COVID-19: Revitalize our Economy
Easy Entry and Free COVID Tests for Visitors. We must rethink our quarantine and testing requirements in a way that invites the world to visit our City. Because the tourism industry is crucial to our economy, Aaron will restart tourism to the City in a safe and innovative way. Tourists coming to the City will be given a free rapid COVID test upon arrival at an NYC-area airport. Once they test negative, they will be allowed to freely travel within the tristate area and enjoy the attractions the City has to offer. This will show the world that the great assets of our City, including restaurants, small businesses and museums, are open for business.
Immediately Encourage High-Spending Tourists to Return to NYC. Tourism is a vital part of the City’s economy and provides over 5 billion dollars in tax revenue each year. Since the onset of the pandemic, the tourism industry, which supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in the City, has been decimated. Historically, some tourists spend more money than others. As tourism rebounds, Aaron will prioritize bringing back the highest-spending tourists first, so that the City can bring in the most money as fast as possible. Attracting tourists from overseas will be Aaron’s priority, because they spend four times as much money as domestic tourists. Focusing on these high spending individuals will immediately bring back jobs and revitalize our small businesses.
Convert Empty Hotels into Affordable Housing. During the last decade, dozens of new hotels have opened in Midtown alone. Unfortunately, because tourism has plummeted in light of the pandemic, a number of New York City hotels have closed permanently and those that remain open are largely empty. This space cannot go to waste. Aaron will give owners of these hotels tax incentives to convert them into affordable housing. These innovative new housing units will be available quickly, because they will have communal kitchens and thus will be inexpensive to convert from hotels to residential use.
Transform Midtown into a Vibrant Residential and Business Neighborhood. Until recently, over 1.5 million people came into Manhattan every day to work and socialize. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus, our offices, restaurants, and businesses in Midtown are largely empty. Because working from home is more accepted than ever, office workers will not return in the same numbers. Aaron proposes offering tax benefits to owners of commercial real estate to convert some of these spaces into affordable housing. Thereby, Midtown will become a vibrant residential and business community, in turn attracting talent from across the world. In fact, a similar program was successful in transforming Lower Manhattan into the thriving residential and business community it is today.
Reestablish Trust in Our Subway System. Trust in our subways is vital to getting the City back to work. The good news is that the air recirculation rate in our subway cars meets or exceeds the standards set for hospital operating rooms. Aaron will launch an awareness campaign to demonstrate to the public that traveling via subway is very safe, particularly with the addition of new safety protocols. Aaron will also ensure that additional filtration measures are implemented so that New York City subways have the cleanest air of any transit network in the country.
Build a Stockpile of PPE and Medical Equipment. In early 2020, thousands of residents died unnecessarily. Shockingly, New York City did not have a sufficient stockpile of necessary medical supplies. In fact, the current administration sold off vital medical equipment years ago which would have saved lives. We cannot let this happen again, nor can we wait for the federal government to act. The City needs its own stockpile of PPE and medical equipment to prepare for potential emergencies, including pandemics, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters.