NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – Numbers of those testing positive for the coronavirus on Long Island are rising above 200.
Five elderly people died in Nassau and Suffolk county hospitals over two days.
A run on grocery staples continues, now joined by long lines for guns and ammunition, but Long Island leaders are urging calm, saying the best weapon against the virus continues to be social distancing while supporting our local communities.
“We need to focus on public health. We hear a lot about the economic impacts to Wall Street, but we really need to talk about Main Street,” said Eric Alexander, with Vision Long Island.
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Prices for lobster and other fish are plunging on Long Island as export markets see declines.
“Canadians can’t ship anymore. No one is shipping to China,” said Stephen Jordan, of Jordan Lobster Farms. “Now the prices went from $12 wholesale down to $5, $6. It’s crazy, so we are going to put a big sale out.”
At Jordan’s Lobster of Island Park, a markdown on seafood for local buyers isn’t necessarily a good sign for the family-run business.
“If we don’t support the retailers today, we may not find them here six months from now,” Long Beach shopper Rich Kamzan told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Social distancing protocol is easy, say small business owners who allow in a few shoppers at a time to grab and go.
Nassau and Suffolk are working to determine the financial hit the epidemic will cause.
“We don’t know the full economic impact yet, but I predict that it will be brutal,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.
An economic advisory council will track, calculate and work to recoup losses for business with federal recovery funds.
“From the hotel industry and the restaurants and spas … at this point, our businesses are down over 90%,” said Alan Mindel, with Samar Hospitality, Long Island.
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Business leaders plan to combine data on losses.
“What we need from the federal government to recover. We need to track it so we can be specific, even as this crisis continues to unfold,” Curran said.
But small business owners are unsure how long they can weather the storm.