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Economic Development

Posted on: June 1, 2020

Brookhaven Officials, Business Leaders Call for “Reopening Equity” for Local Retail Stores

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Farmingville, NY - On May 28, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine and all six members of the Town Council were joined by Bellport Mayor Ray Fell and local business owners to call for the reopening of all Long Island businesses and apply equal rules for all businesses. The group appealed to State and County officials to allow small retail businesses to fully open immediately, putting in place the same rules that large, “big box” retailers and other businesses have been operating under. The board and business leaders also stressed the need to reopen our economy responsibly by enforcing social distancing, mask requirements and regular sanitizing of high-touch surfaces. Pictured left to right behind Supervisor Romaine (center) are Deputy Supervisor, Councilman Dan Panico, Councilman Michael Loguercio, Councilman Neil Foley, Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, Councilwoman Jane Bonner and Councilman Kevin LaValle with local business owners.

Supervisor Romaine said, “I am very concerned about the prospects for the future of our small businesses. We need to be safe and we need to be smart, but we don’t need rules that work against mom and pop businesses when there’s no reason to do that. I ask the Governor and County Executive to take action now and help our small businesses and downtowns fully re-open again.”

Deputy Supervisor, Councilman Dan Panico said, “We came together not as Republicans and Democrats, but as local officials concerned for the survival of our small businesses and the glaring lack of equity in the Governor’s rules - allowing big box retailers to be open for weeks, but shuttering small businesses that sell the same merchandise. Allowing convenience stores with remarkable foot traffic to be open, but not allowing these small businesses that on their best day have a small fraction of that business. Long Island unemployment now stands at 16%. The people of our area have shown they are responsible and are wearing masks and doing what is being asked of them. The evidence is in the continued low daily numbers, as the daily positive rate now sits at only 2.4%.”

Councilwoman Valerie Cartright said, “As elected officials in the largest Town in Suffolk County, our front-line perspectives bring valuable insight as to what is happening on the ground. Our community and our businesses are suffering as a result of COVID-19. We are asking the State to take a different approach when reopening businesses and use a more objective standard, such as the square footage recommendation made by the Town a few weeks ago. This will place our small businesses on more equal footing with the other larger and big box businesses. We have an obligation to our constituency to make sure that we do not create laws and policies that have ‘disproportionate impacts’ and that these laws and policies are applied and enforced in a consistent, equal, and fair manner.”

Councilwoman Jane Bonner said, “As elected officials, we have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of our residents. We flattened the curve and now is the time to address the health of our local economy. Main Street businesses need to be open responsibly and get their employees back to work. We are here to support you and your business any way we can.”

Councilman Kevin LaValle said, “Right now, big box stores can go on with their business while our mom and pop stores don’t even have the opportunity to make a living. This must stop and we need to give them a fighting chance to work and provide for their families. They need our support, and I will do whatever I can to help end this shut down and move our local economy forward.”

Councilman Michael Loguercio said, “All businesses are essential, especially those that are owned and operated by our friends, neighbors and family members. We need to help them survive because they help us survive. It may be a hard road ahead, but they can count on my support and that of my colleagues on the Town Board. We are here as one behind all of them.”

Councilman Neil Foley said, Councilman Neil Foley said, “Thousands of restaurant workers are unemployed and struggling to pay their bills, pay their mortgage or even feed their families. They are the backbone of our local economy and we need to allow them back to work. We need to open up so people in Brookhaven and all over New York State can move on with their lives.”

PRess conference group photo

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