NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The unemployment rate fell to just over 11% with a better-than-expected 4.8 million jobs added in June.

It’s a great sign for the economy, but still, many businesses are shutting down or fear that’s coming.

Billy De La Rosa doesn’t know how much longer he can sustain keeping his two West Side fitness centers closed.

“We’ve been closed for almost four months, which means bills keep piling up,” he told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.

One location, named SPOT, opened just months before COVID hit.

“The pandemic has been hard on many fronts. We employ 18 employees, everyone’s unemployed as of right now,” De La Rosa said.

Billy De La Rosa color-coded sections at his fitness center “SPOT” to promote social distancing. (Credit: CBS2)

But with optimism, he’s been getting the gym ready for a safe reopening, including a special system for socially distant workouts.

“We have it color-coded, so you’ll be able to see if you’re in the blue section, this whole entire blue section, this belongs to you,” De La Rosa said.

All these changes have been put in place, but it’s unclear when members can come back because gyms have been excluded from Phase 4 Reopening.

“There should be some kind of trust from the government that local business owners, especially boutique fitness gyms where we have small capacity as it is,” De La Rosa said. “I was devastated. I have two small kids, a 6-year-old and 4-year-old, and I have to tell myself, I’m also unemployed, how am I gonna provide for my family?”

A question many Americans are asking.


But Thursday, President Donald Trump shared some good news.

“The United States economy has added almost 5 million new jobs in the month of June,” Trump said.

Still, 1.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.

Of those 1.4 million, 14,000 of them are in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Randy Peers says it’s a “small business economy.”

“Neighborhood retail, it’s got restaurant and hospitality businesses, you’ve got arts and entertainment … and those are the ones that have been impacted the most by the shutdown,” he said. “We estimate that a third of our businesses may not come back.”

That means those jobs won’t come back either unless these businesses can get more help. Peers says, a big challenge is rent.

“About 45% of our small businesses missed some of those rent payments over the course of those three months and only 21% of landlords provided any type of rent concession,” he said.

That’s a struggle for De La Rosa, too, who says without small businesses, the city will “completely change” unless he and many others can open their doors soon.


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