Bill de Blasio was captured on camera turning his back on a bakery manager who had asked for help for his struggling business during a ‘photo op’ with the New York City mayor who was visiting Chinatown to promote local businesses.
In the video, which was tweeted by a New York Post reporter on Tuesday, Patrick Mock, 26, was seen explaining the difficulties 46 Mott Bakery has faced since the pandemic hit the city in mid-March.
‘We’ve been taking a hit since January,’ Mock is heard telling de Blasio, who appears to be listening to the man at first.
A bakery manager tells de Blasio that his business is suffering from reduced foot traffic in Chinatown: “We’re all hurting.” pic.twitter.com/9qCLi2IOXX
‘We lost our Chinese New Year, our busiest day of our community; the most festive holiday that we have,’ Mock told de Blasio.
Mock was referring to the racist fear-mongering about the coronavirus that started shortly after the virus broke out in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
Asian-American business owners in New York City said at the time that virus fears caused a decline in sales, particularly around their busiest holiday, the Chinese New Year, which occurred on January 25, 2020.
‘Then COVID happened and we’re all hurting,’ Mock continued. ‘We need help,’ Mock said as the mayor started to turn away.
In the video, it’s unclear what the mayor said before he turned his back on Mock.
Mock later told the Gothamist that de Blasio was ‘there to do a photo op’ in order to ‘promote outdoor dining in Chinatown’.
‘But photos are cheap right now. We need help in our community,’ he added.
‘I finally got his attention. I was speaking the truth. I started getting emotional, but I was just speaking about what we needed in the neighborhood. And he was just like, “Alright I got to move on to the next part, this is off schedule. I got to move on”.’
Mock told the news site: ‘Me explaining it to him and him walking away, it just shows, like — maybe he knows there’s a problem, but there’s nothing he wants to do or say to give us a confidence boost.’
New York has doled out $40billion in unemployment benefits to 3.3 million New Yorkers in over five months, up from $2.1billion in benefits processed in all of 2019.
Over a third of the state’s unemployment claims came from workers in particularly hard-hit industries: retail, accommodation and food services, and health care and social assistance.
De Blasio has been criticized on multiple fronts for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, defunding the New York City Police Department, his decision to not delay the reopening of schools in the fall and the rise of homelessness in the city.
On June 30, the City Council voted, under de Blasio’s suggestion, to strip $1billion from the NYPD in response to intense calls from BLM protesters who surrounded City Hall and the courthouse, vandalizing it and staging demonstrations for days.
A large chunk of the cut was eliminating the jobs of more than 1,000 rookies who were due to graduate from the police academy in July. A plain clothes anti-crime unit was also disbanded.
At the time, it had only been a few weeks since NYPD cops struggled to contain looting across the city and there were already complaints from top brass that the force didn’t have the resources it needed.
Since then, crime has shot up – with shootings and murders on the rise – and homelessness spreading. As part of his pandemic response, de Blasio has moved 13,000 homeless people into hotels.
So far in 2020, more than 1,000 people have been shot in New York City — twice the number recorded last year.
Homicides are also up 50 per cent, according to statistics.
The mayor has also faced calls to delay the September reopening of schools in the city.
New York City principals penned a letter to de Blasio this week urging him to delay the reopening of schools for in-person learning in the fall, but the mayor insisted that children will be safe while also admitting that there may be some cases of the coronavirus.
‘Look, you’re talking about professionals. Unions will always sound various alarms and unions will say things sometimes in a very dramatic fashion,’ de Blasio said on Tuesday.
‘I spent a lot of time with educators over the years and they are in it to help kids. And right now the way to help kids is to get back in person with them and give them the support they need. Kids have been through so much,’ de Blasio added. ‘Teachers are going to show up and get the job done.’
De Blasio then admitted that some schools would likely eventually get cases of the coronavirus.
‘There’s been research that shows a lot of schools are not gonna have a case in the beginning; they’ll maybe eventually have a case in the school. We’ll deal with that.’
New York City has recorded more than 234,000 cases since the outbreak started in mid-March. More than 23,000 people have died in the city.