FIGHTING FOR THEIR RIGHTS Hundreds Of NY Small-Businesses Open In Defiance Of Executive Order


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A movement of NY small businesses fighting for survival has grown into a pack of thousands of supporters and hundreds of businesses. Now, the group is planning to fight the system head on.

Beginning on Sunday morning, around 200 stores plan on opening in Boro Park, Williamsburg, Flatbush, Monsey and the Five Towns. Many will be opened on Sunday, and others to start on Monday. They will use extreme social distancing, some just curbside service, while others allowing one person at a time into their establishments. The are banded together under the name #ReopenNY

Organizers tell YWN that NY Governor Cuomo and NYC Mayor Deblasio are aware of the movement. The group has lawyers & is well prepared for legal action, including visits by the police.

While these businesses suffer, the large stores like Costco & Target remain open. Dozens of small-businesses have already announced that they will never reopen, and many others are gasping for air as they struggle to pay bills and survive. It is simply outrageous that the biog stores are permitted to have remained opened the entire COVID-19 pandemic as they are essential, while small-businesses – selling the very same items – were forced to close and in essence, out of business.

[As YWN published last week: NOTE: According to the Rambam, the highest form of Tzedakah is to give someone Parnasah. YWN implores our vast readership to please read this and try and help these THOUSANDS of small-business owners before it’s too late. Many small-businesses in the NY area have already decided to close for good as they will never recover from their financial losses over the past few months!]

The following is a recap of notes from lawyer, Ron Coleman, given to the participating store-owners if the police come to their door:

A. You DO have to let them in to your store.

B. No disobedience at all

C. You don’t have to answer any questions

D. You DO have to take the ticket

E. You do have to show them I.D.
Unless you don’t have I.D. So if you’re worried about scaring your employees, tell them to leave their ID at home.

F. Be polite and courteous to the police. Tell them that you understand that they’re doing their job, but you need to keep your business alive.

G. Do NOT get into discussions with the police. Tell them that your lawyer told you not to get into any discussions with them.

H. We have to look like model citizens, because we are yidden. Therefore, you MUST follow protocols on the poster. If you are not following these guidelines, you will dropped from this group, and the lawyer will NOT represent you. He made that very clear. We hired him as a group of stores that would follow the rules and that’s who he is representing. On a personal level, I can tell you that I will be standing outside my store and I will be controlling the crowd and letting people in slowly. Don’t let it get crazy in your store, or you will ruin it for everyone else.

I. Be courteous to the police. No confrontations at all. Thank them for their service. Don’t look like you’re fighting or resisting. Be nice and take the ticket.

J. Report back to the group if and when you get a ticket, and then we will get in touch with the lawyer to see how we proceed.

Stay safe and lots of Hatzlacha.

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(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Sorry,
    You don;t get to decide which civil laws/rules/order you follow.
    Saying you will follow the social distancing and other rules set forth for those businesses which are legally allowed to open, while breaking the law and opening is nonsense.

    If you are brought to trial, the Judge should find that you come to court with ‘dirty hands’ Lawbreakers seeking relif from the courts,

    The comment “H” We have to look like model citizens, because we are yidden. Shows this group to be a bunch of phonies, MODEL CITIZENS ARE NOT LAWBREAKERS.

    BTW>>>I am a small businessperson. My offices have been closed since March 12th for the safety of my employees, clients and their families. This is despite the fact that the CT Governor declared Law Firms and Accountants ESSENTIAL Services. Our County professional associations felt otherwise. The essential work we do is being done remotely. This morning I conducted a Real estate closing in the parking lot of our Town Hall. Papers were set out on folding tables for each of the parties 10 feet away from each other. My sons went with me and acted as the witnesses to signatures. As a commissioner of the Superior Court (as all lawyers are in CT) I could notarize the documents. All participants wore masks and gloves. The ball point stick pens and plastic table covers went into the trash when we finished. The documents will be scanned on Tuesday (after sitting in my car trunk 48 hours for safety) and recorded electronically. The funds will then be disbursed electronically as well.

    I have lost much business during these months, but knowing that no one became ill with Covid-19 because of contact with people coming into the office and then back home is priceless.

    Fortunes can be made and lost, but life cannot be regained.

  2. I guess some people don’t care how many they murder, because anyone they dies after visiting one of these shops was murdered by the owner.

  3. i am saying this with mixed feelings because i also have a retail store and i open thru the back door to get some dollars in to survive. I know i will get fined but i plan to plead guilty and ask for mercy. I daven to hashem that they shouldnt fine me and if they do please get me to a Judge who understands the storekeepers.
    i do understand the Mayor and Governor but i think that they really do not understand us.
    We can do a great job by keeping our stores following the guidelines .

  4. To CT Lawyer: It is very easy for you to close your Law office and have your employees work remotely (so that your able to work somewhat and Open Up when you feel like). Small businesses such as clothing shops do not have that luxury and many of them cannot last for more than a month or two without selling inventory and if this continues they will be doomed. They are opening using the CDC guidelines, with the customers wearing masks and with social distancing measures. Why are they any less essential, or for that matter more dangerous, than a liquor store. Put yourself (who is actively working and doing real estate closings) in their shoes.

  5. CT
    Hope you are well
    Please tell me that you at least see the other side to this story.
    It is very cavalier to state that because you can absorb the loss, everyone else should
    It is certainly naive to not see the effects this is having from numerous directions
    for example there is this
    “ABC News 7 San Francisco reports that depression brought on by quarantine have led to a massive spike in suicides. Dr. Mike de Boisblanc at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek California says; “We’ve never seen numbers like this, in such a short period of time. I mean we’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks.”
    There is also plain and simple logic and fairness. In Brooklyn there is essentially no new cases in our community over the last two weeks. The only reliable standard being used by big box stores is a mask and 6 feet, so why can’t everyone use the same standard? Why was it illegal to hold a minyan on my property by those standards, but I can go to the park? The hypocrisy and illogic is profound. The only answer is bc “it’s the law”. Well this country was founded on civil disobedience in the face of unfairness, maybe its time for some more. Our president certainly seems to think so.

  6. “You don;t get to decide which civil laws/rules/order you follow.”

    That is the nuttiest thing I have ever read.

    Of course you do. you are a human human’s think for themselves. IF a law makes sense follow it if not don’t.

    Nobody cares what you did Mazel tov you are very rich on your compound and can take the financial hit without it ruining you. What on earth does that have to do with anyone else? I especially love the part where you concede that you HAVE been conducting business .

    If you think a law is unjust break it. Let it work its way through the court system if needed. The law might be found just and you might go to jail. It might get overturned (for what its worth I think it was justifiable a month ago not anymore)
    But to say thats’ the law follow it no matter what? Shocking

  7. CTLAWYER: I am glad that you are able to work remotely & do what you can do while your office stays closed. For majority that doesn’t work. These small business may fight for their rights to be open just like the big dept stores are open. They are being safer than walmart, target & many local groceries/pharmacies. In addition there have been many “gatherings” in brooklyn which the nypd closed down due to it being a danger-though there have been no new reported covid cases in these communities.

  8. Why don’t you shops get smart.
    Get all homeowners and landlords to join in. Let them stop paying property and water taxes until the city listens to its citizens. If stores are closed and tenants of homeowners can’t work in the store the landlords suffer. Let’s make a revolution against these democRATs.

  9. To CT lawyer:
    I respect your knowledge of the law and your articulation. Although we don’t need non-Jewish role models, Ghandi was famous for advocating non violent passive resistance. If done well, which would be the case if following the guidelines in the article, it won’t be a chilul Hashem.

    To WgFPD2:
    Someday this will be passed us. there are varying opinions. One can vociferously argue his position. But calling those who disagree with you “murderers” is a tall tree to climb down from. There are two valid ways of looking at this. Actually two hundred ways. You can be firmly opposed to those who wish to open up, but please don’t throw around the “murderer” label. Hyperbole doesn’t win arguments.

  10. To CT Lawyer
    Do you really understand those storekeepers who bought inventory in Sept-dec of 2019 to stock up their stores with clothing for the Pesach -Summer season , some used their own savings, some used their lines of credit, some used their credit card and some borrowed from friends,family or Gmach to fund their accounts payable to be able to be ready to serve its customers for shopping season. Yom tov is gone summer season is almost gone Stores are shuttered and inventory is worth maybe 10-20 cents to the dollar. Yes unfortunate the Mayor and Governor did NOT bring on this Covid19 but now that thank hashem NYers see a decline in hospitalization, deaths and new cases its time to let those starving merchants to breath a bit of air so they can salvage their inventory and they can do it in a safer way then Costco or Target does it. You are b”h fortunate that you can still earn a percentage of your parnassah by working on line but store keepers depend on open doors .
    Our PPP money is being spent to our loyal workers to keep them afloat but what good is gonna be if we have to lay them off after this money runs out?

  11. To: CTLAWYER Your A Phoney hypocrite , The LAWBREAKERS are the Governors & the Mayor democrat propagandist stooges, Neither the governors nor the mayors had the power to close the Synagogue’s in the first place. Don’t accept their premise these are unconstitutional shutdowns Your rights are innate and codified by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, stating that ” Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or the practice therof ” No man within or outside of government can change that, In the face of these unconstitutional shutdowns They we’re the ones keeping worship centers closed until the President overruled them this past Friday, These are not the People that we should be taking orders from, The only way to defeat them is with mass civil disobedience & fight their system head on in court, These executives they are the tyrants and their edicts are meaningless.
    Kol hakovod!! to this New movement.

  12. CT lawyer,
    You are one attorney I would never trust to look out for me. I wish I had your contact info so I can e certain never to consider you!
    To be so callous as to the needs of others! Shame on you!
    To think that a family with five or six children has had no income since Purim, especially during the Pesach season when they bought all the merchandise to sell and still stuck with having to pay rent, bills, tuition, etc.! Where is your compassion for another person to begin with – let alone another Yid. We’re finishing Sefira now where 24,000 talmidim of Rebbi Akiva lost their lives for nor having proper respect for one another and you juxtapose your practice to the guy who is sweating to feed his family! Shame on you!
    You don’t have to like the fact that they’re violating an ordinance but who the h__ll are you to chastise someone who is choking to death? If proper etiquette and sanitizing is done, there us no reason Targets, Costco and Walmart can continue to do business and my jewelry store can’t.
    You’re a brash attorney for whom the word contemptuous was created.

  13. @rebyossel

    You mentioned that your business is open secretly. I believe that opening publicly and proudly because that is your right will give you the moral high ground in the eyes of the public. Acting like you are doing something wrong and hiding the opening of your store IMO can lead to a chilul hashem. Either don’t do it or do it proudly – dont do it like a criminal.

  14. CTlawyer, they are AMERICANS. And they are JEWS. Both Americans and Jews have a proud history as LAWBREAKERS. We Americans spit on the British laws, and we Jews spit on the Russian laws. In Europe our grandparents were black marketers and smugglers. Our American founders were also smugglers. Both our traditions tell us that when tyrants try to take our means of making a living we defy them. Because ultimately sovereignty belongs to the people, not to their elected officials.

  15. Wow I have seen some foolish comments I. Ywn, but ct lawyer is by far either the most arrogant, or the dumbest comment I’ve ever read. Congratulations on winning that dubious honor, along with passing the ct bar with what must be the lowest iq, ever. I’ll leave it to the other commenters to point out all the flaws in your comment. As for the commenter calling anyone murderer, no one is murdering anyone who chooses to stay home. And no one is forcing anyone into their stores to shop. After 30 days, any executive order that hasn’t been enacted by the legislature is tyranny, and fighting tyranny is why this country was founded.

  16. I believe that all the politicians have decided to let the courts decide and they will ultimately decide. If you bring an injunction against the city for violating your rights capriciously and whimsically it may be granted. Good Luck to Boro Park. Chazak.

  17. The Truth: Strange posting name since very little correlation with your posting. For example, the President mumbled some campaign slogans for the evangelicals on Friday about “overruling” the state and local rules on “reopening” houses of worship. He has NO such authority and he knows it because his own AG acknowledged that in court amicus filings they have submitted. Like everything else the Trumpkopf does, he can Tweet and bloviate but increasingly no one is listening.

  18. I would support those store owners who want to reopen fully. If someone is afraid of being infected by Corona virus, by shopping in any store, he should just stay home and mind his own business. If Walmart is open there is no no reason a small store can’t be open. People need clothes, shoes, haircuts etc. things one doesn’t get in stores like Walmart.

  19. Correction to my previous post regarding the Bill of Rights , Here is the whole Amendment 1 ” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Explanation,
    The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices. It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.
    How Dare our democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio insisting that “dispersing the protesters was necessary to protect lives”. city businesses forced to close because of the coronavirus outbreak are doing just fine and will be able to stay shuttered for months to come. “Opening up is consistently proven to have the boomerang effect and make things worse and cause bigger shutdowns because it’s not just about a small number of particularly vulnerable people,” de Blasio said.
    City Councilman Mark Gjonaj blasted the mayor’s remarks.
    “Out of all the things that have come out of his mouth, this is the most outrageous. He lives in a de Blasio land. That is the furthest thing from the truth, said the Bronx Democrat, who chairs the council’s small business committee.
    “He is not in touch with reality and all he has to do is walk down a commercial corridor to understand what is happening to our small businesses, He is setting up the city for failure. He’s going to leave City Hall in the worse condition that this city has experienced since World War II and the Great Depression,” he said.
    How Dare These Politicians step on our Constitution like that.
    I second what Coffie addict said above I hope the storekeepers realize you get what you sow and make the “right” choice this November Throw these Bums out of office !!

  20. to sum everything up- “ctlawyer is a fat rich guy that doesnt understand JACK about what these small business people are going through” ….. couldnt have said it better myself!

  21. This is not a legal law. Its unconstitutional Let the state rotate, one week should the box stores be open and one week the small stores.
    Its not a coincidence that in one hour the same sheriffs where in jews neighborhoods a couple of miles apart. There are plenty of other small businesses that are open.

  22. To CTLAWYER: No, I am not here to call you names but- there’s a small business and a small business. “Fortunes can be made and lost, but life cannot be regained”- Just a heads up- not everyone makes a fortune to begin with. How ‘bout “fortunes have not always been made but life can alway be protected”.
    You assumed that people are keeping social distancing in order not to break the law, but were nevertheless opening their stores against the law, and therefore it was “nonsense”. It’s quite possible that social distancing is being kept in order to keep people safe but stores are open so people can pay their bills and not go bankrupt? Are Walmarts or Costcos any safer because some items there are essential (some aren’t)?
    True, we don’t get to decide which laws you follow, but the mayor and the governor don’t either, the Torah does. “Dina Dimalchusa Dina” does have limitations, and although I’m not one to define them, everyone can ask their own spiritual guides in this extremely delicate situation. Just wondering, how many lawyers “closed down for good” and of those, how many are being threatened with eviction?

  23. @RebYossel and others

    #1 I know exactly what it is to be a retailer and buy inventory that has gone stale an unsold causing financial loss.

    I grew up in the retail clothing business. My father and his partner had 15 stores in CT and MA and I worked in the business from the time I was 6 (folding boxes, sweeping the stockrooms, etc) and worked my way up to being a shoe buyer. I owned my own retail stores. In early November 1977 my store was fully stocked fro the Xmas season. I owed my suppliers more than 100K due between Dec 10 and January 1st. On the 5th of November there was a truck accident. A fully loaded 18 wheeler crashed into the store next to me in the building. The City building inspectors and the Fire Marshal declared the building unsafe until renovated. They turned off all utilities and barred entry. I was not able to enter my store until late February. All my winter and holiday goods were now worth about 10 cents on the dollar. I had been unable to accept new spring goods and lost that season as well.

    I went to law school after I left the retail business. I have paid my employees through this pandemic. We have done almost no business, but have done a few things for existing clients or as ordered by the courts, The closing I mentioned was to wind up an estate and the Probate judge ordered it to take place.

    I have repeatedly said that I am not in New York. Our Governor did not close synagogues, but the limit on social gatherings which reached a low of 5 people precluded a minyan, so the synagogues made the choice to close, Our schools were closed by executive order and the Governor has that authority in these extreme times.

    Trump’s declaration that the houses of worship should be open and that he will overrule the governors is laughable. He does not have that power. It was not given to the Federal Government in the US Constitution and so its reserved for the states.

    Closing houses of worship for life saving reasons does not violate the First Amendment. The government neither established a religion nor prevented you from your beliefs or practice of your religion. You could still daven, learn Torah, etc. Just not in a a gathering more than a certain size until it became safe.

    CT was the last state to open phase one of our recovery plan, our governor even delayed some openings an extra 12 days because the earlier opening was not deemed appropriate by medical experts.

    We also had a different system that allowed small retailers to take phone and internet orders, ship to customers or have contactless pickup at the curb for a few hours each day. Even large retailers such as Kohls were allowed to operate in this manner.

    Remember, CT is not densely populated like NYC. You have housing complexes with more residents than my town. Most CT residents don’t live in high rises with elevators. Our parks in my town only have partially opened at this point.
    Each state governor had to choose what worked best in each state.
    If you are unhappy, you will have the opportunity to vote for different officials in the future.

  24. Mr. CT Lawyer:

    Can you please explain why it is safer for me to shop at walmart with hundreds of other shoppers, with some aisles having less than a foot between shoppers, with crowds of shoppers standing together socializing? BTW this is the actual experience I had in Walmart last week. One could have been mistaken that there was a virus out there in the world.

    Please explain why this is safer than a small store allowing in 10 people at a time socially distanced?

    If you can’t then you must admit this law makes zero sense!!

  25. All these stores should put in a counter and sell potato chips and pretzels as well as shoes or clothing that they normally sell. Now they can be just as essential as Costco Walmart and Target for they all sell food and clothing. Or if they like they could sell some screwdrivers and be a hardware store. This shutdown is now nothing more than reshaim trying to show whose boss.

  26. I am very surprised that the rabbonim didn’t give any input on this. If I had a store I would call my posek to find out if have to worry that someone would come into my store and maybe, perhaps, not sure, efshur, a sofek or chashash to get sick or make someone else sick. I worry more how camps can open safely.

  27. Kudos to everyone’s comments addressed to CT Lawyer. I’ll just add….your father had 15 retail stores? Don’t try to say he was a small business owner! So you helped in the stores… big whoop. So did I. My father was a butcher & barely made it. No fancy vacations for us… people lived on credit. Sure, he would have been able to be open today, but who would be able to pay for meat? It would go on credit. When he suddenly died, there went the money that was owed.

    You must think we are totally stupid. You made a complete fool of yourself, comparing your white-collar position to someone trying to sell children’s socks or towels. I think your condescending & superior attitude contributed a lot to the overwhelmingly scathing responses you garnered. As I see it, you have two choices here: keep quiet & enjoy your summer home or backyard pool or whatever, or apologize for your self-serving & heartless response to fellow Yidden who are suffering. And then….keep quiet.

  28. The CT Lawyer: Glad you weren’t practicing law when Rosa Parks was arrested. Lex iniusta non est lex. The law is the law is a pretty moronic statement for a guy in your line of work. I guess you’re all for people ratting each other out too? The Third Reich had many laws too.

  29. I definitely understand all the store owners and beleive we should support them in every way possible but I can’t understand where was the passion to open minyonim??
    Why is there not the same passion to open yeshivos??
    True the rabeim are teaching by phone or zoom but that only works for the very focused students. Many many kids are not able to learn this way and are falling on the wayside!