Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates April 7th



E Pluribus Unim is now part of New York State’s Great Seal. Out of many, one. As Governor Cuomo said, “the importance of that motto is especially clear and relevant today.”

Governor Cuomo has extended the NY PAUSE executive order until April 29. Schools and non-essential businesses will remain closed at least until that date.

NYS is extending the open enrollment period for New Yorkers without health insurance to May 15. Please get covered if you are not already. Enroll here.

The USNS Comfort will now be used to treat COVID-19 patients after Governor Cuomo's request to the President yesterday. This increases the number of coronavirus hospital beds by 500.

 Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California is loaning 500 state-owned ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile to help New York and other COVID-19 hotspots.

The “surge and flex” system for moving necessary equipment to hospitals that need it has allowed 802 ventilators to be moved to New York City (505 ventilators) and the suburbs. They will be moved around the state as required.

The State is partnering with Headspace to provide free mindfulness, meditation and mental health resources. You can visit to utilize these services. New Yorkers can continue to call the New York State Emotional Support Headline at 1-844-863-9314.

The NYC Dept. of Health has compiled tips on dealing with the enormous stress of the Coronavirus outbreak, click here for that list.

The NYC Thrive website contains information and links to resources for all New Yorkers, including students and young people, and those harmed by crime, violence or abuse, people with disabilities, and City government employees. Click here to view.

Fines. Governor Cuomo has ordered an increase in New York State fines for violating social distancing requirements to $1000 from $500.

The City has ended the "Safe Streets" pilot program which closed certain streets to vehicular traffic to give New Yorkers more space to be outside while maintaining social distancing. NYPD personnel resources have been increasingly constrained over the last two weeks, and the City is no longer able to provide the staffing needed to keep up this program.

Home health care workers need personal protective equipment too. The Mayor's Office of People With Disabilities has created a survey to assess those needs. If you're a home care service provider for that community, please complete the survey here so adequate amounts of equipment can be procured for those workers:

On Thursday, April 9 at 6 pm, join the New York Urban League (NYUL) for a Virtual Town Hall about COVID-19. NYUL will be examining how the virus is affecting the black community, the features of the CARES Act, and how the legislation will affect and benefit New Yorkers. Panelists include Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and State Senator Kevin Parker with opening remarks from Marc Morial, National Urban League President and CEO and will be moderated by NYUL CEO Arva Rice. Register for the Town Hall by clicking here.

Please recycle your household paper, as you did before this crisis. With the surge in home deliveries from online orders in the past few weeks, it’s more important than ever to recycle your boxes— and in fact ALL "mixed paper." Pratt NYC, the company which owns paper recycling and corrugated plants on Staten Island, has donated thousands of boxes to GrowNYC (which runs the Greenmarkets) to help package food for the hungry. You help the environment too.

To help address the ventilator shortage, the Governor announced the State Department of Health has approved Northwell's protocol allowing BiPAP machines to be converted into ventilators.

NYC Parks Department has announced they will be closing dog runs due to Coronavirus safety concerns.

Governor Cuomo has authorized medical students graduating this spring to begin practicing immediately.

Reminder that masks are now recommended when going outside. However, New York State urges you not to wear N95 masks which should be reserved for health care and other frontline workers who truly need them. Instead,  use a scarf or bandana or a piece of clothing, or make your own -- and to continue to adhere to maintaining a social distance of 6 feet from other people.

The New York Times has a tutorial on making face masks by clicking here.

GHNY is working with NYC & Company to help provide employees of member hospitals and nursing homes with places to stay during the COVID response. Accommodations are available for individuals or groups. For information and lists of hotels, click here.

Lenox Hill Neighborhood House is providing art classes to help caregivers practice self-care and reduce stress on Thursdays from 10-11:30 through ZOOM. Please call Laura DiPaola at 929-251-4499 or by email at [email protected] for more information or to register.

Farmers Markets are open. Not only can you get healthy food, but you support the local farmers who need the green markets sales to stay in business. GrowNYC lists information about the Green Markets here and lists stands that allow online ordering with curbside pick-up and a description of what each farmstand sells here. Gift cards to some farmstands are also available.

The new DOB online tracker for essential construction can be found by clicking here. Complaints about active construction at sites not listed on the map may be made to  NYS PAUSE Enforcement hotline at (833) 789-0470 or through the website by clicking here.

Thank you to all health care workers who have come from out-of-state. Thank you to Governor Kate Brown of Oregon who will send 140 ventilators to New York. Thank you to  out-of-staters who are helping supply us with desperately-needed PPEs and medical gear.. As Governor Cuomo reports, the New England Patriots delivered 300,000 masks. There are many other examples. We are all grateful to everyone who has lent and is lending us their expertise, making donations, providing resources and working with us to help us get through this crisis. Thank you to China for sending over 1000 ventilators. Thank you to the Joseph and Clara Tsai Foundation (it donated the 1000 ventilators with the Chinese government and Consul General facilitating the donation) and the Jack Ma Foundation have donated one million surgical masks, one million KN95 masks and more than 100,000 pairs of goggles. The NBA, Brooklyn Nets (owned by Tsai) and Knicks are donating 1,000,000 surgical masks.

The New York Philharmonic videotaped a moving thank you to health care workers. The musicians play Maurice Ravel’s Bolero remotely, from their own homes. Click here.

The federal government is sending 1000 personnel, including doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians and therapists to help in this crisis.

For virus tracking by county and up-to-date figures, including gender and age breakdowns, click the NYS-COVID-19 Tracker here.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has confirmed that residents who are undocumented will not be turned away from healthcare due to immigration status or inability to pay. Coronavirus will NOT be considered under the Public Charge rule, even if the services are Medicaid-funded.

There is a new New York City Engagement Portal. The City of New York is collecting information to better understand and communicate about the impacts of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Information you share will help in enabling the City to share information with you and members of the public about COVID-19, and to help inform the City’s response to areas affected by COVID-19. For information about who is eligible to enter information and to enter information, click here.

For information on using SNAP to order groceries online and a list of which online retailers you can order from, click here.

The Governor has authorized virtual notarization of documents. For more information, including requirements, click here.

The New York Public Library and WNYC — two indispensable New York institutions — are partnering to host a virtual book club to bring New Yorkers together and foster community during an unprecedented time of social separation.  Click here for the link to a press release with details about the partnership including how New Yorker's can participate

For COVID-19 resources for people with disabilities, click here.


Visit the Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center for information on ensuring the continued use and benefits of SNAP during the Coronavirus crisis at

The free meal service at public schools is also provided for adults. No one will be turned away. Pickup times are as follows: 7:30 - 11:30 am for families, and 11:30 am - 1:30 pm for adults. You can find your school by texting "FOOD", or "COMIDA" to 877-877.

For a very serious article (you need to sign up to continue reading) on how this virus has led to a new normal for a very long time, see, published by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Saveur magazine has a list of small food producers whose business is no longer supported by the restaurants they had been selling to. If you are interested in cooking, or just supporting the cheesemongers, chocolatiers, butchers, spice importers and others, click here for a list of small food producers. The Fulton Fish Market and Dickson’s butcher in the Chelsea Market are on the list.


The Department of Education is required to continue remote instruction during the days that were originally scheduled for Spring Recess, including those that are religious holidays. Based on discussions with the UFT, DC37, CSA, and school staff, the City is providing four additional personal days to staff, which can be used for religious observance if needed.

The City Dept. of Education has several updates starting April 6. 

  • Instead of having students pick up devices, DOE will prepare and DELIVER them to high school students, multilingual learners, students with disabilities, those who live in public housing. Everyone else who have requested a device will be eligible to receive them  after those deliveries have been made.
  • If you received an iPad from DOE,  for help getting started, click If you need help, contact Apple Support at, or call 1-800-800-2775. If you have issues connecting the device to T-Mobile internet, click or call 1-800-375-1126.
  • If you already HAVE a device and need technical support, call 718-935-5100.
  • The New York State Board of Regents is cancelling the High School Regents exams in June.
  • Students from early elementary through high school can receive one-on-one tutoring through the New York Public Library, daily from 2 – 11 pm, in English or Spanish, K-12. The website includes resources. Click The tutoring includes test prep. A library card is required.  Families can apply for a free card through this website,
  • Families of students with IEPs will now have IEP meetings conducted over the phone. Email your principal or [email protected], or call 311.

For those celebrating Passover and looking for a virtual Seder, the following list was compiled by the Borough President’s office.

On the Upper East Side:


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.

Gift cards are recommended as a way to help small businesses and restaurants.

The New York City Nonprofits website has a lot of information to assist nonprofits. Click here for more. 

You can donate to New York City Health & Hospitals. More than $1.6 million has been donated. Click to donate

Donate blood through the New York Blood Center. Appointments are required. Click to find a donation center and make an appointment for all donations. However, you must complete the form on the website if you have recovered from COVID-19 and would like to donate plasma.

The Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center lists many ways you can help provide food or support those that do during this crisis. You could have fun and learn too. There are online cooking and baking classes to raise money for Food Bank NYC.While the first two classes were held April 3 and April 4 (9 a.m.), check the link below for possible additional classes. For information on the classes and other donation and volunteer opportunities, click here.

Please note that most not-for-profits have links on their websites for donations.

Sign up as a volunteer for the Friendly Visiting Program at 212-244-6469. Please click here and complete the DFTA Volunteer Interest Form.

To help support our First Responders, New York created the First Responders Fund. The fund will assist COVID-19 health care workers and first responders with expenses and costs, including child care. The State Department of Health is accepting donations for the fund, and received an anchor $10 million contribution from Blackstone. Donations can be made electronically at or by check mailed to "Health Research, Inc., 150 Broadway, Suite 560, Menands, NY 12204." Donors should specify the donation is for "COVID-19 NYS Emergency Response."

Northstar Community Fund has compiled a long list of mutual aid opportunities which you can view here.

The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund has started a GoFundMe campaign with a $1,000,000 goal. The link to donate can be found by clicking here. Several not-for-profits are recipients of the Fund. You may email the Fund at [email protected].

Famiglia's Pizza (at Madison and 97th street) is doing a pizza matching program: if you pay for a pizza for the hospital workers at Mt. Sinai, they will match your number of donated pizzas. (Order one pizza to donate to the hospital and they will deliver 2.)  Give them a call at 212-996-9797


As part of the Federal CARES Act, Paycheck Protection Program loan applications opened for small businesses who apply. There is $350 billion available to companies and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees. NOTE: the Mayor describes this funding as first-come, first-serve!

The loans become grants if the funds are used for payroll. Effectively, this is a stimulus plan-- but banks are administering it, and so naturally there is an application process. Here's a sample Paycheck Protection Program application form that may be helpful in getting you started (PDF). The Borough President has taken the flow chart created by the U.S. House Small Business Committee (Chaired by New York’s own Nydia Velázquez) and created this web page for clarity on how under-500 organizations can apply.

The U.S. Small Business Administration confirmed that business owners who have already applied for its Economic Injury Disaster Loans MUST REAPPLY using a revamped website:

The Carnegie Corporation and Bloomberg Philanthropies have created the NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund which provides a pool of $75 million to help small and mid-size arts organizations with interest-free loans. Organizations must be NYC-based, have an annual operating budget of under $20 million, be a 501C3 in good legal standing, and have a track record for robust service to the people of New York. For more on donating to, or receiving help from, the consortium fund go to NYCommunityTrust.Org. 

The IRS will start sending the rebate checks included in the CARES Act on April 9th.The Federal COVID-19 Recovery Check will be based upon 2018 or 2019 federal tax returns. Some who do not file tax returns, such as students, may have to file a simple tax return to receive a Recovery Check.

However, the Treasury Department and IRS will not require Social Security recipients to receive a check. The government will rely on the information in the Forms SSA-1099 and RRB 1099 if tax returns were not filed in 2018 or 2019 to generate the checks.

If your work schedule was reduced as a result of the coronavirus and you are unable to pay your rent, you can apply for a Cash Assistance special grant request to get benefits for emergencies. The ACCESS HRA website provides information or you can contact Council Member Ben Kallos at 212-860-1950 or by email at [email protected].

Don’t get scammed or defrauded. The Department of Justice is remaining vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis. Find out how you can protect yourself and helpful resources on DOJ’s Coronavirus Fraud Prevention website by clicking here.

The Federal Trade Commission has also established a website with helpful information to help consumers avoid coronavirus-related scams, including a list of ways scammers are taking advantage of this crisis.

The Manhattan Chamber is hosting weekly webinars to provide the latest Covid-related updates for small business owners. Experts will answer your questions on topics such as new government instructions or resources that are available. For the foreseeable future, these weekly webinars will take place every Tuesday at 2:00 pm.

Grants for women-identifying artists

The New York  Foundation for the Arts has partnered with Anonymous Was A Woman (AWAW) to launch an emergency relief grant program to support women-identifying visual artists over 40 who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The program will distribute $250,000 in cash grants, up to $2,500 per-artist, to artists who have experienced financial hardship from loss of income or opportunity as a direct result of the crisis.

Who can apply:

  • Applicants must be visual artists identifying as women (who work in Digital/New Media, Drawing, Film/Video, Installation, Painting, Photography, Sculpture).
  • Applicants must be 40 years or older on or before April 8, 2020.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate activity in their artistic discipline over the past five years.
  • Applicants must show documented losses of income for the period of February 1 - July 30, 2020. 
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents in any of the 50 states, District of Columbia, or U.S. territories.  

The fund will cover any documented lost income opportunities including, but not limited to: cancelled teaching, speaking, or consulting assignments; lost temp work; and layoffs or furloughs as a result of business closures, etc. Applicants should note that eligible income loss does not need to be specifically related to presenting or displaying their art.


  • Application Opens: Monday, April 6, 2020 at 10:00 AM EST
  • Application Closes: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 6:00 PM EST
  • Application Notification: By Thursday, April 30, 2020

Apply here.

The Red Backpack Fund for Female Entrepreneurs Application opened yesterday! Find out more by clicking here.

FDA Released Updated Social Distancing Guidance for Food Retail Establishments

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has alerted us that the FDA has provided updated recommendations to employers on maintaining social distancing among employees in food retail establishments and on whether employees should wear face coverings to prevent exposure to COVID-19. The information is found in the "Questions & Answers for Industry" section of the FDA's Food Safety & the Coronavirus Disease 2019 resource page (please click here).

The State Dept. of Labor is working to improve response times (and their infrastructure) for unemployment insurance and has hired 300 more operators, expanded service from six to seven days a week, and Google has been hired to enhance intake capability. Click Unemployment Insurance .Meanwhile, in an effort to manage the influx, applicants are now asked to call based on the first letter of their last names, as follows:

  • Monday, names starting with A - F.
  • Tuesday, names beginning G - N.
  • Wednesday, last names with initials O - Z.

If you miss your day, you can also file on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Any claim filed will be back-dated to the date the filer became unemployed, NOT the date of filing. If you are eligible, you will be paid for all benefits due. If you are instructed to call to complete your claim, the ONLY valid number is 1-888-209-8124.

Filling out government forms can be tricky, complicated and frustrating. If you're a small business owner with less than five employees, Columbia Law Professor Tim Wu has been putting together a team of Columbia law students to help owners like you apply for the $349 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans-- the employee retention loans created by the CARES Act passed by Congress. *IF* owners use these loans to pay workers rather than lay them off, the "loans" are forgiven. You may recall I mentioned Friday that applications have opened and that these loans are first-come, first serve. This is a terrific offer, and to keep them from being overwhelmed, please email me at [email protected] with "Columbia Law PPP" in the subject line

The Borough President’s office has reported that there are scams. Emails come from That is not the correct website for the Small Business Administration. The SBA’s address is Be careful about opening emails. has an article with answers to nine questions about how to get stimulus funds. Click here for more information

For information on the Economic Injury Loan Emergency Advance, a program that provides up to $10,000 in temporary funds to businesses, click here

For information on bridge loans of up to $25,000 for those businesses that have a relationship with an SBA Express Lender, click here

For information on SBA debt relief for small businesses, click here

For those in the fashion industry, A Common Thread is a storytelling initiative spearheaded by Vogue and in collaboration with the CFDA, to raise both awareness and needed funds for those in the American fashion community who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parameters of the fund are still being established, and applications will be available on the CFDA website beginning on Wednesday, April 8th. The fund is not limited to former Fashion Fund participants or members of the CFDA. See the website for more information on the fund and a link to donate. (Thank you to the Madison Avenue BID for the information)

IRS Announces that an Employee Retention Credit is now available for many businesses financially impacted by COVID-19. Click here for more information.

The Times reported on domestic airlines policies for refunds and rescheduling flights, with nearly all offering credits for future flights. Click here for more information.

 DOF Commissioner Jacques Jiha is exercising his authority under the Administrative Code of the City of New York to allow for a waiver of penalties for DOF-administered business and excise taxes due between March 16, 2020, and April 25, 2020. Taxpayers may request to have the penalties waived on a late-filed extension or return, or in a separate request. Click here for more information.

Brooklyn Council Member Brad Lander has prepared a page with information on relief for freelancers, artists, and gig-workers-- who lack many basic worker protections or access to a robust social safety net-- that many will find useful.

Eater published a list of Relief Funds for Restaurants, Bars and Food Service Workers.

The Nation published an article on the 12 Coronavirus funds to help the most vulnerable.

Dry cleaners are no longer considered essential businesses in the revised definition.

Thryv’s Foundation Small Business COVID-19 Grant Program is offering grants to small businesses. Click here for more information. Grants are first-come, first served. Applications are due April 30.


You are invited to have your questions answered at our Tele-Town Hall on Tuesday, April 7th at 6pm. We will be joined by Dr. Jennifer Rosen, Director of Epidemiology and Surveillance at the Department of Health, who will answer questions about how to stay safe and healthy. Please RSVP and submit your question ahead of time. This event is co-sponsored by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Members Rebecca Seawright and Dan Quart, and City Council Member Keith Powers. RSVP and submit your question.

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 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:


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 OR by phone in these languages: