Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates May 5th



Late tonight/ early tomorrow morning (5/6), the MTA will begin closing the entire subway system for enhanced cleaning from 1 - 5 am. Nearly 350 buses will be added for overnight service along existing subway routes. “Essential Connector” service will soon launch, making essential workers eligible for one free trip in a for-hire vehicle per night. Sign up for Essential Connector updates.

Roosevelt Island Tram: Starting Saturday, May 2, 2020, the Roosevelt Island Tramway will be closed from 1:00 AM until 6:00 AM to ensure that disinfecting measures can be performed. These early morning closures will continue each day until further notice.

The MTA has asked that only essential workers ride public transportation. That includes the ferries.

All K-12 schools and college facilities statewide will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Schools will continue to provide distance learning during that time and be required to continue meal programs and child care services for essential workers. The state will make a decision about summer school programming by the end of May.

Alternate side of the street parking has been suspended until May 12.

The Mayor announced the first streets that will be opened to pedestrians to allow for greater social distancing, with a focus on streets within or adjacent to parks. East End Avenue between 83-89 streets is on the list. The streets opened as part of this program will have limited vehicular traffic and will be open to pedestrians and bicyclists from 8-8. CB8 passed a resolution calling for Park Avenue to be an open street.

The City is accepting suggestions for locations and partners for the NYC Open Streets program through a new online form here. Submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance; please submit multiple applications if you are proposing to pedestrianize more than one corridor in your community. Please email [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns.

All New York hospitals must allow partners to stay with women as they recover from giving birth. A previously signed Executive Order allowed one person to be present (in addition to the patient) during both labor and delivery. hospitals must now allow partners to stay with women during labor, delivery and the postpartum period, which includes recovery.

The New York State Department of Health will require each hospital to have a 90-day supply of PPE on hand.

Our Town reports that in the coming weeks, New York will launch a pilot tracing program focusing on areas with the highest rates of infection and on regions that data shows could be the first to reopen. The program will operate through the next flu season, and it will be implemented in coordination with New Jersey and Connecticut. The program will include a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 individuals and will utilize additional tracers based on the projected number of cases in each region.

To meet the nation-leading scale and scope of this program, Mayor Bloomberg and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will support the State Department of Health’s initiative to build an army of contact tracers through a three-step process: recruitment, interviewing and training.

Contact tracing requires four steps. First, labs will report positive cases of COVID-19 immediately to contact tracers on a daily basis. The contact tracer will then interview the positive patient to identify people they may have been in contact with over the past 14 days. The contact tracer will notify and interview each contact to alert them to their risk of infection and instruct those contacts to quarantine or isolate for 14 days to be sure they don't spread COVID-19 to others. The contact tracers will monitor those contacts by text throughout the duration of their quarantine or isolation to see if the contacts are showing any symptoms.

The FDA has approved New York State to authorize the state's 28 public and private labs to begin manual, semi-automated and automated testing for novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Governor Cuomo announced that New York State along with Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Delaware will work together as a partnership to purchase PPE’s, other medical equipment and testing through a regional supply chain.Thi\s will allow joint purchasing power and identification of suppliers who can scale up to meet demand.

The state will distribute over seven million more cloth masks to vulnerable New Yorkers and essential workers across the state.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. COVID-19 has been a crisis for mental health, too. Remember: You are never alone. For free emotional support, consultations and referrals to a provider, call 1-844-863-9314. For free meditation and mindfulness exercises, visit

Cost should not be a barrier for essential workers to access mental health services. The State Department of Financial Services is directing state-regulated health insurers to waive all cost sharing/copays/deductibles for mental health services for essential workers through this crisis.

New York State is partnering with the Kate Spade New York Foundation and Crisis Text Line to provide a 24/7 emotional support hotline for workers on the front line of this crisis. Eligible health care workers can reach the service by texting NYFRONTLINE to 741-741, while all New Yorkers can call +1 (844) 863-9314 to reach the State’s emotional support hotline.

More than 1,000 full-time City staff will be assigned to patrol parks and public spaces, dedicated to proactive social distance enforcement and education. Workers with the Parks Department, the Office of Special Enforcement, the Sheriff, FDNY, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) will instruct groups to disperse and educate New Yorkers, distribute 275,000 face coverings across NYC starting this week, and complement NYPD patrols and response to 311 reports.

Two new kosher Grab & Go sites will be opening as of May 1, both in Manhattan: PS 134 Henrietta Szold on the Lower East Side (293 East Broadway) and PS 48 PO Michael J. Buczek in Washington Heights (4360-78 Broadway). See the full list of program sites. All sites also have vegetarian and halal options available.

In partnership with the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center, Council Member Ben Kallos and volunteers from Wildcat services delivered 200 meals to seniors living at the Holmes Towers and Isaacs Houses as well as older adults living in other public housing facilities in nearby neighborhoods.

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.

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.

There has been an uptick in domestic violence during this crisis. To reach New York State’s new domestic violence texting hotline, text (800) 942-6906, call  800.942.6906  or chat online at; all are confidential and serviced by professional domestic violence/sexual abuse advocates at any time.

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. There is also a link for resources to help you find a job.

School board elections and budget votes statewide are delayed until June 9.

Governor Cuomo has announced the four phases of the re-opening of New York State businesses and industries. Phase 1 includes construction, manufacturing and select retail (with curbside pickup). Phase 2 includes professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support and real estate/rental leasing. Phase 3 includes restaurants, food services and hotels. And Phase 4 includes arts, entertainment, recreation and education.

The State will require strict cleaning and sanitation standards, restricting nonessential travel, adapting the workplace to allow for social distancing, and requiring masks to be worn if employees are in frequent contact with the public. Read all the requirements here.

The special enrollment period for health insurance will remain open through June 15, 2020. New Yorkers without health insurance can apply for a plan through NY State of Health

For an Our Town article on the findings of Columbia University scientists that the use of a safe form of ultraviolet light disinfects by killing airborne coronavirus, and the implications for use of public transportation and the re-opening of theatres, sports events, museums and other shared spaces, click here.

You can register for and watch the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts webinar on COVID-19’s Effects on Employment and Immigration Status at

The City Council is conducting business through virtual meetings. All City Council Meetings can be viewed on live on the City Council website at Those who wish to testify must pre-register in advance on the website at

Physician Support Line is a national, free and confidential support hotline staffed by 600+ volunteer psychiatrists providing peer support for physicians on the front line of the epidemic. Their hours are 8 am - 3 am. Call (888) 409-0141.

With meatpacking plants around the country being shut down, then forced to re-open despite outbreaks of COVID-19, the conversation around the pandemic has shifted towards concern over food production and safety, as well as the food supply chain itself. The Nutrition team at the Academy has answered some of these questions in this FAQ, and are bringing together experts to speak more in-depth on these topics at online events Keeping Our Food Safe During the Pandemic on May 18th, and Food Security in the Pandemic on May 27th.

Thank you to our firefighters for serving on the frontlines. While May 4 was International Firefighters Day, we thank you every day.

Thank you to New York's National Guard for their efforts to increase the state's testing capacity. The National Guard has made nearly 300,000 testing kits to collect samples, 60,000 of which are being sent this week to labs and hospitals across the state.

For those who miss the well-known sounds of a busy New York City, and to help connect New Yorkers, the New York Public Library has released a "Missing Sounds of New York" album to reconnect with the familiar city sounds.

Hospital Updates


Doctors Without Borders is operating a shower trailer and washing operation to service New York’s homeless population, Monday-Saturday from noon - 4 pm, located in the parking lot of St. John’s Church on 213 West 30th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Social distancing measures are practiced while waiting in line and enforced by staff, and the facilities are cleaned after each use.

The makeshift field hospital set up in Central Park in order to expand the city’s health care capacity during the coronavirus pandemic is expected to close by the second week of May, according to a report in the New York Post.

Northwell Health's Lenox Hill Hospital Community Update



Monumental Women has released an online version of their art and suffrage history project "Put Her on a Pedestal," which helps prepare and share commemorations of the diverse figures of the suffragist movement. Aimed primarily at middle schoolers, it is a perfect and engaging online project for parents and kids. Learn more here.

Spectrum has extended their free 60-day internet connection offer for educator and student households through to June 30. Learn more here.

A new joint production between the DOE and Channel 13 began airing, featuring lessons designed to supplement remote learning for children between 3-K through second grade. Let’s Learn NYC! airs weekdays at 11 am, and episodes are posted to that link.

Educational historian and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch recently recorded a conversation with Common Sense Media on the past, present, and future of the U.S. public school system in regard to the pandemic. Watch it on YouTube.



The Academy of Medicine will host a virtual program, COVID Conversations to discuss experiences and responses to this crisis  on May 7 from 5:30-6:30. For more information,  to see the different topics offered in break-out rooms, and to register, click

Manhattan Borough Historian Rob Snyder was on CBS2, discussing his work collecting oral history from those “on the suffering edge of this pandemic,” and the importance of having our historical record include the experiences of essential workers on the front line. Watch the segment here.

East Side Task Force for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) member and Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter's Executive Director Ann Shalof was on Manhattan Neighborhood Network's Represent NYC to discuss COVID19 and homelessness. To watch the interview, click here.

New York State Parks are open, but visitors must follow social distancing. All fees for state, local and county parks are waived.

The New York International Children’s Film Festival has links to streamable recommended films, discussion topics and creative activities. See

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has future events listed on their websiteYou could watch past events on YouTube or Facebook.

Every day at 6:30 PM you can enjoy virtual happy hour at breweries around New York State. Organized by the New York State Brewers Association, you can "visit" a different brewery through their Facebook page and meet in-house brewers while safely social distancing at home. Visit for the virtual happy hour schedule.

The Getty Museum in Los Angeles launched an online challenge encouraging people to use household items to recreate iconic works of art . To see the creative results, click

PlaceChase audio tour guide apps of NYC are now FREE on the Apple and Amazon App Stores through May 20th. We're all stuck at home and budgets are tight. Many of New York's brick-and-mortar attractions are closed right now, but our imaginations are still open for business - we just need the right guide. Choose from over 20+ hours of one-of-a-kind NYC content, all available on your phone or tablet on your schedule. For more information, see

Support charities while you race from home! Since it’s a virtual race you will be able to avoid the crowds but still participate in event with other people around the world! Sign up here:

Mount Vernon Museum and Hotel May Events- View Movement, Migration and Home- New York-born, Ecuadorian artist Sandra Fenandez’s installation explores the movement and diversity created by the migrants who make up New York today and throughout its history. This virtual exhibition can now be viewed here.

For the Metropolitan Opera’s streaming schedule through May 10, click here.

The Irish Rep is presenting an opportunity to watch Molly Sweeney online. Molly Sweeney, Brian Friel’s brilliant study of psychological isolation, exquisitely resonates today as we invite our physically distanced audience to take part in our inaugural performance on screen – a new theatre experience for the COVID-19 hiatus. The event is free, but you must reserve. Non-members of the Irish Rep may reserve beginning May 6 at 1. For more information and the performance schedule, click here.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala, held on the first Monday of May, is taking a new form. The opening of the Costume Institute Exhibition, the focus of the Gala, is postponed until October. For more information, including highlights from past Gala red carpets, a reading by Michael Cunningham and a preview of the Costume Institute’s next scheduled exhibit, About Time, click here.



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 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 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  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.

Donate to not-for-profits on May 5, Giving Tuesday. They need your help.

You can support the Girl Scouts while buying their cookies online. Click here.

The Robin Hood Relief Fund is helping New Yorkers by supporting the nonprofit organizations on the frontlines. 100 percent of donations will provide emergency support through food, housing, job security and more.-

The New York State Youth Leadership Council was the first undocumented youth led non-profit organization in New York. -

Pets + Elders Together, a program from the Search and Care nonprofit that pairs seniors with both pet companions and volunteer “Pet Pros” to assist in caring for the pets, is seeking new volunteers as well as referrals of NYC pet owners aged 60+ in need of support. For more information, contact program coordinator Robin Strashun at [email protected].



The Documentary Freelancer Relief Fund is adding a third and final round of applications opening June 10, bringing their total relief funding to $325,000. (Their second round, which appears to be over-subscribed, opens May 6). Previous applications will roll into the next round, so that filmmakers don’t have to apply multiple times. So once you’ve sent in your application, it will continue to be considered throughout. For those who have not yet applied for the relief fund but would still like to do so, further information can be found at

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 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.

The City is hiring 1,000 Contact Tracers. People with experience in the healthcare field are preferred. Contact tracers will interview people who are positive, identify others who may have been exposed, and follow-up with those people in turn to be tested. Hiring will be done through the Fund for Public Health. If you're interested, please visit for more information, or email [email protected].

NYC Health and Hospitals is hiring for several positions - patient transportation, clerical and cleaning staff. You can apply today at

The ICA Group has launched the Keep Doors Open Business Resilience Program in partnership with the City’s Department of Small Business Services; the program offers all local businesses who apply free consultations on financing options for employee ownership. Those selected for the program will receive further consulting and training options. Learn more 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.

As your claim updates from “pending” to “payable,” the system may not immediately reflect this progress. If your account no longer says “pending,” it means your application is processing. Keep certifying weekly and you should see a status update within a few days.

There is a new pro bono partnership, formed by the New York State Bar Association and the state court system, available to match applicants with attorneys free of charge. Follow the link including how to find help if a claim for benefits is denied:



Liz Krueger is holding a Virtual Town Hall on Thursday, May 7th from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Our Mental Health: The Impact Of COVID-19 On Our Emotional Wellbeing.join Senator Krueger and Lisa Furst, LMSW and MPH, Assistant Vice President, Center for Advocacy, Policy and Education, Vibrant Emotional Health, for a discussion of how COVID-19 impacts all of our mental health, common symptoms we may experience, when we may need to seek professional help, and resources to enhance resiliency and help us cope. To register and submit questions in advance, please follow this link:

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: