Late to the party on small business
When the city fi nally got the greenlight
to reopen outdoor dining
on June 22 of this year, they were
For weeks, city offi cials laid the groundwork
and cut through bureaucratic red tape
in order for mom-and-pop eateries to reopen
and bring back as many customers as they
The highlight of the plan was to close
traffi c lanes so restaurants could set up nicesized
patio space to seat plenty of customers
and make up some of the losses suffered at
the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled “Open
Storefronts” on Oct. 28, which hopes to
boost New York City merchants during the
holiday season by allowing shops to set up
sidewalk displays as much as fi ve feet out
on the sidewalk.
This will enable more customers to
browse on the street rather than risk walking
inside a store. De Blasio said this would
prove to be a shot in the arm for struggling
businesses, especially as the holiday shopping
We’re not against the idea, by any stretch
— but we wonder why it took so long to
The nip of autumn has been in the air
for weeks now; things will only get colder,
and potentially snowier, as the holidays approach.
Our hibernating instincts will kick
in, and fewer people will want to be out in
dreary, wintry conditions.
The fact is, New York was unreasonably
late to the party when it comes to this Open
Storefronts plan. The de Blasio Administration’s
apparent lack of foresight, which
should have planned this initiative months
ago and enacted it alongside outdoor dining
all the way back in June, caused easily avoidable
pain to shopkeepers across this city.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted
every facet of life and the economy. Giving
small businesses every possible avenue
of opportunity to recoup their losses and
recover should be paramount for this
There’s as much risk in permitting more
outdoor business displays as there was in
expanding outdoor dining. The potential
benefi ts far outweigh any downside.
It’s both puzzling and troubling that this
plan was overlooked for so long — and is
now being implemented far too late to have
any real impact on businesses struggling to
We wish the merchants who use the Open
Storefronts program luck.
Delivering for America
BY CONGRESSWOMAN CAROLYN
The United States Postal Service is a
critical component of our national
infrastructure, providing a lifeline
of medications, supplies, and mail for all
Americans—no matter where they live.
The Postal Service has become even more
important as our nation contends with the
COVID-19 pandemic and the November
election in which more Americans will cast
mail-in ballots than ever before.
So, alarm bells went off this summer
when newly installed Postmaster General
Louis DeJoy oversaw sweeping changes to
the Postal Service without fi rst consulting
with Congress or stakeholders.
Last week, the Postal Service Inspector
General released a report on these disastrous
operational changes, confi rming they
were hastily implemented without analysis
of their potential impact. This, of course,
played a major role in the serious delays
we are still witnessing across the country.
The report found: “The collective results
of these initiatives, combined with the
ongoing employee availability challenges
resulting from the pandemic, negatively
impacted the quality and timeliness of mail
delivery nationally. The Postal Service’s
mail service performance signifi cantly
dropped beginning in July 2020, directly
corresponding to implementation of the
operational changes and initiatives.”
As the nation began to see this drop off
in performance, the Committee on Oversight
and Reform, which I chair, began
working to hold the Postmaster General
accountable for these operational changes
and to fi nd out how these changes were
implemented, and why.
On Aug. 24, 2020, I held a hearing during
which the Postmaster General and the
Chairman of the Postal Service Board of
Governors both failed to provide adequate
answers as to why these changes were made
without any consultation or analysis.
In last week’s report, the Inspector General
also found that the Postal Service was
not fully forthcoming with Congress and
the American people, calling into question
whether the Postmaster General is continuing
to mislead Congress and the American
people to this day.
On Sept. 2, 2020, the Committee issued
a subpoena to Postmaster General DeJoy
for documents related to these delays.
Millions of people rely on the Postal
Service every day to communicate, to receive
critical medications, and to vote. At
this juncture in our nation’s history, when
the number of Americans voting by mail
for this Presidential election is expected to
more than double from the last election, it
is up to Congress to protect the right of all
eligible citizens to have their vote counted.
A once-in-a-century pandemic is no time
to enact changes that threaten service reliability
Our Postal Service should not be an
instrument of partisan politics, but instead
must be protected as an independent
agency that focuses on delivering the mail.
And the courts agree. Multiple federal
judges have ordered the Postal Service to
halt these changes. Unfortunately, as the
Inspector General’s report shows, service
levels have not yet been fully restored.
This is why the Senate needs to pass my
Delivering for America Act immediately.
My bill, which the House passed with bipartisan
support in August, will restore
service to pre-DeJoy levels, return service
standards to where they were on January
1, 2020, and keep them in place until this
As Americans continue to rely on their
mail for lifesaving services, we know that
“neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom
of night” will stop our postal employees
from doing their jobs. It’s up to Congress
to ensure that the Postmaster General does
not stop them either.
Maloney chairs the House Committee
on Oversight and Reform.
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8 November 5, 2020 Schneps Media