Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates August 25th

August 25th, 2020



The moratorium for residential and commercial evictions in New York City has been extended to October 1st. Evictions will remain paused for New Yorkers and small businesses facing financial hardship due to the pandemic.

Governor Cuomo signed legislation that ensures every registered New Yorker has options on how to vote in November in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation signed into law today also takes steps to ensure that every vote is counted. All registered voters can request an absentee ballot if they are concerned about COVID. All Boards of Elections in New York State must count:

  • All ballots postmarked on or before Election Day (November 3rd) and received within seven days after Election Day.

  • All ballots without a postmark received on November 4th (the day after Election Day).

You have three ways to vote. You can vote early in-person, you can vote on Election Day or you can vote using an absentee ballot.

Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order to bolster and support New Yorkers' right to vote. The order requires county Boards of Election to adopt a newly designed envelope for absentee ballots that will eliminate confusion as to where voters must sign their ballot; to send a mailing notifying voters of deadlines and instructions for requesting absentee ballots; to take steps so that they're ready to count votes as soon as possible; and to send staffing plans and needs to the State Board of Elections by September 20. This order builds on legislation I signed previously allowing all voters to request an absentee ballot if they have COVID-related concerns about voting in-person.

Voting Deadlines to Know for November 2020 General Election:

  • October 9th: Last day to register to vote. You may register to vote on-line here:

  • October 14th: The last day to submit a change of address.

  • October 27: Last day to postmark an application or letter of application by mail for an absentee ballot.

  • November 2: Last day to apply IN-PERSON for absentee ballot.

  • November 3: Last day to postmark and mail-in an absentee ballot. Must be received by the local board of elections no later than Nov. 10th. Military Voter Ballots must be received no later than Nov. 16th.

  • November 3: Last day to deliver an absentee ballot IN-PERSON to the local Board of Elections (by someone other than the voter).

EARLY VOTING: You will have an opportunity to cast your vote in person on Saturday October 24 through Sunday, November 1. Your early voting site will be confirmed over the coming weeks, though some are already available. Locations and hours for your early voting site will be available here.

The New York City Board of Elections created a portal to request absentee ballots online. Registered voters who live in the five boroughs can now request an absentee ballot if they are concerned about COVID.

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced the extension of NYC Ferry’s Astoria route to serve the East 90th Street landing in Upper Manhattan. The new connection, which officially launched Saturday, August 22nd, comes at no additional operating or capital expense and will not change travel time to or from existing landings on the Astoria Route. After launching, the newly extended Astoria Route will now terminate at East 90th Street and Pier 11. Please visit or the NYC Ferry app for the most up-to-date timetables.

The deadline for health insurance special enrollment has been extended to September 15, 2020. New Yorkers without health insurance can apply for coverage through the NY State of Health Plan Marketplace.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum will reopen on September 11th. The anniversary day reopening will be reserved for families of those killed in the 2001 and the 1993 World Trade Center attacks. The public will be able to visit starting September 12th. The museum will be reduced to 25 percent capacity and just like all cultural institutions reopening, health and safety protocols must be closely followed.

New COVID testing sites will be set up at NYC airports. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and New York City Health + Hospitals will set up testing sites at JFK and LaGuardia Airports to limit the spread of COVID-19 from visitors arriving from out of state.

Lower-risk, school-sponsored sports can begin September 21st. Travel for practice or away games will be prohibited outside of the school's region or neighboring regions or counties until October 19th. Lower- and moderate-risk sports include tennis, soccer, cross country, field hockey and swimming.

A recent study highlights New York as one of the only states that exceeds the testing level considered necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Free fares on buses will end on 8/31, and front door boarding will resume. With a traditional bus layout, there will be more space for social distancing.

Museums are now cleared to reopen, at a maximum of 25% capacity and with timed admissions. Borough President Gale Brewer’s office compiled information about museums’ plans and posted them here

LiveOn NY has compiled an extensive list of virtual and phone events for seniors.

Lighthouse Guild’s “Community Connections” program offers virtual presentations about vision loss. Contact [email protected] or 917-386-9197 to register. Lighthouse Guild also hosts a monthly book club. Register here or call 212-769-7833.

Five states have been removed from New York's travel advisory. Visitors from Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Maryland and Montana no longer need to quarantine when they arrive in New York. Guam has been added to the list. Those who are part-way through a quarantine should continue for the full 14 days. Learn more and see the full list of states and territories subject to the travel advisory here.

Restaurants and bars can continue to sell takeout beer, wine and cocktails through September 4, 2020. Any alcohol purchased for takeout or delivery must be accompanied by food. Restaurants and bars can serve alcohol in expanded outdoor seating (when accompanied by food).

For the 17th straight day, the statewide infection rate is under 1 percent, and our positivity rate hit a record low with 0.66% of yesterday's COVID-19 tests returning as positive. We continue trending in the right direction but we do so only because we remain alert for any signs that can hamper that progress.

Governor Cuomo urged New Yorkers to get a flu shot. While we still handle COVID, flu season looms on the horizon. In anticipation of flu season, the Governor directed the Department of Health to send a letter to county health departments to ensure localities have plans in place to perform flu and COVID-19 tests simultaneously. This year it is especially important that New Yorkers get their flu shot. Find a flu vaccine site near you.

New York continues to lead the nation in testing and any New Yorker can get a test. Find a testing site near you.

Governor Cuomo reminds us that outdoor dining does not mean partying. The virus has not gone away. The state has suspended liquor licenses for 16 additional bars in New York State. After finding egregious violations of pandemic-related Executive Orders, 148 liquor licenses so far have been suspended during the Coronavirus pandemic.
There has been an increase in domestic violence during this virus.  If you are in a dangerous domestic situation, New York State will help you find safe shelter. You aren't trapped because of COVID. If there is an issue where you face imminent harm, call 9-1-1 immediately. If you need help, you can call the State's Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906, or text 844-997-2121. New York City also provides help for those facing domestic violence. See, call 1-800-621-HOPE or 311, anytime.

Our Town reports on the challenges facing New York in controlling the virus.

Artist Davina Semo has created bells to be installed at Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer. Semo is motivated to spotlight pressing issues like climate change, inequality, and the fact that the COVID-19 crisis has so many people living on the edge. Click here for more.


The Mayor announced "Outdoor Learning”, a citywide outdoor learning initiative for the 2020-21 academic year.  The program will allow schools to hold classes outdoors in schoolyards, adjacent streets, and nearby park space. The program is open to all public, charter, and private schools, as well as Learning Bridges. Schools in areas hardest-hit by COVID-19 with no outdoor space will receive priority for the program. Any school that applies by Friday 8/28 will have a response next week.  The neighborhoods being targetted are:
o   Brooklyn: Bed Stuy; Brighton Beach; Brownsville; Bushwick; Canarsie; East Flatbush; East New York and Starrett City; Sunset Park
o   Bronx: East Tremont; Highbridge; Longwood and Hunts Point; Morris Heights; Morrisania and Crotona; Mott Haven and Melrose; Soundview and Soundview Bruckner; Van Cortlandt Park and Jerome Park
o   Manhattan: Central Harlem; East Harlem; Hamilton Heights and Morningside Heights; Lower East Side and Chinatown; Washington Heights and Inwood
o   Queens: Briarwood; Corona; Jamaica; Queensbridge; Rockaway and Far Rockaway Staten Island: Stapleton-St. George

Upper East Side Patch reports on how local private schools are reopening.

The Dept. of Education will provide child care for children from 3-K through 8th grade this fall for days when they are not in school buildings. Complete this survey (even if you don’t yet know your child’s school schedule) to express interest in placing your children in the new “Learning Bridges” program.

This Monday (8/24) and Tuesday (8/25), Let’s Talk Schools will host a free virtual private school fair and admissions panel. Register for sessions here.

Monday (8/24) through Thursday (8/27), high school students are invited to College and Career Readiness Week, sponsored by Harlem School of the Arts. Attend virtual workshops on topics like writing personal statements, financial aid and researching colleges.

Thursday (8/27) at 6:30 pm, the Dept. of Education has set another online citywide information session for parents seeking details about the 2020-21 school year; register here.


New York Fashion Week will take place September 13-17, 2020 with limited or no spectators. The event will be in strict compliance with New York State health and safety guidelines, including outdoor events capped at 50 people and indoor events at 50 percent capacity and no spectators. As one of the capstone events for the fashion industry, New York Fashion Week will feature live-streamed runway shows, cultural programming and more.

Teen musicians perform for Carnegie Hall on August 26, click here to watch. For more from Carnegie Hall, click here.

The Brooklyn Museum and El Museo del Barrio will reopen to the public on September 12th.

Open House New York Weekend: October 17–18, 202 Digital sneak peeks, hyperlocal itineraries, and zero crowded elevator rides. OHNY is reimagining the festival as a hybrid of virtual experiences and outdoor self-guided explorations. For more information, click here.

The Met opens August 29 and the Cloisters open September 12. Entry is by timed ticket or reservation and the hours are shorter. For the Met’s health guidelines, click here.

The Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea opened with a Donald Judd exhibition.


The deadline for completing the U.S. Census has moved up to September 30th. It's more important than ever to ensure our communities are counted, so that we can receive our fair share of federal funding during these tough economic times. New York is also in danger of losing two Congressional seats. Statewide, the Census response rate is currently 59 percent. Please encourage everyone you know to fill our their Census form at my2020census.govEach individual response (multiply for families or others living in the same apartment) brings approximately $4000 in federal funding to New York City. If you are spending your summer outside New York City, you may complete the form with New York City as your residence.

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.

Wear a mask: The New York Times found that those ignoring the mask rule are nearly twice as likely to be men as women. 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]


FEMA has approved New York State's application for $300 in additional weekly unemployment benefits. It is not clear how soon these benefits will be distributed, or how many weeks they will last.

Welcome Back Saturdays on Madison Avenue: 9/12, 9/26 & 10/3. To celebrate the launch of the fall season and re-introduce shoppers to over 300 businesses, the Madison Avenue B.I.D is organizing “Welcome Back Saturdays” starting on September 12. Each Saturday will focus on a different 10-block area, presenting the public with new shops and restaurants to explore each week. For more details, please visit

The Mayor announced new commitments to further invest in Black entrepreneurs in all five boroughs. The BE NYC initiative is a first-of-its-kind model, which aims to increase the number of Black-owned businesses in New York City with a focus on growing businesses in high-growth industries. As part of the City’s commitment to close the racial wealth gap and support Black-owned businesses, the Department of Small Business Services is releasing the landmark Black entrepreneurship report and using its partnerships to launch four new programs for Black business owners. To view the full report and to learn more, visit

Blueprint for Investing in Black-Owned Businesses: Informed by more than 1,500 current and aspiring Black entrepreneurs, business leaders, community leaders and advocates, SBS is publishing Advancing Black Entrepreneurship in NYC - a blueprint for advancing Black entrepreneurship in all five boroughs. The report highlights the challenges Black entrepreneurs face when starting and growing their businesses and offers recommendations in four key areas:
o   Provide equitable access to financing
o   Strengthen connections within NYC’s Black entrepreneurial community
o   Scale Black businesses for long-term success
o   Meet the challenges of the economy of tomorrow

The CARES Act that passed Congress in the early days of the pandemic last spring authorized “Economic Impact Payments” of $1,200 for individuals ($2,400 for couples) and $500 for each dependent child under age 17. Many of those payments have been made, but not all.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an independent organization within the IRS, says that millions have not received some or all of the amounts Congress authorized. And the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm, estimates that some 465,000 relief payments in April and May did not include the $500 for qualifying children. Some parents have reported that they received their $1,200 but did not get the extra $500 for each child, or they received money for one child but not for another.

The IRS has now reopened the registration period, until Sept. 30, to claim those $500 payments to one category of taxpayers -- those who do not normally file returns: Social Security retirement, survivor, disability or Railroad Retirement beneficiaries, or Supplemental Security Income or Veterans Affairs benefit recipients who have qualifying children and did not file a return in 2018 or 2019 OR otherwise did not supply information via the nonfilers tool on the IRS website at

If you don’t submit the information by Sept. 30, you may claim the $500 as a tax credit next year by filing a 2020 federal income tax return according to the IRS. If you DID use the non-filer tool and claimed a qualifying child but did not receive a $500 EIP payment, you can call the TAS at 877-777-4778. Learn more at the TAS website.
Advancing Black Entrepreneurship in NYC” was released by the City’s Black Entrepreneurs NYC initiative and highlights the challenges Black entrepreneurs face and announces consulting, financing and virtual storefront partnerships with Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs, Mastercard and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The Dept. of Small Business Services has launched Career Discovery NYC, a free career search and skills training tool.

MEND (Mediating Establishment and Neighbor Disputes) NYC is a new City program to provide free mediation to hospitality businesses and their neighbors who are in disputes over quality-of-life issues. MEND NYC aims to mitigate the need for formal enforcement, such as issuing summonses, which can add financial hardship to small businesses that are already under tremendous strain.

Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order extending the moratorium on commercial evictions until September 20th.

If you’re a property owner or building manager, please advise your staff and residents to allow (properly identified) Census enumerators into the building to visit those residents who have not completed their census forms.

Facebook is starting a $100 million grant program for Black-owned small businesses. While the application is not yet available, you can learn more about the program by clicking here.

Restaurant & Bar Reopening Toolkit – Find all the guidelines and resources you need in one place, including checklists, Open Restaurant siting criteria, and posters. Download it here, and find additional guidance and resources for restaurants on SBS’ restaurant reopening guide here.

Find Outdoor Dining Fixtures & Equipment – Please click here for the City's directory of equipment rental fixtures & equipment for safe outdoor dining.

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

Apply by Sept. 13 to the NeON Arts Grantwhich awards up to $15,000 to artists and arts organizations pursuing projects in community and justice settings. Grants are sponsored by NeON (Neighborhood Opportunity Network) and Carnegie Hall.

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.

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