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February 23rd, 2021

Andrew Yang Visits LGBTQ+ Establishments to Discuss Their Economic and Cultural Importance for a Strong Recovery

**RELEASE** February 23rd, 2021

New York, NYToday, February 23, Andrew Yang visited Julius’ Bar in the West Village today as part of his five borough Recovery Week tour. He met with the owners of the Stonewall Inn, Julius’ Bar, and The Cubby Hole.

Said Andrew Yang, “Our City’s identity is completely wrapped up with the LGBTQ+ community and its diverse culture. We need to protect and grow the spaces that are meant for LGTBQ+ New Yorkers and visitors if we want our recovery to be inclusive and meaningful. And that means supporting businesses so they can thrive here. As mayor, I plan on ensuring that we work with the hospitality industry, rather than unnecessarily fine them. We can’t take these establishments for granted. They are too important to our shared history and future.”

Highlights from the conversation included:

  • The bar owners emphasized that LGBTQ+ bars are not only incredibly thriving small businesses, but also safe spaces for the community.
  • Staci Lentz, co-owner of The Stonewall Inn, stressed that at the height of the mental health crisis caused by the pandemic, community space is hugely important.
  • Kurt Kelly, co-owner of The Stonewall Inn, told Andrew that that LGBTQ+ businesses were on the edge of shutting down way before the pandemic, pointing to rising rents and heavy enforcement from the City for small administrative violations that could easily be cured.
  • Debbie Greenberg of The Cubby Hole noted that she would love to own a business where, rather than the City being a punitive responder making it harder to do business, she could breathe a sigh of relief knowing the City has her back.

Andrew’s response: My goal as mayor is to get out of your way. He discussed how working together with business owners will go a long way in helping with their economic recovery. One step he will take is provide relief to countless small businesses by temporarily halting the commercial rent tax and converting the sales tax collected by bars and restaurants into grants for struggling businesses, getting rid of cumbersome hurdles that will impact growth.

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