CAPTION: Queens Chamber staff joined Congresswoman Grace Meng (far left) and Salvatore Crifasi (center) for the PPE distribution event.


Dozens of business owners and workers lined up at Community United Methodist Church on Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village last Wednesday for a personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution event.

Hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce, the giveaway included free face masks, face shields and even thermometers for businesses on the commercial strip.

Salvatore Crifasi, president of the Middle Village Chamber of Commerce and a Queens Chamber board member, said the PPE can be used for employees and customers alike. The day before the distribution event, Crifasi walked up and down the avenue to hand out flyers to local stores.

“Everyone appreciates it,” he said. “We’re getting a good turnout.”

Crifasi, who began his own commercial and residential real estate firm in Middle Village in 1979, said businesses are struggling with more than just the COVID crisis. He noted that they’re also struggling with the challenges of online shopping.

The business leader is also worried about the restaurant industry, predicting that half of all restaurants in the area will not reopen. He called on government leaders to restart indoor dining.

“You can go to the gym, you can go bowling, you can demonstrate, but you can’t eat indoors in a restaurant?” Crifasi said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s hurting the businesses.”

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