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City of Buffalo Press Releases

Posted on: November 9, 2020

Mayor Brown Seeks to Extend the Small Business Social Distancing Initiative Through Spring 2021

Seal of the City of Buffalo

Buffalo, NY - Mayor Byron W. Brown today fled an amendment with the Buffalo Common Council seeking to extend the City of Buffalo's Small Business Social Distancing Initiative (SBSDI) through May 1, 0 1. The SBSDI was launched in June to address the concerns of the small business community that is facing the challenge of being able to stay in business while crowd size limiting public health safety measures are in place. The Mayor convened a task force, chaired by Delaware District Council Member Joel Feroleto and comprised of restauranteurs, transportation advocates, marketing experts and City Hall staff, to examine ways of allowing small businesses and restaurants to use open spaces, like privately owned parking lots, sidewalks or other city owned property, to create open air seating or retail so they can maintain safe physical distancing. Included in this extension is the continued use of propane heaters by small businesses. SBSDI Participants must adhere to specific guidelines and can obtain a permit to use the heaters by contacting the City of Buffalo Office of Fire Prevention at 716-851-5333 ext. 750. Businesses utilizing exterior City premises are responsible for snow removal. All snow and ice must be cleared from a space three to four feet in width for pedestrian access before 9 am. Buffalo Common Council are set to vote on the amendment on Tuesday, November 10th.

Mayor Brown said, "We continue to adjust our response to this global health threat while offering all the support we can during the COVID-19 emergency. We will maintain outdoor dining as a safe option through the winter months. By allowing restaurants to continue utilizing outdoor spaces, we are giving them the ability to serve more patrons and help sustain their business this winter. I continue to encourage residents to support Buffalo small businesses, the lifeblood of our local economy."

The Small Business Social Distancing Initiative works to support businesses while also in compliance with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's New York Forward guidelines. Restaurants in other City neighborhoods and business corridors have expanded outdoor dining service as a way to accommodate patrons.

Delaware District Council Member Joel Feroleto stated, "Supporting small business is more important now than ever. We are extending the legislative action necessary for small businesses to expand outdoor space, use city parking spots for curbside pickup, and use outdoor heaters." Brendan Mehaffy, Executive Director of the Office of Strategic Planning stated, "The Brown Administration continues to work with the Common Council to create new ways to support our businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Social Distancing Initiative continues to evolve to meet the needs of the business community in the City of Buffalo. We are already seeing small business owners bring their creativity and ingenuity to the opportunity that we have created to utilize public space through the winter."

The City of Buffalo also offers additional resources to local small businesses through Reopen Buffalo, a one-stop destination which provides business owners with a variety of resources regarding: Business Health and Safely Guidelines, Bid Opportunities, Minority and Women-owned Business Services, New York Forward information and a guide on how to start a small business in the City of Buffalo. If a business is interested in being added to this resource, they can register through a link on the webpage or call 3-1-1.

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