Mayor Allocates $500K in Grants to Help Looted Stores in the Bronx

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New York City allocated $500,000 to offer grants to small businesses in the Bronx hit by vandals and looters this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today.

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Bronx businesses can receive up to $10,000 each in grants from the city to help them get back on their feet — including repairing damage and installing new locks — after dozens of businesses were looted Monday night.

“We’ll provide a variety of help to all those small businesses that were affected,” de Blasio said during a press conference. “Legal help, help getting their insurance; whatever it takes to get them back on their feet.”

New York City has seen days-long protests throughout the boroughs against police brutality after the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. 

While the vast majority of demonstrators have been peaceful, de Blasio said there was a “very small number” of people who vandalized shops across the city. In response, de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo instituted an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m curfew throughout the city until Sunday.

On Monday night, looters hit the Fordham neighborhood of the Bronx, smashing and grabbing from stores lining its main commercial artery, the New York Times reported. Compared to looted areas in Soho and Midtown with their concentration of chain stores, the shops in the Bronx are predominantly mom-and-pop operations owned by immigrants and minorities, the report said. 

De Blasio said the grants — which will be allocated through the New York City Mayor’s Fund — will only go towards businesses in the Bronx after calls from local elected officials and community members.

“There is something particular about the need for that community,” de Blasio said. “We’re not going to let it hold back the community.”

During the press conference, de Blasio said that the city was still on track to begin phase one of reopening Monday after the months-long coronavirus pandemic lockdown. The first phase will allow non-essential construction, manufacturing, wholesalers and retailers to reopen, though stores will only be allowed to switch to curbside or in-store pickups, and could see between 200,000 to 400,000 workers return, the New York Daily News reported.

The mayor also said that phase two will allow restaurants to return with outdoor seating and the city is offering resources to help eateries implement curbside dining.