Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates August 10th

August 10th, 2020



The moratorium on evictions in New York State has been extended to September 4th. The moratorium was first put in place in March to protect residential and commercial tenants facing financial hardship due to the pandemic. As long as we are in the middle of the pandemic, there will be no evictions.

Governor Cuomo announced that all school districts across New York State are eligible to open for in-person instruction. Individual districts will determine the balance between virtual and in-person learning. All districts must submit operating plans to the Department of Health for approval. Districts must hold 3-5 public meetings with students’ parents before August 21. More information from the Governor’s office is available here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released several new resources to help prevent the spread of and treat COVID-19:

  • The CDC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that payments are available to health care providers for counseling patients at the time of COVID-19 testing about the importance of self-isolation after they are tested and prior to the onset of symptoms.

  • Individuals with HIV may have questions or concerns regarding their risk of serious illness from COVID-19. The CDC answers some of those questions here.

  •  Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have placed many individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Learn about some of the factors contributing to risk and what can be done here.

  • The CDC has several guidance and planning documents available for people with disabilities here.

  • If you are considering traveling to another country, you can review the CDC’s travel health notices here.

The Governor announced the New York State Department of Financial Services has issued new guidance to New York health insurers to ensure that patients are not charged personal protective equipment fees by healthcare providers that participate in their insurer's network.

Learn about what happens to viral particles on the subway from the New York Times by clicking here.

Borough President Gale Brewer is launching a friendly competition to find the most creative outside dining arrangements at Manhattan restaurants: 

"We’re looking for beautiful or innovative set-ups. Send me an email with photos of top contender(s) attached to [email protected] by Sept. 1, with the subject line “Dining Contest” (be sure to include the restaurant’s name and address in the email!).

"The City’s Open Restaurants program has allowed expanded dining options outdoors during the pandemic, which has reconnected New Yorkers with their favorite restaurants (and generate sorely needed revenue). This expansion has livened streets with unique outdoor dining set-ups.

"Anyone can submit (restaurant owners, patrons, passersby). We’ll select winners across Manhattan, and I’ll be sure to eat at some of the most exciting ones this September with some of the winning submitters.” 

Borough President Gale Brewer has developed a new interactive map of COVID-19 and antibody testing sites in Manhattan

Bicycle Utopia NYC has an interactive map that highlights Open Streets, Open Restaurants, bicycling information and arts and culture opportunities.

Wednesday (8/12) at 10 am, the NYS Assembly and Senate will hold a virtual public hearing to review the impact of COVID-19 on hospitals and communities. Oral testimony is by invitation only, so complete page 3 of this form by this Sunday (8/9) to be asked to testify.

The NY Public Library has opened two new Grab & Go branches: Riverside Library (127 Amsterdam Ave.) and Harry Belafonte 115th Street Library (203 W. 115th St.). Find more locations and learn about Grab & Go.

This Monday through Aug. 31, there will be night and weekend service changes on the 4, 5 and 6 lines while the MTA replaces old track switches. Get details here:

Learn about F train service changes due to tunnel inspections here.

The NYS Office of Mental Health is providing a first-in-the-nation program to help New Yorkers affected by the pandemic. The program, called Coping Circles, consists of free six-week support group sessions, facilitated by volunteer licensed mental health professionals, that are available to all New Yorkers ages 18 and up. Most Circles are open to the general public but if there is demand, Specialized Circles will be available for healthcare workers and first responders, survivors of COVID-19 infections, those who have experienced job loss due to COVID-19, and those who have experienced loss of a loved one to COVID-19. New Yorkers interested in participating in a Coping Circle can learn more here.

Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm, livestream Theater for the New City’s LIBERTY Or JUST US, A City Parks Story,” an oratorio that honors NYC parks for being sites of activism. This weekend’s performances will pay tribute to Manhattan’s Abe Lebewohl Park and the Central Park Bandshell. Watch on the Theater’s website or Facebook page.

Governor Cuomo reports that there is still an issue with compliance at bars and restaurants. In one day, the State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force visited 963 establishments in New York City and Long Island and observed 26 establishments that were in violation of pandemic-related Executive Orders.

Gyms will remain closed as they are a nationally identified source of infections. We know that some states have reopened gyms only to have to close up again. While the threat of the virus looms, we will keep them closed.

The period to file claims under the Child Victims Act has been extended until August 14, 2021.

On a sweet note, ice cream containing liquor can now be manufactured and sold in New York State. The Governor signed legislation that will help New York's dairy farmers, liquor and craft beverage producers, dairy processors and manufacturers, food retailers and restaurants meet the increasing consumer demand and, hopefully, grow their businesses amid economic pains related to the COVID pandemic.

Watch the latest Mask Up America PSA with voiceover by Kaitlyn Dever.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray announced an expansion of the Food For Heroes program to deliver more than 71,000 meals to staff at local non-profit nursing homes and Department of Sanitation (DSNY) garages in all five boroughs. Managed by the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, Food For Heroes launched in April to support New Yorkers working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. In its first month, 75,000 meals were served to staff members at Elmhurst Hospital. In May, the program expanded to deliver lunches to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner staff at temporary disaster field sites, as well as hotels housing out-of-state medical personnel and healthcare workers who were self-isolating away from vulnerable family members at home. By September, Food For Heroes will have provided 169,400 meals to New Yorkers.

Mayor de Blasio announced the City’s popular Open Restaurants program, which allows restaurants to serve diners in sidewalks and curb lanes, will return next summer. Over 9,000 restaurants have signed up for the program, which has helped save nearly 80,000 New York City jobs since June. Outdoor dining will return to the city by June 1, 2021and run through October 31st. The City will also bring back a popular initiative that combines Open Restaurants with Open Streets. On weekends, restaurants on participating corridors will go farther away from the curb than other Open Restaurants participants, and the rest of the streets will be open to pedestrian traffic.

Rhode Island has been added to New York State’s travel advisory list, requiring quarantine for 14 days when entering New York. Delaware and Washington. D.C. have been removed from the list.

The Metropolitan Transportation (MTA) and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that stationary and bus-mounted cameras to enforce bus lane restrictions are coming to a host of new corridors and bus routes across the City, with a 60-day warning period beginning Monday, August 10th. With the announcement of the Better Buses Restart plan and new routes featuring bus-mounted cameras, the two agencies remain committed to increasing bus speeds with the help of automated camera enforcement of bus lanes. That enforcement is expected to help ensure that congestion is reduced and bus speeds and commute times are improved for riders.

The nine new corridors where stationary cameras will be activated are:

Manhattan: Lexington Avenue, 5th Avenue, 3rd Avenue, Madison Avenue, 42nd Street 

Queens: Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Broadway 

Brooklyn: Rockaway Parkway and Fulton Street 

MTA bus-mounted cameras will be also activated on buses along three routes in Manhattan next week: 23rd Street (M23), 34th Street (M34), 86th Street (M86)

Bus lane camera enforcement technology currently exists in all five boroughs, and expansion is planned for all five boroughs as well.  There are currently eight corridors in Manhattan, five corridors in Brooklyn, four corridors in Queens, three corridors in the Bronx and one corridor in Staten Island with bus lane camera enforcement. Read more about the rules for bus lanes, including when you can be in them as a driver, by clicking here.


Sign up now for Fresh Air Summer Spaces, supervised outdoor programming for kids. Manhattan sites are in Harlem and Chelsea.

For information about and links to short and long films, see the International Children’s Film Festival listings at

Governor Cuomo determined that all school districts are permitted to open this fall. Whether your school will be in-person, remote, or a hybrid model, will be determined locally by each individual school district under strict Department of Health guidelines.

Every school district was required to submit a reopening plan to the Department of Health, which will be carefully reviewed. Additionally, school districts must post their remote learning plans, as well as plans for testing and tracing students and staff, on their websites. These plans must be transparent and accessible.

Parents and teachers must feel safe and secure in each school district's plan to return to school, and to that end, school districts are required to engage all parties. Specifically, they must set dates for 3-5 discussion sessions with parents and the community, to be held by August 21, and at least one separate discussion session for teachers specifically.

The NYC DOE will be hosting two public information sessions on August 12th and 27th. Register and learn more on the DOE’s Return To School 2020 Page.

Friday, Gale Brewer wrote a letter to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and NYC School Construction Authority (NYCSCA) President Lorraine Grillo, offering alternate school sites to accommodate social distancing guidelines. My staff and interns compiled an exhaustive list of possible indoor and outdoor sites for schools to utilize. If you know of appropriate additional locations, submit them to the NYCSCA. Sites must be no higher than four stories, contain rooms no less than 650 square feet, have dedicated entrances and bathrooms, be code compliant and be able to house programs serving children and teens.


From now through August 16th, a new art exhibit called the "Flag Project" will be displayed at Rockefeller Center. The flagpoles that surround the famous Rockefeller Center ice rink will feature 193 unique flags designed by a variety of artists, in place of the usual world flags. The designs, including those by artists such as Jeff Koons and fashion designer Christian Siriano, are intended to honor the resiliency of New Yorkers during this pandemic.

For information on and access to the week’s podcasts on WNYC, click here.

Join the NY Transit Museum for a virtual ride through NY’s mass transit history. Enjoy virtual group visits, digital discussions and online exhibits.

For information about and links to the Met Collects series, click here.


Governor Cuomo asks for your feedback on how New York can continue to build back better. The COVID crisis highlighted a number of shortcomings and New York wants to identify ways technology can be used to help New York build back better for everyone. From ensuring access to high-speed internet, better-paying jobs and career pathways, we are committed to ensuring that our most vulnerable residents are able to overcome root causes of inequity, and to access the digital economy. We'd love to hear from you — please take a moment to fill out this survey and let us know how we can Reimagine New York and build back better.

Recovered COVID-19 patients are needed to donate plasma, which is used to treat critically ill patients across the country. Donate at a NY Blood Center location. Eligible donors can give convalescent plasma up to eight times in a three-month period.

Nominate an individual or organization doing outstanding urban public health work for the Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize. Nominations will be accepted until December 31.

Complete the Census: For an article of the serious impact a low Census response rate will have on the City, see “Rich New Yorkers Aren’t Filling Out the Census. Poor New Yorkers May Suffer. Please do your part to ensure New York gets the resources we need; visit do not need a code; click “Start Questionnaire” and then “If you do not have a Census ID, click here” link below the login button.)

There are also paid opportunities to help get out the count! NYC Census and BrownMillerGroup are hiring Census Outreach Canvassers (Google Doc) and Census Outreach Team Leaders (Google Doc).

Wear a mask:  Watch a New York 5-year-old explain why everyone should wear a mask

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.

Donate blood. The New York Blood Center says that levels of blood are dangerously low. To make an appointment to donate, visit or call 1.800.933.2566. Appointments are strongly recommended.

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

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 Center415 E. 93 St., needs help supporting their older adult clients through meals and case management services. Interested in volunteering? Contact [email protected]


Health Insurers' Profits Could Mean Rebates and Premium Discounts for Consumers: Some of the country’s largest health insurers, such as Anthem, Humana, and UnitedHealth Group, are reporting second-quarter earnings that are double what they were a year ago. The profits are likely the result of postponed elective procedures and Americans avoiding doctors’ offices and emergency rooms in fear of contagion.  Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurers’ profits are capped based on a minimum medical loss ratio, and health plans are required to provide rebates to consumers if they exceed that cap. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) advised companies to consider speeding up rebates and also suggested that insurers reduce premiums to help consumers through the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Some states are also discussing cutting payments to insurers that offer Medicaid plans to their residents.

Council Member Keith Powers released a report outlining further action for small businesses’ recovery and employee aid, “Open for Business: Saving Our Small Businesses Post-COVID.”

More than $2.3 million has been awarded to support 61 businesses and residential landlords with COVID-19 related costs and expenses through the New York Forward Loan Fund. Applications are still being accepted and businesses from qualifying industries, including agriculture, construction, food services, retail, education services, manufacturing and transportation, are encouraged to apply. Applications are available here.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, launched the Tenant Legal Assistance Program to provide $742,000 in funding for organizations to offer tenants free legal assistance in Upstate New York and Long Island who face eviction during the COVID-19 crisis. Funds from the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement, the largest consumer financial protection settlement in the history of our nation, will be used for this program to support one year of funding. The grant will provide training for volunteer attorneys in addition to the funds. Grant recipients have not yet been identified. An RFP was released today to kickstart the process and make tentative awards by September 4, 2020. Through this program, grantees will provide direct representation to tenants in addition to providing education related to tenant protections tied to the COVID-19 crisis. These organizations will also identify procedural and structural reform priorities within their regions. Additionally, the grant will fund one organization to develop an online resource center, which will publish materials developed by the volunteer attorney programs to provide information to tenants, attorneys and others about tenants’ rights and protections related to COVID-19. Applications are due on August 25, 2020 and all qualified parties are encouraged to apply.

Active and retired municipal employees can now manage their NYCERS (NYC Employees’ Retirement System) accounts from the new NYCERS app.

If your SNAP or Cash Assistance benefits are scheduled to expire Aug. 31 or later, re-certify them now to keep receiving benefits.

Don’t forget the $420 Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) cards, scheduled to be sent to families of public school students. For families who already have EBT, the amount will be added to the existing accounts; if not, they will be sent a card in the mail (look for the envelope!). If you don’t need those benefits, you can share those benefits with food-insecure families. Find out more at

Apply now for Citizens Committee for NYC’s Neighborhood Business Grants of $5,000 - $10,000, which support small businesses.

Small businesses, nonprofits and residential landlords can apply for a loan through the NY Forward Loan Fund. Check eligibility requirements and apply now.

Lowe's-LISC partnership: This next round of small business grants will open on August 31st, but you should sign-up for their notifications to ensure you are among the first to apply. They will offer grants of $20,000 to small business owners to help meet their most immediate needs. Eligible expenses include: paying rent and utilities; meeting payroll; paying outstanding debt to vendors; upgrading technology infrastructure; other immediate operational costs. Their focus is primarily on small businesses owned or led by minorities and women.

Facebook: This new grant program was just announced, but the application process has not yet opened. They plan to offer $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to Black-owned businesses in the US that have been hurt by the Covid crisis.

Apply by Sept. 29 for Manhattan Arts Grants from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Now until Sept. 15, the City’s Dept. of Buildings is offering to inspect business signage at no cost and without penaltySmall business owners can take advantage of these inspections and avoid issues later by bringing their signs up to code now if any deficiencies are found. Call 311 for an appointment.

Monday (8/10) at 6 pm, join Getting Out and Staying Out for a webinar, Invest: Creating Opportunities for Justice-Involved Black and Brown People in the Workplace.” Click on the title to register.

Dell Women's Entrepreneurship Network: This network helps a group of like-minded women share best practices, build business opportunities through collaboration, explore international expansion, and access new resources and technologies that support business growth.

Tory Burch Fellowship: Fellows receive mentorship, a $5,000 grant and other supports. The application process will open this fall so sign-up to receive notifications from them here.

City of New York Offers Free Technical Assistance for Restaurants

The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) will work to ensure that the most up-to-date guidance and materials needed by small business owners for a safe phased-in reopening are readily available. The information will be housed on a centralized resource page with guidance and best practices for the restaurant industry across all five boroughs. SBS will also launch a reopening supplies marketplace for easy access to wholesalers selling PPE, gloves, sneeze guards and other equipment. Business owners can call a hotline at 1-888-SBS-4NYC to ask questions about this process.

PPE for Small Businesses: NYC SBS coordinating with 70+ BIDs and Chambers of Commerce to provide 2 million pieces of PPE to small businesses citywide. Find a distribution partner near you at: Free Face Coverings for Small Businesses & Their Employees

The City’s Department of Small Business Services has shared their new “Find a Job” page, which lists open employment listings from across NYC. Learn more and search the listings.

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).


Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs & Resources

The State's Coronavirus Hotline is open 24 hours if you have any questions or concerns: 1-888-364-3065. **If you need help getting medical care, you can also call 311. New York City will provide care regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.

The NYP COVID Hotline 646-697-4000 can answer questions about COVID-19. This hotline is a public service to provide information only and not to diagnose, treat, or render a medical opinion. Their Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions document is available on the NYP Coronavirus website.

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:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Past Updates from CB8