Small businesses in Brooklyn get helping hand with safety equipment amid pandemic

FORT GREENE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- The federal government might be at a standstill when it comes to helping small businesses drowning in money problems from the coronavirus pandemic, but one group in New York City is trying to provide a cushion for the city's nearly quarter million small businesses and the half-a-million workers who lost their jobs.

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce assisted small businesses in Brooklyn Monday.

At the Greene Grape, a gourmet grocery store in Fort Greene, additional PPE and advice was provided for store owner Amy Bennett.

Bennett said the fact they dropped off masks and gloves is huge and that it is one less thing to do. She says she can spend her time growing her business and training her workers.

Her store and wine shop stayed open through the pandemic, and she pivoted to offer more online options.

But her café - a gathering spot in the neighborhood-- closed and with it, jobs were lost.

Kathryn Wylde heads up the Partnership for NYC - a non-profit that invests in job creation.

"We've set up a small business resource center that has support for funding, tech assistance, to improve their marketing negotiate with landlords legal assistance," Wylde said. "All pro bono."

The resource center helps businesses not only survive this pandemic, but bounce back better than before.

Bennett said that her business is going to build and she expects to be back to the number she was before.

And while there are about 200,000 job openings throughout the city, most are for workers skilled in technology.

However, the majority of the people who got laid off during the pandemic come from retail and restaurants, and don't have that education needed for those tech jobs, which is why the city's recovery hinges on small businesses.

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