‘Your city needs you!’ Businessman says city has ‘never been so quiet’

Parliament Street in York. Photograph: YorkMix
10 Mar 2020 @ 6.15 pm
| Business

A York businessman has made an impassioned plea to residents: ‘Use us or lose us’.

David Binelli, who has run businesses in and around the city for 35 years, says: “I have never seen the city so quiet.”

And he fears many city businesses could go under as the effects of the coronavirus outbreak look set to rumble on for weeks or even months.

David is calling on everyone to pull together to help York businesses – two-thirds of which are independently run.

Spend money in the city

Shambles on Tuesday afternoon

David owns two clothes alteration shops – Alterations Express on Fossgate and Sew n’ Sews near Shambles Market – which together employ 11 people.

“When I came in and talked to the staff they said the city is empty.

“I went into the main Marks and Spencer this morning and I was the only person in the food hall.”

The effects of the Covid-19 outbreak come hard on the heels of three storms and the localised floods which saw many people cancel their half term holiday visits to York.

Many city businesses operate on small margins and are under severe pressure.

He said:

  • Use us or lose us! I know it’s a cliché but it’s true.

    Your city needs you!

    Come in and spend your money in York businesses. Otherwise I am sure that many will disappear.

Independents hit hard

Indie York chairman Johnny Hayes

Johnny Hayes, chairman of Indie York which represents more than 200 independent businesses in the city, echoed David’s call.

He told YorkMix:

  • The absence of visitors and locals hits independents hard.

    Members of Indie York are very aware that this is an exceptionally quiet time.

    They do not have huge reserves of cash to rely on. Their margins are tight and they have to pay wages and rent and rates.

    Their income comes from opening their doors and people spending. If there are no people then no income.

Johnny said it was important for organisations like Indie York to speak up for sole traders and small businesses. “We are all in this together and we must try to encourage people to support their Independents in what ever way they can.”

David also called on York’s leaders in City of York Council and Make It York to do their bit.

He urged the the local authority to allow hard-hit businesses housed in council property to delay paying rents due on 1 April.

And he called for business rate reductions or holidays.

Both City of York Council and Make It York told YorkMix that they are waiting to hear what emergency resources will be made available in tomorrow’s budget to mitigate the effects on business of the virus outbreak.

They would then make a statement tomorrow.