APRIL 30TH RESOURCES AND UPDATES:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the closure of the subway system overnight from 1 – 5 a.m. for daily deep cleaning and a new “Essential Connector” service to continue moving the heroes on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic beginning Wednesday, May 6. During this overnight period, the MTA will intensify disinfecting operations, cleaning its fleet of thousands of cars and buses every night, and further testing new and innovative cleaning solutions, including UV, antimicrobials and electrostatic disinfectants. Essential workers traveling to and from work during the overnight will be connected with for-hire-vehicles through the “Essential Connector” program at no cost to customers. New York City Transit and MTA bus service will continue to run under the MTA Essential Service Plan with enhancements along high ridership routes.
The closure of the system during the overnight period of 1-5:00 a.m. will require significant and sustained NYPD resources. All customers will be required to leave the trains and the stations during this time. The City has agreed to bolster its presence systemwide and deploy additional NYPD resources as the safety and security of the system is paramount during this period.
Preliminary results of the State's FDNY and NYPD antibody testing survey that tested 1,000 FDNY officers and 1,000 NYPD officers from all five boroughs show that 17.1% of FDNY officiers and EMTs have COVID-19 antibodies and 10.5% of NYPD officers have antibodies. The State will be conducting further antibody analysis and surveys by race and gender in the future.
The State is testing 1,000 transit workers for antibodies to further determine the spread of infection among frontline workers. The State is working with BioReference to provide antibody tests to first responders and other essential workers from the MTA, State Police, Department Of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), and others.
The City will offer antibody test to more than 150,000 health care workers and first responders at hosptials, firehouses, police stations, and corrections facilities. The City aims to begin testing by next week, and plans to test all health care workers and first responders within one month in partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Servies and the CDC. **A positive antibody test does not necessarily mean full protection.**
Governor Cuomo outlined additional guidelines for the phased plan to re-open New York on a regional basis and announced the creation of the New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board to guide our re-opening strategy. The Board will be chaired by Former Secretaries to the Governor Steve Cohen and Bill Mulrow. It includes more than 100 business, community, and civic leaders from industries across the state. A list of members of the Advisory Board is available here.
Factors New York State will consider in deciding how and when to reopen. We will carefully track hospital capacity — if a hospital system in a region exceeds 70% capacity, that's a danger sign that will require action. Similarly, a rise in the rate of transmission (Rt) to 1.1, is another warning that will require scaling back reopening. Re-opening will move forward only when there are 30 contact tracers per 100,000 people. There are twelve guidelines that will apply to each region of the state as part of the reopening plan. Read the full guidelines here.
As of yesterday, all participants in the GetFoodNYC program can opt for automatic deliveries for up to 30 days (as opposed to needing to renew every 48 hours) via 311 or the online portal.
Governor Cuomo has accepted the Maternity Task Force’s recommendations, which include increasing birthing site options, mandating testing for all pregnant patients, allowing doulas to be present during labor and delivery, and more. Read the task force's full report.
The Department of Defense will be provided mental health support for NYC health care workers by employing expertise in combat stress management and a curriculum based on providing mental health support to soldiers in a combat environment. They will integrate tools for coping with trauma from military combat into existing programs for NYC frontline workers, including H+H, Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), and FDNY and EMS. Military trauma specialists will assess the entire hospital system to implement new programs and tailor their tools to individual hospitals. More than 1,000 NYC H+H health personnel as well as private hospital staff will be trained in combat stress management. The City will assess frontline personnel individually and connect them to programs and support.
New Yorkers who have had to miss work because they were sick because of COVID-19 can claim paid sick leave and use the City’s Call Center to obtain the necessary medical documentation. For additional questions, see the Health Department’s FAQs (PDF)and, if needed, direct any remaining questions about how to obtain the necessary medical documentation to the City’s Call Center.
Mayor de Blasio announced an extension of the Citi Bike Critical Workforce Membership Program: healthcare providers, transit employees, first responders (NYPD, FDNY, EMS), critical City workforce, and those working at direct food-support non-profit organizations can obtain a free Citi Bike membership by signing up through their employers. Employers should email [email protected] to obtain enrollment information for their staff at no cost.
ULURP laws and processes are suspended through May 1.
The City streets that the Mayor says will be opened to pedestrians will be based upon: up to 60 miles of streets within and adjacent to parks; up to 20 miles of streets identified in consultation with local precincts, community boards and other partners; up to 10 miles of streets managed by local partners such as BIDs, block associations, or other civic groups; up to 2.5 miles of widened sidewalks; and up to 10 miles of protected bike lanes.
The Met Council’s community services are still operating during the pandemic: they have a confidential hotline for victims of domestic violence at (212) 453-9618, as well as a helpline for seniors needing free assistance with SNAP enrollment, emergency home repairs, or tax filings, accessible at (929) 292-9261.
The Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board has developed a guide titled “What to Do with Food Waste, Electronics, and Clothing During the Pandemic,” which explains how New Yorkers can continue to live a “zero waste” lifestyle during the pandemic.
To watch New York State’s thank you to essential workers, click here.
For lawyers, an e-book, Law in the Time of COVID-19, offers guidance for thinking about some the most pressing legal issues the pandemic has raised The book is a joint effort between Columbia University School of Law faculty and law professors at other schools, Download it at https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/books/240/.
City Lore is asking for your participation. Jane Jacobs believed in the importance of place and the power of individuals to influence their city. In this special Jane's Walk edition of #TakeActionTuesday, MAS and City Lore are asking you to nominate an essential place to our Census of Places that Matter, an encyclopedia and guide book of places across the five boroughs that New Yorkers love.Tell us about New York City sites that are essential to you --the ones you miss, the ones that are threatened or inaccessible, and those you currently rely upon-during the COVID-19 pandemic.To make a nomination to the Census of Places that Matter, click here.
The New York City Emergency Management Department and the Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare announced the launch of the NYC COVID-19 Pet Hotline. The Pet Hotline will serve as an information, planning, referral and service coordination hub for NYC residents who need support for their pets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pet Hotline operators can be reached directly at 877-204-8821, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
A reminder that the ASPCA has established a pet food distribution center in New York City in partnership with the Petco Foundation, Blue Buffalo, and PetSmart Charities to provide dog and cat owners free access to crucial food and supplies, including kitty litter. To keep in line with social distancing guidelines, food and supplies will be available by appointment only. Pet owners should call the ASPCA Pet Food Distribution Helpline at (800)738-9437 to request an appointment. This includes dog and cat supplies only, and distribution is subject to eligibility and availability. Open to residents of New York City; no same-day appointments; one-hour window for pick-up, don't come early and call if you're running late; bring a photo ID and be prepared to carry supplies! (DON'T bring pets!)
In partnership with the City Council, the Mayor announced that by the end of the first week of May, New Yorkers will be able to obtain marriage licenses fully online from the City Clerk. The site will be available in 11 languages and Language Line will be available to provide on-demand translation services. More information coming soon: nyc.gov/Cupid or cityclerk.nyc.gov.
During the COVID-19 crisis, VA is asking Veterans to lead our communities in practicing social distancing—and to use VA telemedicine for our care and prescriptions. It’s what we need to do to keep our fellow Veterans safe and defeat this virus. Watch this message from Dr. Richard Stone, Executive in Charge of the Veterans Health Administration and a former U.S. Army combat physician. For the latest VA updates on COVID-19, visit www.va.gov/coronaviru
Listen to Veteran and host Tanner Iskra discuss SBA's support for Veteran-owned businesses, VA's last three COVID-19 news releases and FAQs and an Interview with on-the-ground mobilized vet center directors in New York and New Orleans. For more information, click here.
To learn how to access VA telehealth services, watch the video here.
The City announced an adjusted grading policy for remote learning that is effective immediately. For grades 3-K and Pre-K, there is no change as these students do not receive report cards or grades. For K-5, schools will award grades using a binary Meets Standards and Needs Improvement scale. For grades 6-8, schools will award grades using three values; Meets Standards, Needs Improvement, and Course in Progress. For 9-12, schools will continue with the same grading scales they had before remote learning with the addition of a Course in Progress rating for students who cannot submit work or demonstrate mastery. Failing grdes will be considered Course in Progress. Students will be given the time and support they need to complete coursework and earn credit through January 2021. More information is available here.
247,000 iPads will be provided by April 30 to students who have already requested them. Families who have not yet requested a device can continue to do so by using this form or by calling 311.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer recently hosted a "virtual" Education Town Hall. Here's the link. Additionally, she hosted a “Bridging the Digital Divide” town hall panel last night. Thousands of people viewed some portion of it, but if you couldn’t make it, watch the recorded conversation here.
On Thursday (4/30) at noon and 9 pm, the New York City Quiz Game returns with Quizmaster (and former Manhattan Borough Historian) Michael Miscione, who will be assisted by Emma Guest-Consales, PhD, President of the Guides Association of NYC. Watch on Instagram Live @nycquizguy and learn more here. Email [email protected] with suggestions for questions.
This past weekend, singers gathered together to celebrate the 90th birthday of American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The tribute, called "Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration," includes performances of many of Sondheim's Broadway musical numbers. Watch the tribute here.
New York Road Runners has adjusted their Rising New York Road Runners youth fitness program for families sheltering in place: “Active at Home” features free games and activities curated for smaller spaces, including workouts led by Olympic Bronze Medalist Jenny Simpson. Learn more here.
For the schedule of the Irish Repertory Theatre online, click here.
WAYS YOU CAN HELP
Muslim Volunteers for New York, Inc. (MV4NY) commenced it’s 5th Annual Ramadan Food Drive to help the New York Common Pantry (NYCP), West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH) and Citymeals on Wheels (CMOW). These providers are working on the frontlines to serve our city’s most vulnerable and food insecure families & home bound seniors, while experiencing escalating demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Donation Link: Ramadan Food Drive 2020
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.
Donate to the First Responders Fund. The fund will assist COVID-19 healthcare workers and first responders with expenses and costs, including child care. Donations can be made electronically at www.healthresearch.org/donation-form/ or by check, mailed to "Health Research, Inc., 150 Broadway, Suite 560, Menands, NY 12204." (For checks, the donor should specify the donation is for "COVID-19 NYS Emergency Response.")
Complete your Census form. Census responses can't be used for any purpose other than tallying up population-- it's the law. And no enumerators will be knocking on doors today. So, please, if you haven't yet done so, take the time to fill in your form at www.my2020census.gov. New York City’s response rate is 10% behind the overall U.S. rate. We need every dollar and every Congressional seat. These depend on the census count. Please complete your form.
If you are able, please avoid grocery shopping in the next few days and make space for our neighbors who are on SNAP and WIC to buy food. The beginning of the month is when many public assistance benefits come in; with children staying home, families’ food supplies may have depleted more quickly, making grocery shopping at the start of the new month a necessity rather than a preference. Please also be mindful of your own shopping and avoid choosing items tagged with WIC labels unless absolutely necessary.
FINANCIAL AND LOCAL BUSINESSES UPDATES
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders as of Monday, April 27, 2020 at 10:30am EDT. Last week, the Senate approved $310 billion in new funding for the program, which is a loan program designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating (click here for a list of participating lenders). Importantly, these PPP loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. Click here to view an FAQ for Lenders and Borrowers.
The NYC Fund for Public Health is now hiring people with health backgrounds to do COVID-19 contact tracing. Learn more at https://fphnyc.org/about/careers/ under "COVID-19 Jobs." Other non-COVID-19 jobs are listed too.
The NYS Bar Association has launched a new service to connect pro-bono attorneys with New Yorkers having trouble collecting or filing for unemployment benefits. Learn more here.
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.
250 of the jobs for NYCHA residents listed on OpportunityNYCHA.org have yet to be filled. These positions are for temporary per diem workers to assist with general maintenance at NYCHA properties. Per diem income will not have an impact on your rent. Apply 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.
NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer has created a Small Business Program Guide that documents both government and private funding and promotional initiatives for small businesses harmed by Covid-19. You can download the guide by clicking here.
The Small Business Administration issued an updated set of FAQs on the PPP. Of note is question #31 – Do businesses owned by large companies with adequate sources of liquidity to support the business's ongoing operations qualify for a PPP loan?
According to the FAQ, "Although the CARES Act suspends the ordinary requirement that borrowers must be unable to obtain credit elsewhere (as defined in section 3(h) of the Small Business Act), borrowers still must certify in good faith that their PPP loan request is necessary. Specifically, before submitting a PPP application, all borrowers should review carefully the required certification that "[c]urrent economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant." Borrowers must make this certification in good faith, taking into account their current business activity and their ability to access other sources of liquidity sufficient to support their ongoing operations in a manner that is not significantly detrimental to the business."
Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time for small businesses. The application portal has just opened. To be eligible for the grant, you must have between 2 and 50 employees, and be in business for a year. You only have a short window to apply, so please complete your application right away. To learn more and to apply, please click here.
Through its Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP), the City Bar Justice Center (CBJC)'s COVID-19 Small Business Remote Legal Clinic (the CV-19 Clinic) will offer pro bono legal consultations to help entrepreneurs in New York City determine the best path forward for their small businesses in these particularly challenging times. For information, see https://www.citybarjusticecenter.org/covid-19-small-business-remote-legal-clinic-client-intake-form/
This article in Retail Dive documents some of the means by which retailers are using apps to create remote appointments with clients and do virtual styling utilizing sales staff, and eventually to create in-store appointments when stores eventually reopen. To read the article, please click here.
To watch a recorded webinar by JLL on how COVID-19 is permanently reshaping consumer expectations of retail and how various types of retail properties will feel the effects of this crisis differently, please click here. Reimagining the shopper experience online and in the physical space will be discussed as well as the evolution of last mile - including demands for localized consumption, contact avoidance and more.
New Yorkers who receive Supplemental Security Income and have minor dependents can receive an extra $500 per child in addition to the $1,200 Economic Impact Payment (which they should receive automatically). But if you get SSI and have not filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return, you must complete the Non-Filer web form on IRS.gov by May 5 (next Tuesday) to secure your payment.