BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Assemblymember Monica Wallace has called on New York State officials to avoid shutting down small retail businesses during the holiday season.
Wallace says with COVID-19 cases increasing across the nation and here in Western New York everyone must do what they can to strop the spread. According to Wallace, when officials consider if and how to impose additional restrictions they must ensure the restrictions don't disadvantage small retailers over big-box stores.
In a statement Wallace said:
"For that reason, I’m urging state officials to avoid imposing a shutdown of small retail businesses during the holiday season. Most small retailers rely on holiday sales to keep them financially viable throughout the year. A shutdown for the next month would cripple struggling small retailers and devastate 'Main Street' communities throughout Western New York.
Retail businesses have not been identified as major sources of spread. Closing small retail stores while allowing big-box stores like Target and Wal-Mart to operate will only shift more shoppers to fewer retailers. Crowding more shoppers into a handful of big-box stores will not mitigate the spread of the virus and will do more economic harm than public good.
I urge everyone to adhere to public health guidance and avoid all large indoor gatherings, including our cherished holiday celebrations. Contact tracing has identified private gatherings as a major source of COVID spread. By following the public health guidance, we can save lives, support frontline healthcare workers, and help keep small businesses open.”
On November 18 parts of Erie County were designated an Orange Zone, and the rest of the county, along with North Tonawanda and part of Wheatfield in Niagara County, was designated a Yellow Zone.
The Orange and Yellow Zones have placed restrictions on some businesses and have caused others to close.
Although Governor Andrew Cuomo previously said parts of Erie County were on track to become a Red Zone, he did not announce a change in the designation of zones this week and said the state will continue to monitor the numbers over Thanksgiving.
if an area is designated a Red Zone these are the restrictions it would see, according to governor's office:
- Houses of worship operate at 25% capacity or 10 people maximum.
- Mass gatherings are prohibited.
- Only essential business can be open.
- Restaurants can only offer takeout.
- Schools are closed and shift to remote learning.