CEDARHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Island’s road to recovery from the pandemic has been hard for many small businesses waiting for relief funds.
Now, there’s concern the Delta variant surge could result in more setbacks.READ MORE: CDC Issues New COVID-19 Guidance For Holiday Season
Ten thousand small businesses closed on Long Island last year, and many are trying to mount comebacks.
“Now’s a great time to get off the couch,” said Eric Alexander with Vision Long Island. “There are job openings in just about every industry.”
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Tassel Children’s Shoes of Cedarhurst was the first among hundreds receiving Nassau recovery funding.
“We are going to use this money to help grow our businesses and get back to where we were pre-COVID,” said Aaron Shapiro, of Tassel Children’s Shoes.
“As much as we are talking about Boost Nassau, there are a lot of people out there that still don’t know about it,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.
Local chambers of commerce are going door-to-door to struggling moms and pops, encouraging those eligible to apply.READ MORE: New York Judge Suspends Father's Visitation Rights With Daughter Unless He Gets COVID Vaccine Or Subjects To Weekly Testing
“Hofstra’s research showed that small businesses were the first hit and the worst hit,” said Lawrence Levy, with the Hofstra University School of Public Policy.
According to the Long Island Association, 90% of Long Island businesses are small companies with fewer than 20 employees.
“This program is going to be a shot in the arm for those small businesses that are still recovering,” said Matt Cohen, with the Long Island Association.
Translation help is being offered to navigate the application process. Available languages include English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Urdu, Mandarin and Arabic.
Restaurant owners say they have endured onerous regulations and have had to act as “mask police” or vaccine checkers.
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In Hempstead, free outdoor dining permits are now extended through October 2022.
“It was an easy application. We just filled it out, went online and we printed it. Inspector came next day to approve it,” said Frank Borrelli, of Borrelli’s of East Meadow.
“One of the muggiest nights of the year, more people wanted to sit outside than wanted to sit in the luxury of air conditioning inside, and why is that? Because this pandemic is not over,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Donald Clavin said.MORE NEWS: FDA Advisers Back COVID-19 Booster Shots For Johnson & Johnson Recipients
The Delta variant is making recovery a rocky ride.