Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates April 8th

APRIL 8TH RESOURCES AND UPDATES:

 

The Comptroller's office has created an online COVID-19 Resource Center​ to support New Yorkers through this pandemic. Whether you are a homeowner or tenant, want resources for nonprofits, small businesses, or freelancers, are concerned about New York's seniors, students, or our immigrant communities, the Comptroller's COVID-19 Resource Center​ has information you can use.

An important first step toward reopening schools and businesses is the detection on antibodies. The State Department of Health has developed a test to detect antibodies to the COVID-19 infection in an individual's blood. This test is an important step towards determining whether New Yorkers are developing immunity and when they could potentially return to work or school.

Please contact Borough President Gale Brewer at [email protected] if you are a senior and having trouble getting meals delivered  through your senior center.

Any construction project NOT on the Dept. of Buildings’ Live Tracker of essential construction can be reported 24/7 to the NYS PAUSE Enforcement hotline at (833) 789-0470 or through this online form. Relatedly, 311’s operators can now take these complaints. So if you see what you think is illegal construction that isn’t on the Live Tracker, call 311.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that treatment and preventive services for COVID-19 will not negatively impact the outcome for any person subject to the "public charge" test, even if the treatment and/or preventive services are provided or paid for by one or more public benefits considered under the "public charge" test. The website for the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs has resources for immigrant communities during this crisis.

The New York State of Health, the health plan marketplace, has announced a one-month extension of the special enrollment period through May 15, 2020. The Governor has extended the enrollment period by 30 days. Any New Yorker who does not have health insurance or who has recently lost their employee insurance can apply here. If you lost employer coverage, you must apply within 60 days of losing that coverage. Because of a loss of income, New Yorkers may also be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan, subsidized Qualified Health Plans or Child Health Plus. See the marketplace website at https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov. It was down for maintenance overnight, Keep trying.

The Mayor has a new Daily Message available on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube every morning. If you have questions, comments or concerns you want him to respond to, you can send them using the hashtag #AskMyMayor.

Should you get tested for COVID-19? The short answer is Testing should only be used for people with severe illness. This protects health care workers and may affect treatment options.

  • At this point, if you have mild symptoms, assume that you have COVID-19. A positive test will not change what a doctor tells you to do to get better. The best course of action is to stay at home.
  • If you are only mildly ill, you can save the life of another New Yorker by staying home to ensure health care resources go to those who need them the most. Take care of others by staying home.
  • For a more detailed answer on what to do if you have symptoms, and how to protect yourself and others, click here.

New York seeks private sector partners to bring rapid COVID-19 testing to scale and accelerate testing capacity. Businesses interested in working with the state to manufacture these rapid tests on a large scale should contact Empire State Development at 212-803-3100 or send an email to [email protected]

Governor Cuomo announced today that he is issuing an executive order that will allow voters to apply for, and cast, absentee ballots by mail for the state’s legislative, congressional, and presidential primary on June 23, using "illness" as a reason.

Tomorrow, Thursday, April 9, from 1 pm to 2 pm, the State Department of Health will be holding its weekly COVID-19 Healthcare Provider Webinar, and I encourage local providers to tune in to find out the latest information. To accommodate the large number of participants, the webinar will be streaming live on YouTube.

Education:

DOE will no longer allow the use of Zoom for remote learning; schools and families must switch to Microsoft Teams as soon as possible. Students can use their DOE student account credentials, while staff should use their @schools.nyc.gov accounts. If you need help navigating Teams, visit the Microsoft Student Help Center or call the DOE Service Desk at 718-935-5100.

Student loan borrowers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 can obtain relief for loans not covered by the CARES Act. Available relief includes 90 days of deferred monthly payments, waived late fees, no negative reporting to credit agencies and enrolling eligible borrowers in available long-term assistance programs. New York student loan borrowers should visit the Department of Financial Services' website for more information about available student loan relief.

Students affected by the cancellation of the June Regents exams will be able to graduate without making them up, the State Education Department announced Tuesday

The Mayor announced a free new digital platform to provide safe, fun, and entertaining virtual activities for New York City's teens and young adults. This first-of-its-kind campaign combines city and community resources to engage teens who are at home during the COVID-19 crisis and also provides tips to cope with the public and mental health challenges that may arise during this difficult time. The program can be accessed at nyc.gov/funathome or by texting "Fun" to 97743.

Goya is launching the Goya Culinary Competition for Scholarships for NYC high schoolers. Submit a recipe using Goya products for a chance to win $10,000 in scholarships. Interested? Visit Food and Finance High School’s website.

The Arts:

Borough President Brewer and members of her staff  joined the Arts and Culture Committee of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the Harlem Arts Alliance, and the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance to discuss managing the impact of COVID-19.  The video is available on YouTube by clicking here.

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts is offering a free webinar THE CARES ACT AND UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE: WHAT ARTISTS AND FREELANCERS NEED TO KNOW. The webinar will be offered Friday, April 10, 1-2 p.m. Register here.

New-York Historical Society this week features Silicon City: Computer History Made in New York, a deep dive on unsung STEM pioneer and Brooklyn Bridge engineer Emily Warren Roebling, and a conversation with Aspen Institute president and biographer to Jobs and Da Vinci, Walter Isaacson.

Lincoln Center at Home has new offerings this week:

Information on NYC Courts:

NYC Criminal Court:

  • NYC Criminal Court remains open for Essential Court Operations--Arraignments and Emergency Applications.
  • All non-essential matters have been adjourned. If you have a Desk Appearance Ticket, C-Summons,or another pending matter you will be notified of your new court date.
  • If you have any questions,you may call: NYC Criminal Court Call Center–646-386-4900

NYC Family Court:

  • Beginning March 26, 2020, NYC Family Court will have virtual operations only.
  • March 22, 2020 Administrative OrderSuspension of non-essential filings. The Court has determined that the following essential Family Court proceedings are exempt from this order:
    • Child protection intake cases involving removal applications
    • Newly filed juvenile delinquency intake cases involving remand placement applications, or modification thereof
    • Emergency family offense petitions/temporary orders of protection
    • Orders to show cause
    • Stipulations on submission

The City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) physical offices will be closed until May 4, 2020. All eligible summonses will have the option of having a hearing over the phone, and not responding to summonses by their hearing date will result in them being rescheduled if the hearing date is between March 15 and May 4. The time to file an appeal for an OATH decision OR to answer an appeal filed by an enforcement agency has been increased to 60 days, or 65 days if the decision or appeal was mailed.

COVID-19 FAQ's and Tips for Animals:

Currently, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, are contributing to the COVID-19 outbreak. Some animals can get infected, such as dogs and cats, but there are no reports of them spreading the virus.

Learn how you can keep your pets safe during the outbreak and how to be prepared in case you get sick. COVID-19 and Animals FAQ (PDF)

Recreation:

Dog runs in New York City parks are closed. Please continue to follow social distancing requirements and avoid crowded areas. You may want to bring disinfectant if you plan to sit on benches. The New York City Parks Department website has information on closures and programming changes here.

The New York State Parks website lists guidelines for park use.

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:

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.

EDC launched a new website this weekend for local NYC businesses that want to support the COVID-19 emergency response effort. If you can help, this website offers links depending upon the type of donation. Click here for more information.

While this isn't in CB8 or even New York City, the public library in Levittown, New York, is using their 3D printers to make face shields and PPE for Nassau University Medical Center. If your business has the capability to do the same for our hospitals and essential workers, please contact NYC or NYS. You could contact NYC through the EDC website listed just above.

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 https://nychhc.networkforgood.com

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.

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 www.healthresearch.org/donation-form 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.

FINANCIAL AND LOCAL BUSINESSES UPDATES

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time for small businesses. The application is not yet open, but they are asking businesses to sign in to express their interest. For information, click here.

Facebook also has resources by type of small business. For the following businesses, please click the websites.

The National Retail Federation posted a webinar on the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Loan Program. To watch the webinar, click here.

If you’d like to offer gift cards to your customers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has information on How to Offer Gift Cards at Your Business by clicking 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.

NYCHA residents struggling to pay rent because of a loss in income may be eligible for a rent reduction. Click here for more information. 

NYC is recruiting TLC-licensed drivers through DeliveryTLC to help with work related to COVID-19, such as delivering food to older adults. This work will be paid $15/hour plus reimbursement for gas and tolls. Drivers will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. For information on eligibility and payment, click here.

TD Bank has put together a handy guide to the Paycheck Protection Program.

New York State will invest in private companies to bring rapid COVID-19 testing to scale and accelerate testing capacity. Businesses interested in working with the state to manufacture these rapid tests on a large scale should contact Empire State Development at 212-803-3100 or [email protected].

Virtual Notary: An executive order by Governor Cuomo allows the temporary virtual notarization of documents that would normally have to be notarized in person. The following are the conditions that must be met for virtual notarization:

  • The person seeking the Notary’s services, if not personally known to the Notary, must present valid photo ID to the Notary during the video conference, not merely transmit it prior to or after;
  • The video conference must allow for direct interaction between the person and the Notary (e.g. no pre-recorded videos of the person signing);
  • The person must affirmatively represent that he or she is physically situated in the State of New York;
  • The person must transmit by fax or electronic means a legible copy of the signed document directly to the Notary on the same date it was signed;
  • The notary may notarize the transmitted copy of the document and transmit the same back to the person; and,
  • The notary may repeat the notarization of the original signed document as of the date of execution provided the Notary receives such original signed document together with the electronically notarized copy within thirty days after the date of execution.

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 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 Borough President’s office has reported that there are scams. Emails come from sba.com. That is not the correct website for the Small Business Administration. The SBA’s address is sba.gov. Be careful about opening emails.

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.

From the Manhattan Chamber's first weekly webinar, here are several resources we want you to be aware of:

  • The Chamber has a summary of emergency financial assistance available to businesses right now. That’s available on our website here: https://bit.ly/3aeDxYN
  • If you have specific questions about something affecting your business, please contact the Chamber's Help Desk: [email protected]
  • For the COVID-19 Customer Assistance for SBA & CARES Act Loans at TD Bank click here
  • For the SBA Paycheck Protection Loan Preparation at Fondera click here
  • For the SBA Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources click here
  • To apply for the SBA Disaster Loan Assistance click here
  • For more information on NYS Paid Family Leave & Covid-19 click here
  • The recording of their first webinar is available here

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

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 announcing claims are now extended by 13 additional weeks, from 26 to 39 weeks. Claims will be back-dated to the date the filer became unemployed. Claims ARE being processed, but patience-- and persistence-- is key. New York is among the first states to include the additional $600 in unemployment payments, as provided by the federal CARES Act.

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.

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.

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.

NOTE: Yesterday we linked to a page of resources for freelancers and gig workers that Council Member Brad Lander had put together and included in HIS email newsletter and that of the Manhattan Borough President. Unfortunately, in working quickly to get our newsletter out, we did not notice that the freelancer information page was posted on CM Lander's campaign website. That was an inadvertent mistake, and did not mean to imply an endorsement or anything other than trying to help people.

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: