Ocasio-Cortez Says New York Should Ban Small-Business Evictions

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to extend his statewide ban on evictions to include small businesses.

The outspoken Democrat also suggested that New York should extend rent protections to vulnerable small businesses and that the federal government should step in to help with rents and mortgages nationwide. Under legislation signed this week, New Yorkers suffering from financial hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic will be protected from evictions and foreclosures until May 1.

“Our priority should be to keep people housed and prevent economic collapse of the family and local small businesses that are the backbone of our communities,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.

Cuomo echoed the call on Wednesday but said state lawmakers should be the ones to take up legislation that will protect commercial tenants and small businesses, including a ban on late fees and penalties. Landlords should recognize that if they kick out a tenant, there’s unlikely to be anyone to replace them until the economy improves, he said.

“If the legislature doesn’t do it, or doesn’t do it quickly, then I would do an executive order to do it,” he said at a virus briefing. “But I’d rather see them just close the loopholes in the bill so there’s no confusion.”

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