Coronavirus News: Coalition of small businesses in NYC fighting to reopen shops

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Store owners in Manhattan are fighting to reopen their doors and say their livelihoods are at stake.

One clothing store on the Upper East Side has defied orders to stay closed.

While there were no customers at the Peter Elliot store on Lexington Avenue on Wednesday, the store is ready to sell some shirts -- no matter what the governor says.

And they are making sure there is plenty of stock for customers -- as soon as the customers are ready.

Yes, it violates all the rules of the statewide shutdown, but the owner is all done with the shutdown.

"We are not a country of sheep, but we have been treated like sheep," store owner Eliot Rabin said.

Rabin joined a group of local retailers downtown to demand that retail stores be allowed to open for business with the same sort of guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies.

He said the NYPD has visited his store a total of five times since he reopened on April 27 and he has never been issued a summons.

"Our businesses are the backbone of this state, and quite literally what we depend on to put food on our tables and is equally vital to our employees, vendors, and local neighborhoods," Reopen New York said in a statement.

The coalition of over 280 small businesses wants to reopen by May 26.

They think they are being treated differently than national chains like Target and Walmart.

"Let these people go back to work so that their hard-earned profits and their hard-earned efforts shouldn't be going down to big box stores and stores that were given, I'm sorry to say, preferential treatment in this pandemic," one representative said.

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