The New York Yankees are committing $50,000 to businesses located near their stadium in the Bronx that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
With fans banned from Major League Baseball stadiums during the 2020 season, restaurants and merchandise shops around Yankee Stadium told The Associated Press they suffered losses that threatened to shutter their businesses. Some even expressed hope the Yankees would step in to offer direct support.
The Yankees are providing 10 awards worth $5,000 apiece, and the team said Tuesday in a release that because “the greatest immediate need among residents in the nearby community is food, the majority of the commitment will be directed toward local restaurants and food providers.”
Joe Bastone, owner of the 93-year-old Yankee Tavern on East 161st Street, told the AP in August that even with outdoor dining, he was doing about 5 percent of his usual business during the baseball season.
“We are extremely appreciative of this support from the Yankees,” Bastone said in a statement distributed Tuesday by the Yankees. “The COVID epidemic has been devastating to our business, especially with the closure of indoor dining. The Yankee Tavern has been a part of the fabric of this neighborhood for 93 years, and it means a lot that the Yankees are doing something to help us carry on our tradition.”
Earlier this year, the Yankees worked with the Bronx Chamber of Commerce to provide relief for small businesses, contributing $75,000 toward emergency relief grants, helping organize pro bono legal aid and launching a virtual town hall to educate local business owners on how best to navigate the pandemic. The club said Tuesday it also has gifted $200,000 worth of food vouchers to help families with holiday meals and 68,000 pounds in food donations and holiday.