THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE
RDRC’s COVID-19 Resources/Program Listing For Local Businesses
The COVID-19 Pandemic left the overwhelming majority of the Rockaway businesses closed with the distinct possibility of never re-opening. As evidenced by Superstorm Sandy, one of our greatest economic concerns stem from the geographic isolation of the Rockaways. Resulting in businesses operating with smaller margins of losses due to low population density and median income (when compared to other areas of Queens and NYC), limited transportation options that include toll bridges that deter many from visiting, shopping, dining and enjoying our pristine boardwalk and beach. Additionally, locals rely heavily on its neighborhood businesses for daily essences – food/meals, groceries, household supplies and professional services since many families do not own a vehicle and travel within walking distance of under one mile to shop.
Our call-to-action focused on three questions:
The Rockaways Business Resource Center Pamphlet
Rockaways Business Resource Center
To further assist businesses and property owners, RDRC established the Rockaways Business Resource Center, offering businesses and commercial property owners with direct assistance in applying for grant and loan programs, identifying initiatives such as the NYC Open Restaurants Program to help restaurants recover. In addition to our direct services, we have partnered with the NYS Small Business Development Center at York College to assist Rockaway businesses develop business and disaster resiliency plans; prepare financial documents; complete MWBE certification; access capital; and identify new contract and procurement opportunities.
Rockaways Essential Business Guide
During the early stages of the pandemic, RDRC launched an aggressive peninsula-wide business outreach campaign to collect information on businesses and services that remained open; hospitals, community health care services, pharmacies, grocery stores, financial services and restaurants. This database of 100+ Rockaway businesses and services was then transformed into an on-line guide, entitled, The Rockaways, We’re Open For Business! Guide To Essential Businesses, Services and Restaurants was created, electronically shared with local organizations, faith institutions, elected officials, chambers of commerce, local merchants associations and City agencies.
Rockaways Restaurant Guide
As a result of the impact of the essential business guide, a second guide solely highlighting Rockaway food places entitled, The Rockaways, We’re Open For Business Restaurant Guide was created. The Rockaways restaurant guide is also distributed electronically and promoted borough wide with the assistance of the Queens Economic Development Corporation, Queens Tourism Council and Queens Chamber of Commerce.
COVID-19 Face Cover Distribution
To support struggling businesses in need of face covering for their employees, RDRC unbraced the challenge of distributing face coverings to businesses, community-based organisations, food pantries and faith institutions spread out over 11 miles from Far Rockaway to Breezy Point. Over a two-week period, TEAM RDRC and the Rockaway Business Alliance partnered to deliver approximately 30,000 face coverings to 175 businesses located in Far Rockaway, Wavecrest, Edgemere, Arverne, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, Belle Harbor, Rocky Point and Breezy Point.
Recognizing Our Local Heroes
RDRCe and the owners of Thai Rock Restaurant, Robert and Metta Kaskel, Queens Together and Queens Economic Development Corporation partnered to deliver over 1,200 meals to first employees of St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, and the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center.
COVID-19 Business Assistance & Information Services
In order to assist COVID-19 impacted businesses, RDRC created COVID-19 Business Assistance & Information Services Resource Guide. The purpose of the Resource Guide is to rapidly identify and summarize COVID-19 resources, grant and loan opportunities, and training opportunities so that business owners can focus on keeping their businesses open, or in the case of a temporary closed business re-opened. The Resource Guide identifies Federal, State and City grant and loan programs, eligibility requirements, deadlines, and supporting documents. The Resource Guide is updated weekly and distributed electronically to local businesses, property owners, merchant associations, and elected officials.