Just hours after NYC crackdown, Borough Park businesses are packed again
The crackdown didn’t even last a day!
Just hours after City Hall sent in the Sheriff’s Office, at least four Borough Park stores exposed by The Post for operating in violation of emergency coronavirus orders were back open — and, again, packed with mask-less customers.
“Maybe it’s illegal to open it, but you have to understand, these stores are living things,” said Chaim Fogel, who stood outside of Tip Top, a crowded clothing store on 13th Avenue. “The economy is a living thing. If you see you’re going to die if you don’t do something, you do it, because what’s the alternative?”
Fogel conceded the shop needed to do a better job of managing the crowds and forcing people to wear masks.
The shop was one of at least four a reporter spotted Wednesday afternoon doing brisk business while staff and most customers failed to take protective measures, like maintaining social distancing and wearing masks.
The roster of open 13th Avenue storefronts also included party supply retailer ‘Party Shop,’ kids clothier ‘Pastel’ and womenswear shop ‘Miller’s Family Wear.’
Nor did the crackdown on businesses appear to deter large groups from gathering on the avenue or encourage those out to wear masks, which remained virtually unseen when The Post returned to the street after the crackdown.
Only one shop identified in the initial story, Toys4U, appeared to have heeded the knuckle rap from officials and sharply limited access to customers.
The toy store has remained open during the pandemic by getting into the bike repair business, one of the categories of work deemed essential by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order.
“We’re a bike shop. A bike shop is allowed to be open. We’re not looking for a fight with the city,” owner Joseph Itzkowitz said Wednesday. “At least let us be open. We have to make a living.”
That’s a different tack for the retailer, which Post reporters spotted packed with customers buying toys and other non-essential goods on Monday and Tuesday.
City, state and federal health officials say that observing social distancing measures and wearing masks is essential to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 21,000 people in New York City alone.
Borough Park has been hit particularly hard.
City Health Department data shows that more than 200 people who live in the 11219 zip code have died from the pandemic and the area is suffering from one of the highest rates of COVID-19 cases in Brooklyn.
Outraged city officials promised they would be back to shut the businesses down again when The Post contacted them about the reopenings.
“This behavior is absolutely unacceptable and we will be taking further enforcement action,” said City Hall spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie.
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