April 2, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
An online map has been created to pinpoint local businesses that are open and what services they are providing during the coronavirus shutdown.
The Western Queens Local Business Source Map or Who’s Open?? aims to help customers better locate businesses across Sunnyside/Woodside, Astoria and parts of Long Island City and provide them with details on opening hours and other important information.
The map was created by Sunnyside Shines BID, Astoria Together, and Sunnyside Gardens Park to help businesses and customers cope with the city-wide restrictions that were put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The map uses Google My Maps to compile data on over 250 businesses including grocery stores, restaurants, laundromats, and other essential services.
Users can find a particular establishment on the map by entering the name of the businesses they are looking for or they can narrow their search by inputting keywords to find a specific service.
Each business is marked with an icon on the map delineating the type of service it provides and users can also use this feature to zoom in on specific street locations and then select a business.
Opening hours, phone numbers, location, take out or delivery services on all businesses are provided. Website addresses and social media links are also provided where available.
The map is an expansion of an effort put in place by Sunnyside Shines recently that cataloged businesses under its jurisdiction that were allowed to remain open–or offer takeout and delivery– following the state’s “pause” order.
The group compiled the list on its website and provided information on what services they were providing as well as links to business websites. Data compiled under that endeavor was then used as a starting point to develop the new map.
Developing that type of information onto a map is a sensible way to organize the neighborhood and help amplify the local businesses, according to map founder Alan Baglia, a Woodside resident.
“So many of us are home and following state guidelines to flatten the curve,” Baglia said.
“Little things like keeping daily habits and ordering from our favorite places will play a role in helping us all get through this. It is time more than ever to support the local business and the workers that are essential to our community,” he said.
The map creators are urging customers to order directly from businesses and to use delivery apps as a last resort, although many businesses on the map list delivery apps.
“Some of the apps have announced they will defer fees to businesses, but this just means the fees will be passed on to the businesses down the road when they are struggling to dig out from this,” Jaime-Faye Bean, director of Sunnyside Shines said.
Organizers hope to expand the map into other Queens neighborhoods in the future.
The Map is available by clicking here and is also hosted online by Sunnyside Gardens Park.