'Devastatingly terrible': Brooklyn business owners cope with ongoing pandemic impacts
As businesses continue to struggle and unemployment continues to rise, small business owners in Brooklyn are discussing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and what more is needed as they hope to make a comeback.
A year into the pandemic, and months after the state banned live performances, event venue Little Field in Gowanus sits empty, with flyers posted outside from their last event in March.
"In terms of real revenue, we haven't had any,” said co-owner Julie Kim.
Kim and Scott Koshnoodi are the co-owners of Little Field and the neighboring restaurant Parklife. They say they are struggling amid the COVID-19 restrictions.
"Devastatingly terrible. We've been shuttered for 10 months now -- without a show for 10 months, so it's hard to survive,” said Koshnoodi.
They join the long list of businesses laying off dozens of employees to stay afloat, as unemployment in the city is among the highest in the country, according to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
"The pandemic continues to drag on, and we're seeing the impacts on the economy. In December we saw a loss of jobs. We had seen increases in jobs up until December, but now the economy's slipping back,” said Randy Peers from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber has offered assistance, such as recovery loans, to more than 1,000 of the borough’s small businesses like Little Field and Parklife to help them survive.
Kim and Koshnoodi say they’re hoping for even more assistance to come from the government.
"We need grants now, specifically for independent venues. We don't know what nightlife and hospitality will be after COVID is done,” said Kim.
They say that as they wait for that assistance, the recent announcement for indoor dining to resume is a step in the right direction for their restaurant.