Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates May 22nd

MAY 22nd RESOURCES AND UPDATES:

Emergency Food Program: By next week, the Emergency Food Program will be delivering over 1 million meals per day. This is on top of the City’s grab-and-go program, which already serves over 500,000 meals per day at 500+ schools across the City. To date, the City has already served over 32 million meals across all programs since the COVID-19 crisis began. The City is currently working with approximately 30 food providers, but we are still looking for more partnerships. If you have non-profit or for-profit providers, particularly ones with an expertise in culturally competent meals, that are interested in partnering with the City’s food program, please share the Request for Information here, or encourage them to visit NYC.gov/nonprofits for information. Submissions due by May 29th. If you are facing food insecurity, please visit nyc.gov/GetFoodHelp or call 311.

The Daily News reports that after weeks of being ravaged by coronavirus, the number of NYPD cops out sick is back to under 3% of the force, a similar rate as before the pandemic.

Governor Cuomo explained how contact tracing works. If you test positive, a COVID Contact Tracer will connect you with the support and resources you may need to quarantine, such as help getting medical care, child care, groceries or household supplies. The Tracer will work with you to identify anyone you've been in contact with over the past 14 days to trace and contain the spread of the virus. Those contacts will in turn hear from a Tracer via phone and text.

People who have come in close contact with someone who is positive are asked to stay home and limit their contact with others. By staying home during this time, IF you become sick yourself, you won't have infected other people. That's how we stop the spread. In the meantime, testing, medical and quarantine support will be arranged.

 Privacy is a top priority of the Contact Tracing Program. We will not release your name to anyone. Your information is strictly confidential and will be treated as a private medical record. A contact tracer will never ask for your Social Security Number, bank or credit card numbers or any other financial information.

Note that if you get a call from a Tracer, your caller ID will in most cases say "NYS Contact Tracing." If you get a call, PLEASE answer the phone. Answering the phone will keep your loved ones and community safe and allows us to keep NY moving forward.

Uninsured New Yorkers can get a free diagnostic COVID-19 test at any CityMD urgent care facility. All CityMD locations are offering nasal swab tests seven days a week, and walk-ins are accepted. Also a reminder that New York health insurers have been directed to waive all costs associated with COVID-19 testing. If you believe you have COVID symptoms, don't wait — get tested.

Borough President Gale Brewer, reflecting on Memorial Day, draws our attention to the lack of a national mourning for those lost during this pandemic. She mentions a beautiful opinion piece in the Washington Post last Friday, “Almost 90,000 dead and no hint of national mourning. Are these deaths not ‘ours'?” highlights the need for mourning the deaths of those who have died from COVID-19 in just these past few months-- over 90,000, exceeding the number of deaths of U.S. Armed Forces in Vietnam and Korea in almost 20 years of war-- even as the pandemic continues.

The presidential primary will be held June 23. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court decision reinstating the presidential primary.

The results of the state's antibody testing survey highlight the reality of the racial and economic disparities of Coronavirus. The results of the antibody surveys conducted in lower-income New York City communities and communities of color found that 27 percent of the people tested were positive for COVID-19 antibodies — significantly higher than the 19.9 percent of New York City's overall population who have those antibodies.

New York is expanding testing and outreach to meet the greatest need. Through partnerships with SOMOS and Northwell Health, the state will establish 28 additional testing sites at churches and other sites in predominantly minority communities, for a total of 72 sites. The state will build on the work we have been doing with Ready Responders, and bring testing to 40 public housing developments across New York City. New York will also increase PPE availability, provide more hand sanitizer and increase outreach to raise awareness about how to protect yourself from the virus.

Starting May 21st, religious gatherings of no more than 10 people will be allowed statewide. Social distancing measures must be enforced and all participants must wear masks. Additionally, drive-in and parking lot services will be permitted. The state is convening an Interfaith Advisory Council to discuss proposals to safely bring back religious services.

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa announced the creation of a new task force to find innovative solutions to the increase in domestic violence during this crisis. The task force will identify solutions to help domestic violence survivors, with the specific goal of looking beyond the traditional ways that services have been provided in the past. The group will make recommendations by Thursday, May 28th.

The MTA has come up with a new approach to disinfecting trains and buses. The MTA will start using ultraviolet light, which has been proven to kill the virus, to disinfect the trains. The MTA plans to spend $1 million on 230 lamps to use in the city’s subway, buses and fixed locations during a period of three weeks to test the tools. The treatments will be conducted while trains are not in service. If it’s successful, the use of UV light will be expanded to the Long Island Railroad and Metro North.

The City is urging landlords to install proper window guards (in non-emergency exit windows) for apartments with children aged 10 or younger. If a building owner refuses to install window guards, tenants should call 311 or go to 311 Online (www.nyc.gov/311) to file a complaint with HPD. Building owners may also call 311 to report tenants with young children who refuse to allow guards to be installed.

Recently, we posted a New York State contest to create a video illustrating why it matters to wear a mask. Five finalists were selected. The winning video will be chosen by an online vote and will be used as a PSA. Watch the videos and vote for your favorite here.

The United States-Canadian border will remain closed until at least June 21.

Daily worldwide carbon dioxide emissions have decreased 17% during this virus.

Governor Cuomo has limited Memorial Day events to groups of 10 or fewer, and has encouraged vehicle parades.

Nassau County may provide elective surgeries and ambulatory care. Rockland County is eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care.

New York is starting a two-week hospital visitation pilot program. The program will take place in 16 hospitals across the state and allow increased visitations for family members and loved ones. The Manhattan hospitals in the program are Northwell-Lenox Hill Hospital, New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan, NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital and Mount Sinai.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will be expanding its antibody testing efforts in order to provide free testing for all MTA employees throughout the Metro area.

The Belmont Stake will take place on June 20, without fans in an effort to boost the economy. Traditionally, the last race in the Triple Crown, this year, it will be the first.

On Tuesday (5/26) at 10:30 am, join the Clinical and Translational Science Center at Weill Cornell Medicine for “Exercise for Arthritis,” led by fitness instructor Teresa Webb. She will guide participants in both exercise and fitness plans. Bring a sheet of paper and some water to be able to do the exercises, and join the Zoom call here with password 1111.

Education/Parenting

Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza announced the City’s summer learning plan, which will provide support to around 177,700 students for remote summer learning. Learn more.

The online tutoring service Varsity Tutors is offering free live classes and virtual summer camps to support parents and students during this crisis. Learn more.

Summer school will be conducted through distance learning this year to help reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus. Meal programs and child care services for essential employees will continue. The state will make a determination on the fall semester and issue guidelines in June.

Entertainment/Distractions

[email protected]For information about and a list of programs for [email protected], click here.

For a perspective on whether the pandemic should affect urban centers, see this opinion piece in The Atlantic.

As part of its Lincoln Center at Home initiative, the performing arts organization will be streaming Broadway shows each Friday for free starting June 5. The shows will feature past productions that were put on from Lincoln Center Theater and the New York Philharmonic. The first three productions slated to be streamed include: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s "Carousel" with the New York Philharmonic (June 5), Lincoln Center Theater's production of "The Nance" (June 12) and Lincoln Center Theater's production of "Act One" (June 19). Audiences can tune in to Lincoln Center’s YouTube and Facebook pages to catch the productions each Friday at 8 p.m.

To ensure New York City residents don’t engage in high-risk activities, low-risk activities need be available, city Comptroller Scott Stringer wrote in an op-ed advocating for opening NYC beaches and pools this summer. In the piece, which was published on Medium, Stringer said the city could use a reservation system that the parks department uses for concerts to similarly limit crowds at pools and beaches. He offered a list of ways to regulate these spaces to ensure that New Yorkers will continue to comply with social distancing restrictions.

As a show of appreciation for thousands of public school maintenance workers who have been keeping school buildings clean during the pandemic, a caravan of cars will be driving through parts of Manhattan Friday, as reported by Patch. The small parade, which was organized by union 32BJ SEIU, will start on the Upper East Side and drive through Morningside Heights and Inwood, making stops at six Manhattan schools, meal hubs and essential resource centers along the way.

For the schedule of the Metropolitan Opera’s nightly opera streams from May 22-June 7, click here.

59E59 Theaters Productions Earn Drama Desk Nods. Our local Off-Broadway theater earned six 2020 Drama Desk nominations for three of their productions, Einstein’s Dreams, Tortoise in a Nutshell, and Square Go. For more information, see Drama Desk Awards

The French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF), 22 East 60th Street, has a series of talks, film, and more scheduled, which you can enjoy from home.

"Movement, Migration & Home: A Virtual Exhibition" is on display from the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum, 421 East 61st Street.

Visit the website of The Society of Illustrators, 128 East 63rd Street, for a rundown of their upcoming virtual events, including next week's webinar featuring "The Funny Ladies of The New Yorker."

Ephermeral New York takes a close look at Manhattan House, the City’s first white-brick apartment building.

For a variety of perspectives on riding a motorcycle in the City during this crisis, click here.

WAYS YOU CAN HELP

THE CITY is asking folks who know any New York City residents who have died of COVID-19 to fill out a simple form to tell them about the lives of those we’ve lost. Their goal is to put as many names, faces and details to the numbers as possible. You’ll find more here — including the form.

NYC has a blood shortage: donate now to save a life. You can learn more here.

Complete the Census. With so many people sheltering in places OTHER than Manhattan, please tell any friends doing so to complete their census at their Manhattan address, and not at their other location! If you mistakenly put down your “COVID location” you can resubmit your census form at My2020census.gov; the census system removes duplicates, as long as everything but the address remains the same. (You do NOT need a code; click the “do not have census code” link below the login button.)

New York City is sponsoring a contest for those who have completed the Census. If you win the contest, you’ll receive a thank you call from Lin-Manuel Miranda or Mo Rocca. For details and contest rules, click here.

The GetFood Delivery Assistance Program is seeking nonprofit providers for meal preparation with a focus on culturally sensitive meals and ethnic foods, to staff and serve as distribution sites, and to facilitate home meal delivery. Visit nyc.gov/nonprofits for more information on the program or learn more about the role here.

The New York Times writes about a new site to support New York restaurants, a platform that offers access to classes by renowned chefs, discounted gift cards, special dinners with all revenue going to the restaurants. For information, click here.

Please join a text bank to send texts to fellow New Yorkers reminding them to do the census. It’s a great way to chip in and help get our numbers up even further.  The City doesn’t get $4000 in federal funds for every individual who isn’t counted

If you're in the position to do so, you can provide goods and services that can help expand New York's testing capacity.

Support local businesses by buying gift cards. We have posted links to sites selling gift cards. Another site selling gift cards to restaurants, barber shops, and events like ghost hunts, and museums, see SupportLocal at https://supportlocal.usatoday.com/cities/

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.

FINANCIAL AND LOCAL BUSINESSES UPDATES

New York is launching a $100+ million loan program for small businesses. The loan program will focus on supporting small businesses that were less likely to receive federal loans, especially women and minority-owned businesses, and very small businesses with 20 or fewer employees. Learn more here.

New York is extending sales tax interest and penalty relief through June 22, 2020. This extension will provide additional support for to 89,000 vendors who had returns due in March. These small businesses file their taxes quarterly and annually, and have taxable receipts of less than $300,000 in the previous quarter.

Watch this Replay of a terrific Webinar re Health Screening, Establishing Safety Protocols for your Store and Bringing Employees Back to Work. Our friends at the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce have put together a great panel to speak about many of the new safety and personnel protocols associated with the New York State reopening rules. To view the webinar, please click here (note that you will have to provide your name and email address to view).

The Artist Relief grant program, which distributes $5000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19 and provides resources and guidance to grantees, still has applications open for their second cycle, which closes on Thursday May 21 at 11:59 pm.

Applications are open until Sunday, May 31 for The Shed’s annual Open Call: the grants will support early-career artists and collectives of all stripes to make new work, and will grant them a featured space in The Shed next year. From performers to plastics, writers to DJ’s, all types of artists and groups are welcome, provided they have not yet received major institutional support. Learn more.

An update on state unemployment benefits, which are now being loaded on debit cards issued by KeyBank and First Niagara. The cards, once received, can be activated by calling KeyBank Customer Service at (866) 295-2955. The only KeyBank ATM in NYC is at 11 East 22nd Street (just east of Broadway) but no-fee withdrawals can also be made at any Allpoint ATM-- see locations hereLearn more.

Our Town reports that a group of music venues have come together to launch NYC Nightlife United, an “emergency relief fund to save NYC nightlife cultural space.” The fund will provide immediate relief to shuttered cultural spaced affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Small business venue owners will be able to apply for aid starting June 5. Other members of the nightlife industry, including bar staff, talent buyers, sound techs, DJs, security, and others, are anticipated to be eligible to apply on July 5th. More information about who is eligible to apply, how applicants are selected for grants and what the funds can be used for can be found at nycnightlifeunited.com. Tax-deductible donations to fund the grants can also be made on the website.

UPS is offering a webinar to learn about smarter, more efficient ways to fulfill customer orders, on May 21 at 1. To register and for more information, click here.

For insight into the re-opening of a restaurant, see the interview Rob Byrnes of the East Midtown Partnership had with Amy Babic, owner of Kurant Wine Bar (1091 Second Avenue), La Cava Wine Bar (939 Second Avenue), and Copinette (891 First Avenue) in a Facebook conversation Click here to view it.

The U.S. Small Business Administration and Department of the Treasury have released the Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application to help small businesses seek forgiveness at the end of the eight week period following the receipt of the loan. See more information here from the Pace Small Business Development Center, or make an appointment at [email protected]

Both the City and State are hiring employees and supervisors for contact tracing: reaching out to the contacts of those diagnosed with COVID-19 to track the spread. Learn more here for the City (three types of contract tracer jobs along with many non-tracing jobs listed), and here for the State (contact tracersteam supervisors, and community support specialists).

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 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 Health and Hospitals is hiring for several positions - patient transportation, clerical and cleaning staff. You can apply today at http://nyc.gov/getwork.

The Madison Avenue BID put together the official New York State reopening documents into an easily accessible primer, so please see below.

LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS' TELE-TOWN HALLS

Senator Krueger's Virtual Town Hall Series: Housing Issues, Part 1: Questions & Concerns for Renters 

On Thursday, May 28 from 7pm - 8:30pm, join Senator Krueger and tenant attorney Ellen Davidson for the first of two virtual Town Halls on NYC Housing Issues during the pandemic. Part 1 will focus on the questions and concerns of renters. Part 2 will explore issues facing coop shareholders, condo owners, and homeowners, and will take place on Thursday, June 4th from 7-8pm. Ms. Davidson has been a staff attorney in the Legal Aid Society's law reform unit since 2006, specializing in rent regulated housing, and a long-time tenant advocate. Topics of discussion will include the current moratorium on evictions, the temporary closure of Housing Court, what to do if you are struggling to pay your rent, obtaining emergency repairs, leases, and pending legislation to protect renters during the pandemic. Please let us know you plan to attend Part 1 on May 28th by registering at https://www.lizkrueger.com/virtualtownhall-rsvp-housingpart1/.

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: