SEE IT: Bronx Businesses Struggling to Survive Ignore Phase 1 Reopening Guidelines

As New York City businesses that are allowed to reopen under Phase 1 as per New York State guidelines opened their doors, many at The Hub in The Bronx are simply ignoring the guidance provided to safely do so.

Some of these businesses even continued to operate during the shutdown despite the threats of fines.

Some businesses along Third Avenue have been open all along with the gate raised halfway just to give the illusion that they are closed.

Conversations with several of these owners who do not wish to be identified simply revealed that most were frustrated with government response to the coronavirus pandemic and lack of assistance to small businesses. Businesses in The Bronx were particularly neglected during the first round of disbursement of $8 million relief loans which of which 66% went to Manhattan business and less than 1% went to Bronx businesses—a paltry $80,000.

This left many business owners ignoring social distancing and shut down regulations in order to make ends meet.

Others have been adhering to strict curbside pick up only.

It was either that or lose their businesses entirely. Either way it was another indication that whatever systems were supposed to be in place to project everyone was either simply not working or didn’t exist.

Now on the first day of Phase 1 reopening in New York City after almost 3 months of shutting down all but essential businesses and services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses that are supposed to be providing ONLY curbside pick-ups are simply ignoring the guidance and allowing people to come inside and shop around.

A customer waiting for his purchase at Gamestop on Westchester Avenue at The Hub.

Some are doing so by practicing social distancing guidelines limiting the number capacity by restricting entrance to anywhere from 2 to 5 people depending on the size of the stores while others are just letting people in like pre-coronavirus days.

But where do we place the blame?

Can’t really fault them for struggling to survive given that they still have to pay rents on their storefronts, feed their families, pay rents or mortgages where they live.

This is what happens when we let capitalism and corporate greed elect our politicians and write out laws: The 99% gets shafted.

It’s not that they want to work during a deadly pandemic is that they have no choice with zero protections and functional healthcare system to lean back on.

Hopefully in two weeks we won’t see increases in hospitalization rates due to the coronavirus.

At least most were wearing their masks inside stores.

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.