Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates April 21st

APRIL 21ST RESOURCES AND UPDATES:

New York City has cancelled event permits for all non-essential events scheduled in June. The Celebrate Israel, Puerto Rican Day, and LGBTQ Pride parades are officially cancelled. Shakespeare in the Park is cancelled. Lincoln Center has also canceled its entire slate of summer events through August. This includes its three biggest festivals: Midsummer Night Swing, the Mostly Mozart Festival and Lincoln Center Out of Doors.

The Mayor has once again extended the suspension of ULURP laws and processes for another five days, through to this Friday.

You can help make sure every New Yorker gets counted! Sign up to join the new Text Out the Count campaign from the Census Bureau: there are virtual text banks being held daily.  You can become a true census geek by visiting this website and seeing the map of census self-response completion rate at all levels of detail-- state, county, city, legislative district, and even census tract! Just zoom into NYC, then use the "Show info for" drop-down at the top left of the sidebar.

The New York Academy of Sciences invites you to join them  this Wednesday evening, April 22nd, as public health experts provide new insights on the COVID-19 response. Then, on April 29th, they’re  bringing together reporters who are focused on the coronavirus beat to share behind-the-scenes tales of how they're working to keep up with the science and communicate it effectively to the public.

Governor Cuomo is calling on the federal government to provide hazard pay to  frontline workers and give them a 50 percent bonus because they are the true heroes in this crisis.

New York is launching a new partnership with the company Ready Responders to bring healthcare services, including COVID-19 diagnostic testing, to residents of public housing in NYC. An initial pilot program will begin this week at locations across New York City.

The state will deliver 500,000 cloth masks — at least one for every resident — and 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to public housing communities.

Governor Cuomo announced the creation of the Reimagine NY Task Force to improve systems in downstate New York once the state is no longer on PAUSE. The Task Force will be led by the state and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and will comprise other local elected officials and housing and transportation experts.

Following mandatory quarantines, the MTA announced Monday that the number of employees who have returned to work is now higher than those who are still out on quarantine.

To provide guidance and support on PPE, Health + Hospitals has announced a new PPE Hotline for staff who need help with PPE. The employee hotline is available 24/7 and callers will be directed to their facility command center team for immediate assistance.

Governor Cuomo will issue an Executive Order directing all public and private labs in New York to coordinate with the State Department of Health to prioritize Coronavirus diagnostic testing.

Don’t forget to wear a face mask in public when social distancing is not possible, such as on public transportation and on busy streets. Drivers and passengers in for-hire vehicles must wear masks.

Starting April 20, a state-wide antibody testing survey will begin. This survey will randomly sample 3,000 New Yorkers to estimate the percentage of the population that has already had COVID-19 and may now be immune.

Governor Cuomo reports that what’s needed to get New York State on the way to opening is for the federal government to oversee the supply chain for testing and get the testing labs the testing chemicals, reagents, they need.

Remote wedding ceremonies are permitted. Governor Cuomo  issued an Executive Order allowing New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely and allowing clerks and any authorized officiant to perform ceremonies via video conference.

An Executive Order will enable individuals assisting with the COVID-19 response or individuals who have been displaced due to COVID-19 to stay in a hotel in New York City for more than 28 days without legally becoming a tenant.

311 is working hard to be able to provide help for every New Yorker who needs it, including by hiring 120 new call takers. Meanwhile, the City is asking New Yorkers to help bring down 311's call volume by only calling  for COVID-19 related service requests either at nyc.gov/311 or via the 311 mobile app.

For survivors of domestic violence, Sanctuary for Families, the domestic violence survivors’ group, has released Safety Planning Guides, drawing from the expertise of both survivors and clinicians, in EnglishSpanishChineseArabicFrench, and German. Also, their helpline at (212) 349-6009 has expanded hours to 9 am - 5 pm, Monday-Friday. Finally, they’ve launched a Virtual Courtroom Advocates Project to guide survivors through COVID-19-related changes in the court system and ensure they’re still able to seek life-saving orders of protection.

On feeding the meter, the Department of Transportation kicked off a new effort to discourage cash payments at parking meters in order to reduce physical interaction between the DOT’s workforce and the public. The city agency is encouraging New Yorkers to use two pay-by-cell options, ParkNYC and ParkMobile. Both are apps that are available to download and use to pay at the 80,000 metered spots across the city. ParkNYC allows account holders to pay for parking at any metered parking space on a new pay-as-you-go basis with no additional fees after loading an initial $25 wallet balance. The DOT is temporarily allowing the use of ParkMobile, which is an app used nationwide. ParkMobile can be used for single transactions, for a 15-cent per transaction.

Speaker Johnson and Councilmember Rivera have introduced legislation requiring that the City provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists on 75 miles of streets.

Our Town reports, questions have been raised about the operation of the field hospital in Central Park. Volunteers have been turned away from working at the Central Park field hospital after refusing to sign a “statement of faith” provided by Samaritan’s Purse — the organization partnering with Mount Sanai and the city to run the hospital — according to a report from amNY Metro. According to protesters, the document contains anti-LGBTQ and extreme religious claims. A complaint has been filed with the City’s Human Rights Commission and advocates are calling for an investigation into Samaritan’s Purse.

The West Harlem Art Fund is launching "COVID Diaries POC," an audio series documenting the impact of the coronavirus with a racial justice equity lens through interview and memoir. Students from Exalt Youth will generate interview questions for family members, neighbors and others to respond to using their phones. Those interviews will be archived and woven into an outdoor botanical installation and soundscape performance piece designed by artists Nadia DeLane and Austin Arrington on Governor's Island. Please email [email protected] if you'd like to be interviewed.

Cornell Tech created and donated PPE’s to Coler Hospital on Roosevelt Island, which were delivered by Assembly Member Seawright’s office. Cornell students 3-D printed face shields. The PPEs are to protect healthcare workers and patients.

Recommendations for your eyes by an eye doctor. Any time you are out of your house, you are wearing glasses of some sort for eye protection. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES, particularly when you are out. Glasses are preferable as they are a barrier between your hands and your eyes. Always have a backup pair in case of an emergency!!! This is especially important for contact lens patients.

The best way to clean your glasses is with warm water and dish soap, so that the lenses and frames are not damaged. Hot water as well as household disinfectants can harm both the frame and the lenses. Always use a soft disposable tissue/paper towel to dry your glasses. Please clean more frequently during this period. Cleaning cloths should either be washed or replaced frequently.

If you’re worried about whether the virus is on your clothing and whether you should shower and change your clothes after going to the market, read this New York Times Article.

For more on masks, read this New York Times Article

Dr. Max Gomez, WCBS’ medical correspondent explained to Our Town how antibodies are expected to be a significant factor in treatment. One very important thing is going to be these antibodies; convalescent serum is what it’s called. Somebody who has recovered from this has antibodies in their plasma. You would sequence those antibodies and then you can manufacture those and call them monoclonal antibodies, and you can turn them into a drug. Those antibodies go after the virus-infected cells.

Starting this week, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN will be providing 3 meals a day for all staffs at all municipal hospitals and nursing homes. (Municipal hospitals are Bellevue, Kings County, Elmhurst, Queens, Woodhull,Metropolitan and more.  Coler , on Roosevelt Island, is a municipal nursing home). Thanks Bloomberg Philanthropies for funding these meals.

Education/Parenting

The Dept. of Education has issued a Remote Learning Survey to find out from caregivers and students how remote learning has been working. The survey is anonymous, as well as available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu. Please complete the survey here before May 1.

“TIME for Kids” and “TIME Edge” platforms are now available for free for the rest of the 2020 school year, ensuring age-appropriate, trusted content is easily accessible for Grades K - 8. They’ve also launched Draw with Drew (And Rosie!)to provide art education to kids at home.

Classes aren’t just for kids. DOROT’s University Without Walls offers hundreds of classes appealing to a wide range of interests, all available over the phone. New programs are added weekly to accommodate increased numbers of seniors who cannot attend programs in their community. To register, call (877) 819-9147 or email [email protected]

Distractions/Entertainment

The Battery Park City Authority is marking the 50th year of Earth Day with a week of virtual initiatives to inspire climate action. Visit their website here.

Hunter College is offering “Hunter at Home”, a series of interactive lectures, readings, and discussion with Hunter faculty who will share their research and take your questions.

In honor of its 55th anniversary, the Landmarks Preservation Commission  has created a new interactive story map to honor their vital work with highlights from decades of helping to make our city’s history tangible for every generation. There are a number of references to the Upper East Side, including guidance of the expansion of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

If you’re bored, here’s a list of 50 Free Things to Do during time at home. Click here to view that list. It includes links to how to make a teddy bear, visit the Monterey Aquarium to catch up on your favorite sealife, learn a language, and sing karaoke with your friends. The website also has links to short courses.

The New York Historical Society is posting  archival recipes, with a different recipe each week. This is a sample, recipe for lemon cake and no, it hasn’t been updated. See https://www.nyhistory.org/recipe-week

Mark your calendar for May 12th, when you can tune in to a fascinating panel discussion presented by the New York Academy of Science, Alienating Mars: Challenges of Space Colonization. Ah, the relative "safety" of outer space!

If you’re interested in architecture, or just New York, there’s a podcast for you from Person, Place, Thing. The conversation is with a co-founder of KPF, architects of buildings worldwide, including One Vanderbilt, rising near Grand Central. “It’s very tall at over 1,400 feet, but it’s not the tallest building in New York, and we weren’t trying to make it the tallest,” he told the Center for Architecture. “We didn’t want to get into a height war.” And yet KPF created seven of the world’s ten tallest buildings. A pretty paradox. Music: Hubby Jenkins. Photo: Harry Wilks. listen here

Tomorrow (4/22), the American Museum of Natural History’s yearly EarthFest Celebration will begin at 10:00 am with a whole day of interactive online activities, featuring everything from workshops on plant biodiversity for kids, to trivia happy hour in the evening, to live satellite visualizations of spots around the world.

WAYS YOU CAN HELP

New York City Service is looking for volunteers to help those affected by COVID-19, click here.

New York State has provided a form for the donation of goods, services, or space. To access the form, click here.

The dedicated staff at the Stanley Isaacs Center, 415 E. 93 St., needs help supporting their older adult clients through meals and case management services. Interested in volunteering? Contact [email protected]

Donate blood. Blood is urgently needed. Please go to https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/node/1546 to make an appointment (walk-ins) are no longer allowed and for more information.

Complete the census. We need all the help and Congressional representatives we can get.

SUNY is distributing more than 8,800 laptops to students in need who are currently completing their spring semester coursework online amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boomerang Toys on Broadway is partnering with West Side Kids and Coalition for the Homeless to provide toys to children in need. The toy store is looking for monetary donations to fund their goal of delivering toys to homeless children throughout the city. Those interested can make donations on their website by visiting boomerangtoys.com.

How New York State is helping. New York is standing by and ready to transport 400 ventilators to Massachusetts, who is facing a spike in COVID-19 cases, within 24 hours if they are needed.

FINANCIAL AND LOCAL BUSINESSES UPDATES

The City's Workforce1 Career Center launched a Virtual Center(or call 718-960-2458) to help New Yorkers prepare for, and connect to, jobs across New York City's five boroughs and in every sector of the economy. Current employment opportunities include Stop & Shop, Fresh Direct & PBM Guardian Industry Services.

Jobs: Temporary opportunities are available by clicking here. Additionally, NYCHA has Seasonal Jobs. NYCHA is currently hiring temporary workers to assist with maintenance at our properties throughout the city. The job will last as needed throughout the spring season at a rate of $15/hour. For more info and to apply, your constituents who are NYCHA residents can contact their local NYCHA Property Management Office. Find out more here.

Tomorrow (4/22) from 10:00 - 11:15 am, the New York Public Library is hosting a webinar titled “Job Search Tips for Mature Job Seekers,” offering tips on building confidence, searching for positions, building a resume, and preparing for interviews. Register here.

The IRS has opened a new, online portal and launched a new, free app for economic impact payment tracking. This portal will allow taxpayers to find out the status of their payment. If a payment hasn't yet been issued, individuals can provide their banking information for direct deposit. Individuals who were not required to file 2018 or 2019 taxes can enter their information here so that they will receive economic impact payments.

The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) has launched a new, streamlined application for New Yorkers to apply for COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance without first needing to apply for Unemployment Insurance. Prior to today, New Yorkers were required to apply for regular Unemployment Insurance and be rejected before applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This new application, which aligns with updated federal policy, allows New Yorkers to simply fill out one form to get the correct benefits without requiring applicants to call the DOL. The agency has installed more than 3,100 representatives solely dedicated to answering unemployment benefit needs seven days a week. The DOL previously had 400 representatives in the call center. The DOL has paid out $2.2 billion in unemployment benefits to 1.1 million New Yorkers so far. The new form is available here.

For the broad outlines of the deal the Congress and the White House seem close to making to provide more funding, read this New York Times Article.

NYS is launching an awareness campaign to help ensure that New Yorkers who need it most claim their Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act. Many taxpayers who filed 2018 or 2019 federal tax returns will receive them automatically into their bank account. Learn more on the Tax Department's Economic Impact Payment information webpage.

There is a new grant program that will begin accepting applications on Monday, April 20 at 3 PM. The Save Small Business Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, will be offering grants of $5,000 to small businesses in economically vulnerable communities. Eligible businesses employ between 3-20 employees (including owners) and have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, and to access an application when it becomes available, click here.

The National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) has issued guidance on applying for the $75 million it was allocated in the CARES Act. If a nonprofit cultural organization has received NEA support in the last four fiscal years, it is eligible to apply for a direct grants and should apply by tomorrow, Wednesday April 22. Eligible organizations can apply here.

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts has implemented an expedited intake process for arts-related issues affected by the COVID crisis. If you are an artist meeting the eligibility requirements of VLA, and have a legal issue, please contact [email protected] or fill out an inquiry form on its website at vlany.org.

The Manhattan District Attorney has opened a hotline for reporting scams related to COVID-19. If you have been the victim of such a scam, or know someone who has, email [email protected], call (212) 335-8900, or message (347) 463-2198 on WhatsApp. 

The New York Attorney General has issued guidance to make sure stimulus payment checks remain off limits to banks, creditors and debt collectors; those violating this order will face swift legal action. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation opened applications for their $5,000 Save Small Business grants for businesses (employing 3-20 people) that have been harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While applications have closed, keep checking. There may be additional funding at some point.

Legal Services NYC has opened a hotline to help New Yorkers apply for public benefits like SNAP and Medicaid, as well as manage rent and utilities arrears. Call (917) 661-4500 for a free, confidential assessment.

The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation (LAEF) has launched a special initiative to provide $1 million in financial support to jazz vocalists and instrumentalists in the New York Metropolitan Area who have lost income due to the coronavirus-related closures. The foundation is providing 1,000 musicians with $1,000 each in grant finding. Applications are still open 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 20. The foundation will continue to accept contributions to help more musicians throughout the five boroughs.

Lawsuits have been brought against insurers over COVID-19 business interruption claims. Read more here.

Germany has been reopening stores. The BBC reports on it here. Also read the Guardian's coverage here.

To support NYC during this extraordinary time, NYC & Company is promoting businesses located within the five boroughs that are offering products for purchase online (accessories, apparel, books, food items and gift baskets, games, homewares and others) and/or gift cards. When submitting, please allow at least three business days for your listing to appear, and note that due to the volume of incoming listings, this may take longer. Submissions that include photography will be given preference in the order of items on NYC & Company’s Shop in NYC page. They cannot accommodate flyers or other marketing materials as graphics. All listings are subject to approval by NYC & Company staff. To learn more and to participate, please click here.

Applications open this Thursday (4/23) for unrestricted grants of up to $2500 from the newly formed Maurice Sendak Emergency Relief Fund, administered by the New York Foundation for the Arts. Applications will close once 600 are received, and grants will be made in the order in which applications are received. The Maurice Sendak Foundation has funded the first $100,000, with a goal of raising $250,000.

Applicants must be children’s picture book artists and/or writers who have published at least one picture book in the last five years (or who have a book currently under contract) and must show documented losses of income for the period of 2/1 - 7/30/2020 (including, but not limited to, cancelled freelance projects; teaching, speaking, or consulting assignments; lost temp work; layoffs or furloughs as a result of business closures, etc.). Applications will be reviewed between 4/23 and 5/4, and applicants will be notified by 5/4/2020. Please visit NYFA’s website for more information including a list of application questions and requirements. All questions should be directed to [email protected].

Citi Bike has opened applications for their Citi Bike Community Grants for July 2020 - July 2021. The $5,000 to $25,000 grants are for local nonprofits who can help increase access to bikeshare in low-income neighborhoods. There's a webinar tomorrow (4/22) from 5:30 - 6:30 pm for those interested in applying. Find application materials here and register for the webinar here.

LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS TELE-TOWN HALLS

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs & Resources

To get regular updates on the latest developments with coronavirus in New York City text COVID to 692-692. You will receive regular SMS texts with the latest news and developments. Please check nyc.gov/health/coronavirus for the latest updates

If you are experiencing stress or feel anxious, contact NYC Well at 888-NYC-WELL (888-692- 9355) or text WELL to 65173. NYC Well is a confidential help line that is staffed 24/7 by trained counselors who can provide brief supportive therapy, crisis counseling, and connections to behavioral health treatment, in more than 200 languages.

Additional resources:

CENSUS 2020

U.S. Census Bureau has made some necessary changes to help keep residents safe while still working to ensure a complete census count. This includes extending the national deadline for the count from July 31 to August 14 and postponing all door-to-door outreach campaigns until May. With the majority of our businesses and libraries closed across the state, this gives local communities more time to adjust their outreach plans and helps prevent our state from being put at an unfair disadvantage.

Fill out your Census at My2020Census.gov OR by phone in these languages: