(WIVB)– Monica Wallace, Assemblymember of Erie County’s 143 District, sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo asking him not to shut down small retailers during the holiday season.

Wallace writes that if the state reverts to it’s classifications of “essential” and “non-essential” businesses and shutdown is enacted, small “non-essential” businesses will struggle to survive.

This comes as the holiday season is a particularly busy time of year for small retailers and Erie County is facing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The assemblymember says the state’s essential vs. non-essential shutdown strategy inherently favors big-box retailers. Stores like Target and Walmart carry both essential and non-essential goods and would stay open during a shutdown.

Wallace urged the governor to universally allow both big-box and small retailers to stay open if a shut down was to occur again.

“Instead of enacting restrictions based upon what goods are sold (essential vs. non-essential), I urge you to consider restrictions that would apply universally and allow all retailers to operate, such as rigorous enforcement of masks, dressing room closures, and occupancy limitations. I believe those steps will operate more fairly and evenhandedly toward all retailers.”

Monica P. Wallace, Member of Assembly, NYS Assembly District 143

The assemblymember says “I am not aware of any studies showing that shopping at small retail establishments poses a greater risk than shopping at large big-box retailers.”

She makes the case that studies show restaurants pose a greater risk of virus spread, as people are “unmasked” longer as they eat.

No specific studies were named.

Wallace thanked the Governor for his leadership through the pandemic.

Read her full letter to the Governor below: