Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates October 9th

October 9th, 2020

OCTOBER 9th RESOURCES AND UPDATES:

 

New York State is taking determined action to head off the spread of COVID-19 through and from the hot spots in areas in and around New York City. Governor Cuomo outlined a plan, categorizing areas in, adjacent to, and outlying the hotspots as red, orange and yellow and has devised a chart outlining the specific actions to be taken. The State is working with health experts from around the country. The actions will begin Friday, continuing for 14 days.

The deadline to register to vote is midnight tonight, October 9. If you're not sure you are registered, you can look it up here. If you already registered, take a moment to make sure any younger relatives or friends are aware of the deadline. New Yorkers can register online here if they have a valid form of NYS-issued ID, or by mailing a voter registration form to their local Board of Elections. Learn more.

New Mexico has been added to the State's COVID-19 Travel Advisory. No states or territories have been removed. See the full list here.

Vehicle inspection and registration expiration dates have been extended until November 3rd. Yesterday, I signed an Executive Order that extends the expiration dates of annual vehicle checks, registrations and driver's licenses that would have lapsed during the pandemic.

Fines for sponsors of illicit mass gatherings will be increased to $15,000. We know that large gatherings are one of the primary ways that the virus spreads. It is up to local governments to enforce compliance. Fines have been increased to reflect the danger these gatherings pose.

Any New Yorker who wants a COVID test can get tested. If you are experiencing COVID symptoms or believe you may have been exposed to someone positive for COVID, get tested. Find a testing site near you.

A Mt. Sinai doctor writes in Our Town about the long-term effects of COVID-19 that some infected patients suffer.

Governor Cuomo has appointed Nobel Prize winner Dr. Charles Rice of The Rockefeller University to co-chair New York’s Clinical Advisory Task Force to advise on COVID-19 vaccines.

Thirty-three schools are closing because they are within COVID-19 cluster zones, in addition to the over 90 schools closed earlier in the week.

To read about a New York Academy of Medicine report on a partnership to improve health equity in the South Bronx, click here.

Gothamist published “A Guide To Better Understanding New York City’s COVID-19 Data,” which clarifies and explains the differences among data-gathering methods, neighborhood breakdowns and how the data can affect our reopening.

New York State’s testing efforts allow it to narrow hot spot areas down to the range of a block. As part of our Cluster Action Initiative, there are new restrictions in six clusters in the State to stop the spread from these clusters and protect our progress in the fight against COVID-19. Look up your address to see if you live in a COVID-19 Hot Spot Zone and take precautions as always.

The Governor objected to using ZIP codes as boundaries for hot spots, so check Notify NYC’s interactive COVID-19 Zone Finder to find out if you have friends, relatives, businesses or other interests in a Brooklyn or Queens orange or yellow zone and what restrictions apply there.

Borough President Gale Brewer’s newsletter refers to a group of scientists who believe that the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are too slow in recognizing the role of aerosol transmission have written up a Google Doc of advice for the public: FAQs on Protecting Yourself from COVID-19 Aerosol Transmission.

Food scrap drop-off locations have reopened at:

Senior citizens can get tech help from Older Adults Technology Services, Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm at (920) 666-1959.

Use this new Freedom of Information Law form to obtain records from the NYS Division of Homes and Community Renewal.

Gracie Square Hospital is providing free Naloxone training over Zoom. Email [email protected] to book a training.

Listen to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 1973 talk at the 92nd St. Y on women and the law.

Listen to the Time 100 Talk with Lin-Manuel Miranda and his father, Luis.

Wednesday (10/14) at 6:30 pm, the Dept. of Design and Construction hosts a virtual Design Input and Review Session for the Manhattan Detention Center. Join the Zoom here.

Next Thursday (10/15) at 8:30 am is the Manhattan Borough Board’s monthly charter-mandated convening of the Borough President and all of Manhattan’s Council Members and Community Board Chairs. This meeting is open to the public, and Afraz Khan, an Institute for Social Policy and Understanding educator, will present data on American Muslims; register here.

Next Thursday (10/15) at 6:30 pm, Borough President Gale Brewer will speak  at Goddard Riverside’s “Social Justice Never Sleeps” series. Register here.

Next Thursday (10/15) at 6:45 pm,Borough President Gale Brewer will be honored at Community Impact’s Sharing our Stories Benefit. Register here.

Today, New York is building on our nation-leading testing program by deploying an initial 400,000 rapid result test kits in every corner of the state. These rapid test kits — that take 15 minutes to get a result and do not require sending a specimen to a lab — will be available to every county in New York State, including to local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies and other health care providers. The rapid tests can be used to control new outbreaks, conduct surveillance testing and help schools in "yellow zones" test students and staff, one of the new requirements of the Cluster Action Initiative to monitor COVID-19 spread. These rapid test kids will assist health care institutions throughout the state to quickly spot outbreaks and keep families and communities safe. Rapid testing is one tool in our battle with this virus. As always it must be used in combination with mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing. Together, using all tools, we can stop the spread.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 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.

Education/Parenting

Get free homework help from licensed teachers through the United Federation of Teachers by calling 212-777-3380 or visiting the Dial-A-Teacher website, Mondays through Thursdays, 4 - 7 p.m. Help is available in Armenian, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Tagalog.

THE POINT offers free virtual after-school programs for 1st - 8th graders. Contact [email protected] to register.

Apply now for City Parks Foundation’s two virtual after-school programs for middle schoolers, “Green Girls” and “Coastal Classroom.”

High schoolers, especially in East Harlem, can apply for HS Support, a tutoring program through Children’s Aid-Milbank Center.

Saturdays through 11/21 at 9:30 am, FamilyKind offers a free parenting class for parents of children ages 3-13.

Monday (10/12) at 4 pm, Discover at Home hosts a virtual interactive science laboratory session with students in grades 3-5. Register here.

This year, "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF" will be held virtually. UNICEF's iconic trick-or-treating collection box has been a cherished part of Halloween festivities for 70 years. This year, parents and teachers can participate in UNICEF's event through a virtual collection box. Children around the U.S. can enjoy Halloween-themed events and earn virtual coins that add up to real-life earnings, which can be donated to wherever kids would like to see them, allowing kids to see for themselves the positive impact they're having on children around the world. Learn more here.

Entertainment/Distractions

For information on the Chelsea Film Festival, running from October 15-19, including passes, click here.

To register for [email protected]’s next event, a discussion  between  debut author, Phil Klay and writer Matt Gallagher about Klay’s book, Missionaries, click here.

To read about the violins in the Violins of Hope collection, many of which have Holocaust history,  quarantined under a Los Angeles stage, click here. There are plenty of other interesting stories and events at Atlas Obscura.

For information about Conversations on Culture: Race, Myth, Art = Justice through the Caribbean Cultural African Diaspora Initiative, click here.

For information on the New York City Ballet’s digital fall season, click here.

For information about, and to buy tickets for, Ballet Breaks, NYC Ballet’s online ballet classes for the family, click here.

For a virtual trip to the Wolfson Gallery at Florida International University, including a view of 1930’s prints of the Scottsboro trial and a video of 1930’s Hollywood, click here.

For a look at a New York event held by artists and creatives to get out the vote, click here.

For a report on John Oliver’s art collection and his bid to lend it to a small town museum, click here.

For an article on why 500,000 sharks could be killed in the work on a COVID-19 vaccine, see the Smithsonian Magazine.

Visit new murals depicting the story of the Latinx diaspora in New York City at the Plaza de las Americas, outside of the United Palace on W. 175th St. The murals are up for the next two weeks.

Reserve free tickets now for Atlantic Theater Company’s fall Reunion Reading Series, featuring plays “Skeleton Crew” and “Guards at the Taj.”

Register now for Concerts in Motion’s 10/28 fall virtual salon, featuring a performance by the Emeril String Quartet.

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

Monday (10/12) and Wednesday (10/14) at 6 pm, the Skyscraper Museum continues its “Rewriting Skyscraper History” series with paired talks “Business Buildings: Thinking About Corporate vs. Commercial Skyscrapers.” Click the title to register.

Tuesday (10/13) and Wednesday (10/14) at 10 am, the 92nd St. Y and Hundred Stories host the 4th annual “City of Tomorrow” summit. Click the title to register.

Tuesday (10/13) at 5 pm, City Parks Foundation’s Summerstage Anywhere series hosts a virtual concert featuring Rodrigo y Gabriela and The Mavericks.

A positive note for whales and the waters around New York City. New York is becoming a food destination for young humpback whales. According to Gotham Whale, a NY-based whale research organization, young humpback whales appear to be coming to New York to chow down on Atlantic menhaden — one of the most important fish in the sea. Researchers believe that cleaner waters and increased conservation efforts have led to an increase in the fish population and hungry whales are following.

Election 2020 Resources

Some New Yorkers have received an absentee ballot with a misprint that reads “Official Absentee Military Ballot” instead of “Absentee/Military Ballot." The ballots are VALID and can be used.

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. Our Town covers early voting as an important option, click here.

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.

How to Complete Your Absentee Ballot

  1. Carefully read and follow the instructions printed on the ballot and the ballot envelopes.
  2. Mark your votes on your ballot using a pen with black or blue ink - please make sure not to make any stray marks, as this could interfere with the scanner properly reading the votes marked on your ballot.
  3. Fold the ballot and put it in the smaller envelope provided by the Board of Elections
  4. Sign and date the back of the envelope - you will see a red X that marks where to sign your name, and there is a line directly below to write the date.
  5. Seal the envelope - there is an adhesive on the envelope for sealing - do not use tape or glue to seal the envelope
  6. Put the smaller envelope in the larger envelope provided by the Board of Elections, which is addressed to the Manhattan Board of Elections Office.

Please Note: if you have not followed all of these steps, your absentee ballot will not be counted.

Options For How to Submit Your Absentee Ballot

1. Mail Your Ballot

  • One stamp is sufficient to mail your ballot to the Manhattan Board of Elections Office. However, if you are concerned about your ballot being delivered, you can use two stamps
  • Ballots that are postmarked by Election Day will be counted if they are received by the NYC Board of Elections no more than 7 days after Election Day. However, if your absentee ballot is not postmarked, it must be received by the Board by the day after Election Day in order to be counted. Since there is no way for you to know whether the Post Office will actually postmark your ballot, and due to strong concerns about delays in mail being delivered, I urge you to mail in your absentee ballot as far in advance of Election Day as possible.

2. Deposit Your Ballot at a Poll Site Absentee Ballot Collection Box

  • There will be an absentee ballot collection box at every Early Voting and Election Day Poll Site.
  • You may deposit your completed absentee ballot at any Early Voting or Election Day Poll Site in New York City, however, it is best and preferred that the Poll Site be in Manhattan. If you deposit your absentee ballot at a Poll Site that is outside of the five boroughs, it will not be counted.

Please Note: You can deposit your completed absentee ballot at a poll site collection box personally, or a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member can do so for you.

3. Deposit Your Ballot at the NYC Board of Elections Office

  • You or a trusted individual can take your completed absentee ballot and deposit it at the Manhattan Board of Elections Office at 200 Varick Street, 10 Fl, New York, NY 10014 through Election Day at 9:00 p.m.
  • We will provide more information about Board of Elections office hours as details become available.

If there is a problem with your absentee ballot, you can contact the NYC Board of Elections office:

  • By email at [email protected],
  • By phone at 1-866-868-3692, or
  • On Twitter, send a direct message to the NYC Board of Elections (Twitter handle @BOENYC)

For those absentee voters who are skittish about even entering an early-voting poll site to drop their ballots in the drop boxes there, there’s a solution. Invisible Hands, a nonpartisan volunteer group that’s done amazing work running errands for the homebound, will pick up sealed absentee ballots from seniors and deposit them in the drop boxes at early voting sites.  Homebound seniors (or whoever) can request a volunteer to pick up their ballot here. And if you’d like to volunteer for Invisible Hands to do ballot runs, complete the volunteer form here.

WAYS YOU CAN HELP

Complete your Census! 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 (10/13) from noon - 5 pm, Council Speaker Corey Johnson hosts a Donation Drive for our Unhoused Neighbors, accepting new clothes, toiletries, school supplies and baby items at 224 W. 30th St., Suite #1206.

The pandemic has caused declines in organ donations. With so many people awaiting lifesaving organ transplants, Governor Cuomo urges New Yorkers to become organ donors and join the NYS Donate Life Registry.

Apply to become a member of the NYC Community Emergency Response Teamwhich assists first responders with community preparedness and disaster support. Apply here.

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: http://nyc.gov/flu

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 nybc.org 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 https://supportlocal.usatoday.com/cities/

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]

FINANCIAL AND LOCAL BUSINESSES UPDATES

Governor Cuomo pushed the city’s property tax lien sale back another month until at least 11/3, giving property owners more time to come up with funds to pay their overdue taxes before they’re sold off to collectors. As of last month, more than 7,000 properties had liens, according to City data. The number is expected to decrease with each postponement as property owners have more time to come up with their payments.

Robin Hood’s COVID-19 Relief Fund is now accepting grant applications for nonprofits that provide frontline support to vulnerable populations.

Research organization Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation is offering free consultations to nonprofits and public agencies to help adapt programs to better serve constituents during the pandemic.

The NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development put out a Request for Expression of Interest for nonprofits to assist tenants with the affordable housing process. Apply by next Friday (10/16).

Tuesday (10/13) at 2 pm, small business owners are invited by Pace University’s Small Business Development Center to a webinar titled “Integrating the Value of Sustainability into a Small Business Model.” Click the title to register.

Our Town looks at the struggles of the beloved specialty bookstore Kitchen Arts and Letters on Lexington who launched a GoFundMe account. Read it here.

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

Heating

  • 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

Tents

  • 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

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.

LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS' TELE-TOWN HALLS

Senator Krueger's Virtual Senior Resource Fair

ARTS AND CULTURE
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

EXERCISE AND MEDITATION
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

JOB HUNTING
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 www.tinyurl.com/seniorfair2020.

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 nyc.gov/health/coronavirus 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:

CENSUS 2020

Fill out your Census at My2020Census.gov OR by phone in these languages:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Past Updates from CB8