The New York state Senate on Tuesday plans to pass a measure designed to protect small businesses struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic from evictions weeks after lawmakers acted on similar legislation to aid residential tenants.
The proposal is expected to be included in a package of bills aimed at supporting small businesses during the economic crisis that has led to a wave of business failures and a spike in unemployment.
"This pandemic has devastated our business," said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. "Closed signs and boarded up windows have become all too common on main streets and business districts across this state. Our small businesses are the backbone of our communities and they are suffering. We are going to step up and protect them and make sure that they don't face eviction or foreclosure."
The bill would affect small business 50 or less workers that can demonstrate a financial hardship. It also would extend foreclosure protections for small businesses that have 10 or less units to May 2 of this year.
The small business legislation is being prepared in New York after Congress approved another round of COVID-19 stimulus last month, including more support for the Paycheck Protection Program amid a year-end rise in COVID-19 cases around the country.
The financial toll taken on business owners and working people alike has led to unprecedented measures to stave off foreclosures and evictions.
Lawmakers say the bill is meant to build on a similar measure approved late last year that strengthened evictions protections for residential tenants in the state that was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our community and our state economy, and we need to give them an opportunity to get back on their feet without the looming threat of being closed down for good just because they’ve fallen behind during the pandemic," said Sen. Anna Kaplan, a Long Island Democrat who is sponsoring the legislation. "My bill will hit the pause button on eviction and foreclosure proceedings for small businesses so they can have a shot at survival, and I thank Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins for prioritizing its passage along with other critically needed legislation to help save our small businesses.”