lean on rich donors and developers to formulate reopening plans that focus on accumulating more power for the rich and more suffering for our communities. Luxury development will resume right at the beginning phase. It will be a continuation of their displacement agenda that has been dividing and pushing out communities across the City–especially communities of color–to maintain developers’ profits.

We can’t risk our lives to fuel the upper class profit-making machine. We, the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side demand Mayor de Blasio and Cuomo stop the reopening plan, and instead, take action to protect workers and small businesses, including establishing relief funds for workers and small businesses to cover living expenses regardless of immigration status, setting up facilities for people to be quarantined and treated immediately, and providing enough PPE for healthcare workers to stay safe.

Recent Stories

‘26Red’ Revives ‘90s Streetwear with Orchard Street Boutique

The nineties called, it wants its apparel brand back. Indeed, the recent resurgence of 26Red this year – revived from obscurity by owner John Bernard – has resulted in a new Lower East Side boutique. There is now a dedicated, 600 square-foot store at 145 Orchard Street in Hell Square. (Inside the former DaRucci leather […]

101 Delancey Street Sells for $10.4M

An anchor tenement on situated on Delancey Street within the orbit of Essex Crossing just changed hands. The pre-war “Karg Building” at 101 Delancey – with Popeyes and HSBC bank on the ground floor – is now under the ownership of investor Zack Hering of 33 Equities. His company spent $10.4 million on the transaction. […]

Armed Man in Wheelchair Fires Shots into Crowd on Madison Street

An armed man in a wheelchair allegedly fired shots into a crowd of people outside a Lower East Side bodega Friday night, police said. Leroy Mensah, 28, brandished a (stolen) 9mm gun outside the Stop 1 Deli on Madison Street and Rutgers Street shortly before 10:00pm on Friday. Officers on patrol reportedly chased down the […]

City Preps East River Park Demolition Ahead of Coastal Resiliency Project

It has come to this. The southern section of East River Park is now fenced off, ready for its destruction and rebirth. Barely a week after a temporary restraining order in place since November was overturned on appeal, the city is now ready to begin resiliency work inside East River Park. Fences are up and […]

Homeless Shelter for Chinatown Elderly Planned for East Broadway

Following a trend set during the pandemic, a former Chinatown hotel will soon be reborn as a homeless shelter. Nonprofits Asian Americans for Equality and Care for the Homeless have partnered to create the new “Safe Haven” facility, located in the former Hotel 91 on East Broadway. According to its FAQ mailer, the new safe […]