Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates September 8

September 8th, 2020


For the fourth straight week, New York's positive infection rate is below 1 percent. All of the State's COVID reporting data, including the number of tests conducted and the positive infection rate broken down by region, is available here.

New York State launched an online portal where all registered voters can request an absentee ballot if you are worried about in-person voting due to COVID. There's no need to wait — you can request an absentee ballot for the November 3rd election today. (Please note that you must already be registered to vote at your current address. If you aren't registered to vote, or need to change your voter registration address, visit for more info.)

 New Yorkers have options in the way to cast a vote this elections: In addition to voting by absentee ballot, you can vote early in-person at your Early Voting polling place from October 24 to November 1 (there are nine days of Early Voting). Of course, you can still vote in-person on Election Day, November 3rd.

For an absentee ballot, you can download an application at or by calling 1-866-VOTE-NYC (1-866-868-3692). Absentee ballots will start being sent 9/18. Return it by mail, with the back of the envelope signed, postmarked no later than 10/27, or return it by hand to the Manhattan BOE offices (200 Varick St.) during business hours before 11/2, or before 9 pm on Election Day 11/3. Or, you could visit Who's On The Ballot for more information and links.

New York is extending our partnership with HelloFresh to help combat food insecurity amid the pandemic. The New York State Division of Veterans' Services and HelloFresh started working together in June to provide meals to families, and this expansion will provide over 200,000 fresh meals to veterans, military families and other residents in New York City who are experiencing food insecurity — one of a host of initiatives the State has taken to help ensure that no family goes hungry.

On reopenings and not reopenings. City shopping malls can reopen Wednesday (9/9) at 50% capacity; casinos can return the same day at 25% capacity (with enhanced air filtration systems in place). No indoor dining is permitted in malls. Both malls and casinos must follow strict safety protocols. For malls, click here. For casinos, click here.

Over 300 New York City restaurants have joined a class-action lawsuit against the City and State, seeking $2 billion in damages over the ongoing indoor dining ban. Council Speaker Corey Johnson this week called outright for indoor dining to reopen; Gov. Cuomo responded by inviting Johnson to submit a plan for some sort of NYPD task force on compliance. “My opinion is restaurants should open. The question is how,” Gov. Cuomo said,  For a WNBC news story, click here. For  New York Magazine articles on the troubles facing restaurants and New York’s hospitality industry, click here and here.

The Uniform Land Use Review Procedure will resume 9/14, per a mayoral executive order.

For the upcoming Jewish holidays, Congregations interested in applying for open space should submit a Street Activity Permit application here.

NYC gyms are allowed to reopen after owners submit a Gym and Fitness Facility Inspection Request and Attestation Form and pass an inspection. Join a webinar about gym reopening guidelines on Thursday (9/10) at 11:30 am, hosted by the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services.

The State’s Dept. of Homes and Community Renewal has updated the following policy statements and fact sheets to reflect the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019: “Application of the Treble Damages Penalty,” “Rent Stabilization and Rent Control,” “Vacancy Leases in Rent Stabilized Apartments,” “Collecting Overcharges in Rent Stabilized Apartments in New York City” and “Guide to Rent Increases for Rent Stabilized Apartments.”

MIT’s biology department is offering a new online class called “COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 and the Pandemic.” The class begins Tuesday (9/8) and will be livestreamed and open to the public each Tuesday thereafter from 11:30 am - 12:30 pm, but only enrolled MIT students will be able to ask questions. (The livestreams will be posted a few days later with closed captions). Here’s the course descriptionsyllabus (PDF) and livestream link

The New York Public Library is adding Grab & Go service to 50 locations (10 in Manhattan). Reserve items online or by phone (917-275-6975), and you’ll receive an email when your items are ready for contactless pick-up at your designated branch, open 11 am - 6 pm. The new Manhattan branches are:

The NYC Dept. of Parks will begin the permit request period on 9/15 for youth baseball, softball, non-contact lacrosse, cricket, soccer and flag football leagues wishing to use park spaces. It’s unclear how fast the permits will be granted. Apply for permits here.

Gov. Cuomo has extended the Child Victims Act’s statute of limitations through August 2021 so that survivors of child sexual abuse may file civil charges against abusers regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.

It is never too early to plan for emergencies. The NYC Emergency Management Dept. will host events to prepare for emergencies.

For art lovers and art makers. Paint a mural or design a Black Lives Matter art installation for the Roosevelt Island Fall for Arts Festival. Submit sketches by 9/11 to [email protected].

Submit voting-themed artwork by 9/25 to be featured on LinkNYC’s 1,700 kiosks this election season.

Tuesday (9/8) at 6 pm, New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine continue their virtual lecture series with “Stroke Tips.” RSVP to [email protected] or 212-312-5165.

Wednesday (9/9) at 10 am, join “Laying the Groundwork for a Tourism Recovery in NYC,” a Center for an Urban Future virtual policy symposium.

Our Town writes about a new book on the virus, written by a front-line doctor. Click here for the article and a link to order a copy.

Alaska and Montana have been added to New York's COVID travel advisory. The two states join 31 other states and territories from which travelers arriving to New York must self-quarantine for 14 days. See the full list here.

The President is freezing evictions for COVID-19 related financial reasons. Read more here.

For an article on how Roanoke, Virginia used city planning to engage the community in its decision-making on health equity, see this article published by the New York Academy of Medicine.

The COVID Chronicles,  a graphic novel,  is a collection of personal stories made in partnership with Upshot Studios, depicting how many cope with the pandemic. From frontline workers to individuals who fought off the virus, these visual stories portray the unique ways the virus has affected us all.

Our Town describes a theatre project that is more of a social impact work.

About the Metrocard Bus Sales. Due to the COVID pandemic, MetroCard Mobile Sales staff are not handling cash or debit/credit transactions until further notice. These transactions have been temporarily suspended to ensure the health and safety of our customers and staff.

During this time, the following services are offered at Mobile Sales locations:

  • Get Reduced-fare application assistance.
  • Apply for an EasyPay MetroCard or EasyPay Reduced-Fare MetroCard
  • Transfer MetroCard balances (Full fare and Reduced-Fare).
  • Exchange damaged Reduced-Fare MetroCards for a temporary replacement.
  • Report a Lost/Stolen Reduced-Fare MetroCard.
  • Or, ask our team about any other MetroCard-related issues.

 You can find a metrocard bus in front of Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright’s office. For other locations, click here.

To buy metrocards, customers have the following options for refilling/purchasing MetroCards and paying their fare:

  • Refill or purchase a card using cash or debit/credit card at MetroCard Vending Machines in stations.
  • Apply for an EasyPay MetroCard or EasyPay Reduced-Fare MetroCard that will automatically refill when linked to a debit or credit card. This eliminates the need to go to a MetroCard Vending Machine to refill the card.
  • Download and use the OMNY app on their smartphone or a contactless card to pay their fare on buses and the subway.


There are under 20,000 iPads that are still available for families to request. We’re hearing that it is unlikely there will be an additional purchase this fall. Request at

For a short animated film, made by a girl scout who is a student at Hunter College High School,  for kids on why they should wear a mask, click here.

A summary of the agreement between the UFT and DOE about school reopenings:

Under the terms of the agreement, all New York City public school buildings will remain closed to students until September 21, while final safety arrangements are completed, including the assignment of a school nurse to every building, ventilation checks and the presence of sufficient protective and cleaning supplies.

The decision on whether to re-open a building to students will be based on the UFT 50-item safety checklist, including social distancing of student desks, the availability of masks and face shields, and a room-by-room review of ventilation effectiveness.

Buildings or rooms that do not meet safety standards will remain closed.

Teachers will report to schools on September 8. They will work with their colleagues to plan and develop strategies for the blended remote/in-person instruction that will be the learning method for the overwhelming majority of the city’s public school students.

Once in-person learning has begun, the DOE will establish a mandatory, robust system of repeated random COVID-19 testing of adults and students.

A blind representative sample, comprised of 10% to 20% of all students and adults from every NYC DOE school, will be selected each month for COVID-19 testing, with results available within 48 hours. All random COVID-19 monitoring test will be free of charge to participants.

Parents will be informed that, as testing is performed throughout the year, if parental/guardian consent has not been obtained for a student who has been selected randomly for testing, the student will be moved to the remote learning cohort.

Any staff member who elects not to participate will be placed on unpaid leave.

Students or staff found to have the virus, even in the absence of symptoms, will be quarantined for 14 days. City tracing teams will be dispatched to school immediately to determine potential contacts.

The presence of a COVID-19 case or cases confined to one class will result in the entire class moving to remote instruction; more than one case in a school will mean that the entire school will move to remote instruction until the contact tracing is completed.

Schools will need to switch to 100 percent remote instruction if the percentage of positive tests in New York City are equal to or more than 3% using a 7-day rolling average; however, even if the overall case rates across New York City were to remain low, all school buildings could be closed if there were recurrent, uncontrolled outbreaks in schools of COVID-19.

Any New York City zip code that reports a percentage of positive tests of 3% or higher using a 7-day rolling average will be saturated with additional testing and tracing including, but not limited to, increased testing of individuals in schools, opening new testing sites, door-to-door canvassing and targeted robocalls for at least a 14-day period or until such time as the 7-day rolling average for positive tests is below 3%, whichever period is longer.

All terms in this agreement will be incorporated in an amendment to the city’s re-opening schools plan submitted to the state.


New York State is full of local getaways perfect for single day or weekend trips. Read more about the many staycation options in the state, ranging from half-day trips to overnights and more.

Our Town describes a theatre project that is more of a social impact work.

The Whitney Museum of American Art opened September 3 with the required precautions.

The Brooklyn Museum opens September 12. To get tickets and for more information on exhibits, click here.

The Landmarks Conservancy offers virtual tours of New York City, including landmarks. This week brought a most fascinating and informative tour of the 13 miles of Broadway, from lower Manhattan up to the Harlem River. To see the tour, click link to the recording and the passcode for accessing it: #7$%N41m. The tour is worth every minute. To purchase the just-published book written by the tour giver, click here.

To see what’s on at the Studio Museum, click here.

The American Museum of Natural History will welcome the general public starting Wednesday, September 9, 2020. The museum will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 am - 5:30 pm. Click here to reserve tickets.

The New-York Historical Society will reopen on Friday, September 11, 2020. The museum will be open on Thursday from 11 am – 5 pm (age 65+ and immunocompromised only), Friday: 11 am – 8 pm (6 pm – 8 pm is pay-as-you-wish admission) Saturday – Sunday: 11 am – 5 pm. Click here for more information.


There is a national shortage of poll workers, and New York State needs your help. Poll workers are essential to ensure that the election runs smoothly throughout New York's early voting period and on November 3rd, Election Day. The positions are PAID. To be eligible as a poll worker, you must be a registered voter in New York State.

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]


Get certified if you are a woman or minority business owner. The City spends up to $17 billion per year on goods and services. Getting certified as an M/WBE will help you compete for these opportunities and access exclusive programs to help your small business grow.

100 restaurants were collectively awarded $2.3 million through the Restaurant Revitalization Program to support the economic well-being of their workers and to make their meals accessible to vulnerable New Yorkers. The program supports unemployed and underemployed restaurant workers affected by the pandemic and their employers, with a focus on communities hardest-hit by COVID-19. Over 900 employees will receive critical financial support through the program. Participating restaurants have committed to paying a full minimum wage in addition to tips over the next 3-5 years, promoting race and gender equity, and providing free meals to vulnerable community members, including those who are food insecure, essential workers, or others who are facing challenges in a time of need.

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.

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