LI businesses begin feeling effects of coronavirus economic downturn

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Tuesday marked the first full day of the mass shutdown of bars, restaurants and gyms across New York, a move that could take a catastrophic toll on Long Island's economy.

Restaurants may be the hardest hit segment of the economy because of the virus, as they can only offer pickup and delivery orders. Many have seen a large drop in business, and as a result, are laying off workers and struggling to pay bills.

"My family, we have our mortgage, we have car payments, boat payments, insurance. Not only for me, but I employ a lot of people that work here, from college kids to people with families and children," says Brunello's Restaurant owner Dominic Brunello. "All of a sudden you stop their income flow, what do they do? How do they survive?"

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has set up an economic advisory council to assess how businesses in the county will be affected. She says the council will help tell what kinds of assistance to seek from state and federal governments.

MORE: Track the tristate area's coronavirus cases

The panel will work with Hofstra University to come up with an estimated dollar figure of losses to the business community.

Economic analyst Martin Cantor says the virus is leading those with discretionary spending to hold on to it, unable to go to movies or restaurants, hurting small businesses. He says the effects include layoffs, lost income and millions lost in sales tax revenues in Nassau and Suffolk.

"Both counties were damaged fiscally before this happened, now they'll be severely damaged after," says Cantor. "New York state had a nearly $6 billion deficit before this happened. It could nearly double."

Over at Deer Hills Deli in Deer Park, the popular food spot has never seen anything like this before.

"Business is way down and people don't want to come in. We bring the food out to them in their car so they don't have to come in," says Linda Martinkus.

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