In order to help small businesses adjust to new public health requirements as commercial districts reopen for business, PSEG Long Island is encouraging chambers of commerce and business …
In order to help small businesses adjust to new public health requirements as commercial districts reopen for business, PSEG Long Island is encouraging chambers of commerce and business improvement districts to apply for a Main Street revitalization grant.
As of last week, PSEG’s John Keating said five chambers’ applications have been approved, and several others are amid discussion for up to $5,000 of reimbursed funds for outdoor amenities and items in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 while allowing businesses to be open and residents to dine/shop.
“We created the Main Street Revitalization Program because we know that small businesses are the backbone of Long Island’s economy. If they thrive, we all thrive,” said Keating, manager of economic development for PSEG Long Island. “The pandemic has affected businesses in many ways and the intent of this program is to help them succeed, as our communities reopen for business.”
Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce has submitted an application, but has not yet had much conversation with the energy company after the fact, aside from a confirmation of receipt. Chamber president Eileen Tyznar said that the chamber was heavily involved in assisting Sayville businesses adapt to outdoor dining when the state announced the degree of clearance to conduct business entering Phase 2.
“We were helping them fill out their applications to make their seating work,” Tyznar said. “In the interim, we lent some of [the chamber’s] canopies, tables, and chairs. It would be wonderful to get this grant so [the businesses] can purchase [the items]. We don’t know if there will be another wave or decreasing the indoor capacity again if there is an uptick.”
Now that indoor and outdoor dining are both permitted to some degree, Tyznar voiced that local businesses are eager to transition back to permitting full capacity of their establishments, noting multiple benefits to the businesses being allowed to do so.
“Some people are still hesitant and would rather be in the fresh air for social distancing. [It has been] challenging with heat and the outdoor dining space being limited,” she said, continuing on to point out the burden on servers in restaurants.
The Bayport-Blue Point Chamber of Commerce’s president Carol Seitz said that there has been no significant feedback from the local businesses as of yet regarding the grant offered by the electric company. She explained that the chamber has not had a meeting since March.
However, a Zoom meeting has been scheduled for the end of the month of July.
“That is when we will get feedback on that,” Seitz said, adding that the chamber does not plan on meeting in person until the fall season, at the earliest, due to the health concerns revolving COVID-19.
Keating noted that there is no cemented deadline for applications, but envisions the program to be available for roughly 90 days past June 18, when the grant was announced.