Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates September 28th

September 28th, 2020



On Wednesday, September 30th, restaurants in New York City can reopen for indoor dining starting at 25 percent. All restaurants that choose to reopen must adhere to strict safety protocols, including increased ventilation and air filtration standards, temperature checks and face coverings when not seated, among other safety protocols. Read more about NYC's indoor dining reopening here.

The State Department of Motor Vehicles is expanding online services, making it easier for New Yorkers to do business with the DMV during this pandemic. The DMV is launching a pilot program to offer the written learner permit tests for passenger cars (Class D) and motorcycles (Class M) online. It is also piloting a process to allow customers who reside in counties served by the State DMV to register their vehicles online. In-person services are available for transactions that cannot to be done online, by mail or by drop box and reservations are required for all in-person transactions. Read more.

A reminder that masks are required on public transportation. If you don't have a mask, you can request one at any staffed station booth in the NYC subway. Those who refuse to wear a mask even after being asked to wear one, and offered one, may be fined $50.

The State Liquor Authority has suspended liquor licenses for 33 additional bars and restaurants. These 33 businesses were found to be in egregious violation of Executive Orders issued to protect the public health. To date, 201 liquor licenses have been suspended during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As in-person school instruction resumes, GetFoodNYC Grab and Go meal locations will continue Monday - Friday at 207 schools in high-need areas starting tomorrow (9/29). The Grab and Go map also lists sites serving kosher and halal meals. Students learning in person at a public school or a Learning Bridges location will receive both breakfast and lunch on site. Families of students learning remotely can pick up free Grab and Go meals from any of the 207 schools, 9 am - 12 pm. Adults can pick up meals from 3 - 5 pm.

The City has issued guidance for indoor pools, like the one at Asphalt Green, can re-open on September 30.

The moratorium on commercial evictions is extended until October 20th. Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order that extends protections already in place for commercial tenants and mortgagors in recognition of the financial toll the pandemic has taken on business owners, including retail establishments and restaurants.

Five states have been added to New York's travel advisory. Individuals traveling to New York from Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island and Wyoming must quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in New York. No areas have been removed. See more info here.

New York has now conducted ten million COVID tests. New York continues to lead the nation in testing, having conducted more than ten million tests in total (for context, the population of New York State is about 19 million). Remember that any New Yorker can get tested for COVID for any reason. Find a testing site near you.

For an article on why some infected with COVID-19 are experiencing distorted senses of smell or taste, click here.

Our Town looks at school reopenings.

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the individual saliva swab diagnostic test for COVID-19 developed by SUNY Upstate Medical University and Quadrant Biosciences for emergency use. The saliva swab test has been used to conduct testing at all SUNY campuses and this approval allows us to expand the use of the tests statewide. The test will be used as a part of the innovative "pool testing" process, which allows for 10 to 25 samples to be tested for COVID at once. If the entire pool is negative, then all samples are cleared, and if the pool is positive, the samples that make up the batch are individually tested. Pool testing helps labs test more samples more quickly and efficiently.

The 2020 New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square will be held virtually. The owner of One Times Square has designed the famous Times Square space virtually and built a broadcast app so that everyone, regardless of where they are, can enjoy the iconic ball drop safely. In previous years, as many as one million people have gathered in the Times Square area to celebrate the new year.

The Mayor has extended Executive Order 148, which sets limitations on event permits through December 31, 2020. DRP and SAPO applications that meet the following criteria will be considered under the current Executive Order:·        

  • Non-essential gatherings are currently limited to 50 people or less
  • Event must be one block/one plaza block or less
  • Sound permits will not be issued for any event with a stage or video screen.
  • Event location cannot interfere with a DOT Open Street or with DOT Open Restaurant locations (curb lane and partial closures on streets with Open Restaurants will be considered).
  • The local community board and precinct must approve all applications.
  • COVID Safety Plan Affirmation must be signed and uploaded

Non-profit applicants may be eligible for reduced or waived permits fees under a civic event permits: see more here. Apply for street permits at and parks permits at Frequently asked questions about the about Executive Order 148 can be found here.

New York is establishing two task forces to help advise the clinical safety of future vaccines as well as on how best to distribute and implement them. The first task force will consist of an independent group of leading scientists, doctors and health experts charged with the mission of reviewing any vaccine authorized by the federal government for distribution and to advise the State on its safety and effectiveness. The second task force will be charged with drafting a plan to best administer an approved COVID-19 vaccine to New York State, including the work of developing clinical guidance as to who should be prioritized to receive the vaccine.

The federal Dept. of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $122 million in rent and mortgage relief for NYC, part of the nearly $2 billion allocated nationwide through the CARES Act this month. The City and State haven't yet announced how or when funds will be dispersed.

Mental health resources are still available to New Yorkers who need it. We do not underestimate the impact this pandemic is having on mental health. New Yorkers can call the State's hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to get free emotional support, consultations and referrals to a provider. Free meditation and mindfulness resources are additionally available at

The New York Academy of Medicine is offering a program that examines inequities in Black maternal health on October 1. To register and for more information, click here.

GrowNYC has reopened some Greenmarket food scrap drop-off locations across Manhattan:

  • Tompkins Sq. (Sun, 8 am - 5 pm)
  • Stuy Town (Sun, 9:30 am - 1:30 pm)
  • Union Sq. (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, 8 am - 5 pm)
  • 97th St. (Fri, 8 am - 12:30 pm)
  • Inwood (Sat, 8 am - 2 pm)

NYS will begin enforcing the 5-cent fee charged to customers who choose to use store-provided bags on 10/19. The NYS Supreme Court upheld the ban in August. Take reusable bags with you when shopping and avoid the fee (and help save the environment!).

A new NYC Ferry Fall schedule went into effect on Saturday, September 26, 2020. Please preview schedules to plan your commute accordingly. Preview Schedules Here.


The CDC has released new guidelines and an interactive map to help families prepare for Halloween. Now that it is officially fall, Halloween is coming up soon. To help families prepare, the CDC issued new guidance and a color-coded map to help families plan safe activities.  Governor Cuomo will issue additional guidelines, leaving it to each family to decide whether to trick-or-treat this year.

The State launched the "COVID-19 Report Card" dashboard to give parents and teachers confidence in schools reopening. The data available online will include: Number of positive infections of students and staff by school and school district; number of students and staff on-site; and percentage of on-site students & staff who test positive. The dashboard is available here.

Common Denominator offers free, virtual math tutoring to students in grades 5 - 8. Apply for a tutor here.

Tuesday (9/29) at 3:30 pm, kids can learn how to make seasoned corn flatbread during Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Alliance’s virtual Traveling Kitchen for Kids.

SUNY is expanding its free diagnostic tests. Developed by SUNY Upstate Medical University, all SUNY campuses will now administer the FDA-approved saliva swab COVID test to all students, commuters and faculty at SUNY state-operated colleges, universities and hospitals. These free tests, with results in 48 hours, will help the colleges better monitor the infection rate and keep both students and staff safe.

The New York Times published article on the importance of following health and safety protocols even in small family gatherings and play-dates, click here.


Poets House, the national literary center in Battery Park City, and the Battery Park City Authority are launching a “Poetry Path” starting outside their front door at 10 River Terrace in BPC, featuring over 40 poetry fragments reproduced on bench slats, banners, pavers, pathways and signs. On September 25,  the virtual opening celebrates Poets House’s 10th anniversary and features the launch of in-depth Poetry Path web resources and a series of virtual events. Free and open to the public, the Poetry Path will run through 2021.

The Hispanic Society Museum & Library’s free “Treasures on the Terrace” outdoor exhibition is now open through 12/6.

Stream the NYC Ballet’s free repertory performances, beginning Tuesday (9/29). New performances will be posted weekly. Watch on FacebookYoutubeor

Saturdays at 7 pm through mid-October, the Open Street at E. 101st St. and Lexington Ave. screens film shorts from the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival.

For information on an exhibit on time at the Sean Kelly Gallery, click here.

For information on the Whitney’s exhibit on Agnes Pelton, Desert Transcendentalist, or a virtual tour of the galleries, click here.

 I Love NY published a new blog post on some fall favorite activities you can enjoy during the fall season. Read the blog post here.

For information about the Public Theatre, including a free event featuring songs and stories from Public Theatre artists on October 20, click here.

For virtual events at the Met, including art programs for children, click here.

For an update on what’s open at Grand Central Terminal, click here.

For what’s on at the Met Opera, click here.

Good news about more museums. MoMA PS1 is now reopened with strict safety protocols in place. The Queens contemporary arts venue joins the many arts and cultural institutions reopening their doors to guests. When visiting museums and other institutions, patrons must respect safety protocols, including wearing a mask and respecting social distancing as much as possible.

The Museum of Art and Design is also open. Click here for information about their exhibit on their jewelry collection and visit for information about tickets, programs and other exhibits.

The Virtual Online Art Museum can be visited at For an article about it, and links to other articles in Smithsonian Magazine, click here.

The Rochester Fringe Festival has gone virtual this year. New York State's largest multidisciplinary performing arts festival features 170+ online productions and runs through Saturday, September 26.

For information on what WNYC is streaming, click here.

For haunting photos of abandoned Ellis Island, click here.

Election 2020 Resources

The Manhattan Board of Elections has posted the poll sites for early voting and election day. Election logistics: First, if you’re NOT registered to vote in New York City, the deadline to register is October 9, 2020. Not sure if you’re registered? Check here.

Once you are registered, you may vote three ways:

Early voting is a great option to avoid mail-in ballot delays and potentially long lines on Election Day (11/3). Absentee voting is best if you’re not comfortable going to the polls.

Become a poll worker. New Yorkers who are currently unemployed can apply to be a paid poll worker without losing their unemployment benefits. Poll workers are vital in ensuring that Election Day runs smoothly and I signed an Executive Order that allows New Yorkers who currently collect unemployment benefits to sign up for temporary work on November 3rd. Sign up to become a poll worker.


Last week, U.S. District Judge Koh of the Northern District of California ordered that the census must continue through October 31st. The federal government just appealed this ruling, which may result in an earlier census deadline. Therefore, we currently do not know when the census will end, but it will be sometime between October 6th and October 31st. 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. 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. If you have a second home, please fill out any census form you may receive there with “0” residents if you filled out a census form previously with New York City as your primary residence.

Tuesday (9/29) at 6 pm, Community Voices Heard and Manhattan Borough President Brewer host a virtual Census Town Hall to discuss how the Census impacts education, Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP benefits and transportation. Click the link to register.

NYU Langone Health Center is recruiting adults age 18+ to participate in a COVID-19 vaccine trial, especially those who are more likely to be exposed and vulnerable, including people with underlying medical conditions, seniors, those who could be exposed in their workplace (including elder-care facility residents or workers, and jail or prison workers) and Black, Latinx and Native American adults. Sign up at NYU Langone’s online registry at url is a little odd, but it is correct!). For more information about COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in general, visit

Enroll in Weill Cornell Medicine’s free, online Community Research Academy to learn about scientific research and expand the research process’ engagement with often-overlooked community members. Classes are Wednesday, 10:45 am - 12 pm, 9/30 - 12/2. Send an email to [email protected] with the subject line “CRA Enrollment” and include your name in the body of the email.

If you care about art and artists, every Manhattan senator and Congress member supports the federal Save Our Stages Act, but there are stages, performers and arts workers across America who need help coping with the economic fallout of the pandemic. Urge your friends in other locations to use this link to contact their elected officials in Washington to support this important legislation.

The State asks that all New Yorkers get tested for COVID19. Find a testing site: Answer the phone if you get a call from NYC Test and Trace, which will be from a phone number beginning with 212-540-XXXX or 212-242-XXXX. If someone is identified to be a close contact of a confirmed case of #COVID19, they must stay home for the required 14 days, regardless of a negative diagnostic or antibody test.

Get a flu vaccine. While the flu vaccine will not prevent COVID19, it will help lower the risk of you and your family getting sick with the flu and needing medical care. All New Yorkers should get the flu vaccine. Find a flu shot location near you:

Donate Plasma: 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]


The applications for Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Manhattan Arts Grants close tomorrow (9/29) at 5 pm. Apply ASAP.

Open Restaurants Update: On September 25, 2020, NYC announced that the popular Open Restaurants program will be made permanent, and restaurants will be permitted to use heating and enclosures, and expand seating to adjacent properties with neighbors’ consent. Specific guidance is forthcoming.

Adjacent Properties

  • The City will allow restaurants to expand seating to the frontage of adjacent properties, as long as the adjacent property owners formally agree to the use of the space for a specified period of time and commit not to charge a fee for its use
  • The City will work with the State Liquor Authority (SLA) on any requirements associated with extending alcohol service to the expanded seating in front of adjacent properties
  • In early October, NYC DOT will issue a template agreement and provide instructions on how to file the agreements
  • Adjacent properties may not be used prior to the release of official instructions and formal agreements


  • As cooler weather arrives, the City will allow restaurants to incorporate heating elements into their outdoor dining setups
  • Electrical heaters will be allowed on both sidewalk and roadway
  • Propane and natural gas heaters will be allowed on sidewalks only; they will remain prohibited in roadway seating
  • Propane will require a permit from FDNY and compliance with FDNY regulations for outdoor use, handling and secure outdoor tank storage overnight
  • Official guidance on what will be considered approved installation and use of heating elements will be released before the end of September, and restaurants are prohibited from installing heating elements until guidelines are released and followed


  • Restaurants will also be permitted to use tent enclosures to keep diners warm
  • In partial tent enclosures, at least 50% of the tent’s side wall surface area must remain open and electrical heaters are allowed
  • In full tent enclosures, the tent’s side walls may be closed but occupancy limitations will be capped at 25% of capacity, and indoor dining guidelines must be followed; electrical heaters will also be allowed
  • Enclosed structures, such as plastic domes, will be allowed for individual parties and must have adequate ventilation to allow for air circulation

Roadway Safety

  • As the program’s duration will now continue through the winter months, and winter weather creates potential for inclement weather to impact road conditions, the City will engage the restaurant industry and other stakeholders to develop additional safety features to further strengthen roadway barriers
  • To ensure timely implementation, the City will require restaurant owners to comply with new safety features by November 15, 2020
  • In addition, significant snow events may necessitate the temporary removal of some barriers from the roadway

New York Foundation for Senior Citizens’ Home Sharing Program matches adults 60+ who have an extra bedroom with adult “guests,” making housing more affordable for participants. Apply to be a host or a guest, or call 212-962-7559.

Latinx-owned and -operated small businesses can apply ASAP for a $5,000 grant and business coaching from, the PowerUp Fund and Eureeka. Apply here.

NYCxDesign’s Design Corps: Small Business Reopening Network connects restaurant owners to volunteer design professionals who can help them enroll in the City’s Open Restaurants program, ensure compliance or improve their outdoor dining spaces. Click the above link to offer or request design services.

College and technical school students living in affordable housing developments can apply by 10/1 for a scholarship up to $12,500 from the Cannon Heyman and Weiss Scholarship Fund.

For tips on negotiating with landlords in this renter’s market, click here.

Minority small business owners can apply for grants of $10,000 from LISC NYC’s Small Business Relief & Recovery Fund for payroll, overhead, training, technology and infrastructure upgrade costs. Click the link above or email Ibrahima Souare, LISC Community Development Officer.

The Aspen Policy Acceleration Partnership Grant will fund city, county and state agencies who can extend services and supports to help college students who are parents. Attend an online information session 10/1 at 3 pm and apply by 12/11 for a $150,000 grant.

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

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.

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.

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.


Senator Krueger's Virtual Senior Resource Fair

Tuesday, October 13th from 2 pm – 3:30 pm
Join us at the theater, at a lecture, and a concert, look at art in the museum, and attend class at the University.

Presentations by:

  • Carnegie Hall
  • DOROT- University Without Walls, On Site and special programs
  • The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
  • Theater Development Fund
  • The Streicker Center at Temple Emanu-El

Wednesday, October 14th from 2 pm – 3:30 pm
Put on some comfortable clothes to exercise and meditate, and find out about programs designed to keep us healthy and to reduce stress.

Presentations by:

  • Asphalt Green
  • Lenox Hill Neighborhood House - learn about the Simionson technique, and organic approach to movement
  • Health Advocates for Older People - learn about how to exercise with arthritis

Thursday, October 15th 2 pm – 2:30 pm
Findinga job is never easy, and it’s even harder for individuals over 50, especially during the time of COVID.  We are continuing our partnership with the Science Business and Industry Library (SIBL) to help you hone your job search skills. Topics include establishing the right mindset for the job search, creating an effective resume, and refining yourinterviewing skills.

Please let us know if you plan to join us on October 13th, 14th and15th.  You can attend one, two or all three events. RSVP at

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:


Fill out your Census at OR by phone in these languages:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Past Updates from CB8