Rep. Maloney and Lower Manhattan Small Businesses Highlight Need for Pandemic Risk Insurance Act, Senate Passage of COVID-19 Relief

Nov 22, 2020
Press Release

NEW YORK, NY – This afternoon, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined Lower Manhattan small businesses and NYC Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Jonnel Doris to demand that Mitch McConnell and the U.S. Senate pass crucially needed COVID-19 relief. 

New York City’s economic recovery requires passage of the Heroes Act, which has been sitting on McConnell’s desk since May 2020. The House also passed an updated version of this bill in October. This package would provide critical aid to small businesses and their hardworking employees by replenishing the Paycheck Protection Program, providing rent relief, and funding the MTA.  All of these provisions are essential for small businesses’ survival.

In addition to passing the Heroes Act, Congresswoman Maloney is working to pass H.R. 7011, the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA), to create a system of shared public and private compensation for business interruption losses that would protect businesses from future pandemics and public health emergencies. The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on this legislation on Thursday, November 19.


“If our small businesses and its employees do not get relief, we will sink into a depression,” said Rep. Maloney. “We need a two-pronged approach to this crisis; first, we need additional short-term relief to help keep our great small businesses alive, and second, we need a framework to provide relief in the long-term when a pandemic like COVID-19 hits. PRIA will provide a framework for small businesses to get the relief they need, without having to wait for Congress to pass another emergency bill. Our city and nation depend on it.”

“The City's economic backbone was built upon the great diversity of its 240,000 small businesses, and SBS has been there for them since the beginning of the pandemic,' said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. These businesses have contributed to the strength and character of our neighborhoods and represent thousands of hard-working New Yorkers. They desperately need help from the federal stimulus in the Heroes Act, and they need it now.”

“Small independent businesses are the lifeblood of New York City’s ecosystem,” said Nancy Bass Wyden, owner of The Strand Bookstore. "The Strand, which has been in my family for 93 years, has survived the depression, two World Wars, and 9/11 - but businesses like ours do not have the resources to survive this pandemic. The insurmountable challenges include a tremendous loss of foot traffic and economic dislocation for an extended period of time. If we do not receive additional aid, New York will be overrun with chains, and the mom and pop businesses we love so much will not be around. That’s not the New York I know and love."

“We have been waiting for help whereas the big companies have gotten support,” said Mikey Cole, owner of Mikey Likes it Ice Cream. “Even though it is hard to stay positive, we lead with our hearts and continue to  serve the community with a smile while we see fellow small business owners closing down.”

“This year marks Veselka’s 66th year in operation. We’ve been through a lot – we’ve stayed open through blackouts, water main breaks, hurricanes, fires and more,” said Tom Birchard, owner of Veselka.  “But this is the first time we’ve faced the potential end of the road. We don’t know of anybody who says business is more important than health. Health and business go together. In good times, neighborhoods keep businesses alive. When things get tough, small businesses keep their neighborhoods going.”

Both the Heroes Act and PRIA are critical to addressing the current crisis and creating a foundation of protection in the event of future pandemics and any resurgences of COVID-19.

Bill text of PRIA can be found here.

 

Background

During the COVID-19 crisis, Congresswoman Maloney has been a vocal champion of federal support for New York City small businesses.  She is a proud supporter of the CARES Act and Heroes Act and has called for extensions and expansions of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

Throughout the pandemic, Congresswoman Maloney has had ongoing dialogues with the North Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan Chambers of Commerce. She has also hosted several townhalls with NY-12 constituents and small business owners and has attended townhalls to discuss relief for small businesses in the district with the Queens Chamber of Commerce, Manhattan Community Board Five, Lower East Side Business Improvement District, the North Brooklyn Small Business Forum, the New York City Employment and Training Coalition, and others.

Following these conversations, many of which highlighted the vital need for business interruption insurance to include coverage for pandemics, she introduced the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA). The legislation is based on her successful post-9/11 Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. This legislation will create the Pandemic Risk Reinsurance Program, a system of shared public and private compensation for business interruption losses resulting from future pandemics or public health emergencies.

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