Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates December 14th

December 14th, 2020



Sandra Lindsay, a frontline ICU nurse and New Yorker, became the first American to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in a non-trial setting. Sandra received the vaccination at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens.

Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo have now confirmed another full shutdown of the city is likely, given the rising cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. They’re encouraging everyone who can, to prepare to work remotely.

Starting Monday, December 14th, Indoor Dining Closed for the Foreseeable Future in NYC. Governor Cuomo announced on Friday that in order to help control spread of the virus, restaurants may not provide indoor dining in NYC starting today, Monday 12/14. Restaurants may continue to be open for outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery. This decision was made based on recent CDC guidance, population density in NYC, and the trend of increasing hospitalizations. This suspension will continue to be re-evaluated based on updated data over the coming weeks.  As we have mentioned before, our community can support our local restaurants and restaurant workers by ordering delivery directly from establishments, instead of using delivery services, and by tipping as generously as possible.

COVID-19 Resource Guide As a result of the pandemic, so many individuals, families, and small business owners are facing unemployment, food insecurity, housing, health care, legal, and other challenges. In response, Liz Krueger's office has compiled a COVID-19 Resource Guide to help you find a variety of resources to help address these and other issues. This Resource Guide will be updated periodically, so please check back for updates.

Tuesday, December 15th is the Deadline to Enroll in a NYS Marketplace Health Insurance Plan for Coverage to Start January 1, 2021. If you are going to purchase a health insurance plan from the NYS Marketplace, tomorrow is the deadline to do so in order for coverage to commence on January 1, 2021. If you have questions about which plan is right for you, how to enroll, or about Marketplace subsidies, you can call the Community Service Society (CSS) at 888-614-5400. CSS provides navigator services over the phone during the COVID-19 pandemic. Open enrollment in NYS continues through January 31. Please make sure you get covered at

Significant Snowfall Forecast for Wednesday, December 16th into Thursday, December 17th. At this time, a nor’easter is forecast for NYC on Wednesday, December 16. Channel 4 reports there could be up to a foot of snow, as well as wind gusts of up to 60 mph, which increases the risk of power outages. There is also the possibility of coastal flooding. Please monitor weather updates in the coming days and take appropriate safety precautions. Follow the NYC Severe Weather web page for additional information as it is made available:

The NYC Dept. of Sanitation has released snow guidelines for Open Restaurants.

DSNY Issues ‘Snow Alert’ for Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 2 p.m. Roadway Dining is Suspended for the Duration of the Snow Alert for the Safety of Patrons. Alternate Side Parking Suspended for Wednesday and Thursday. Roadway dining during this Snow Alert MUST CLOSE by 2pm on Wednesday, December 16.  The City will notify restaurants when they could reopen roadway seating for outdoor dining. Based on the current forecast, the City estimates that this Snow Alert will be over on Thursday evening, allowing restaurants to reopen, but this may change to the morning of Friday, December 18 based on actual accumulations and roadway conditions. At this time, the City is not asking that restaurants remove any barriers or structures for roadway dining.

Guidance for Open Restaurants During this Snow Alert:

  • Diners may not sit in roadway setups. Restaurants should remove or secure any tables and chairs in the roadway.
  • All electrical heaters in roadway must be removed.
  • If possible, restaurants should remove any overhead coverings, or regularly remove the snow from overhead coverings until the snow alert ends.

Governor Cuomo explained the new policy about hospital capacity given the surge. In order to manage hospital capacity during this expected surge, New York State will begin implementing our "surge and flex" protocol. As part of this strategy, all hospitals must begin expanding their bed capacity by 25 percent. Hospital systems must also balance patient loads within their system to make sure no one hospital is overstressed. (In Spring, there was an issue with individual hospital overload, but not system-wide overload.)

New York State is calling on all retired doctors and nurses to return to service if they are able to do so. Hospitals were previously asked to identify retired staff as part of New York's COVID Winter Plan in order to help avoid or mitigate any potential staffing shortage. The State will automatically renew registrations at no cost to help streamline the process.

Regions that reach "critical hospital capacity" will be designated as a Red Zone under New York's micro-cluster strategy. Critical hospital capacity is defined as 90 percent of hospital capacity (in other words, 90 percent full). Following the implementation of the State's "surge and flex" protocol, if a region's 7-day average hospitalization growth rate shows that the region will reach 90 percent hospital capacity within the next three weeks, the region will become a Red Zone.

Driver's license expiration dates have been pushed back to January 1, 2021. If you have a New York State Driver's License or permit with an expiration date after March 1, 2020, it is still valid until January 1, 2021. This extended an Executive Order that granted people whose licenses expired during the pandemic more time to renew.

New York's independent COVID-19 Clinical Advisory Task Force unanimously approved the FDA vaccine panel's decision to recommend the Pfizer vaccine. The Task Force, which is chaired by Nobel laureate Dr. Charles Rice, was able to review data on the vaccine concurrently with the FDA, allowing for a thorough review for New Yorkers, and giving more basis for confidence in the vaccine. New York was expected to receive an initial allocation of 170,000 doses as soon as this past weekend. As part of the distribution, the State will set up 90 cold storage sites as regional distribution centers that are capable of cold storage at the required temperature.

As outlined in New York's vaccination program, high-risk health care workers, nursing home residents and staff will be the first New Yorkers to receive the vaccine. "High-risk" hospital workers include emergency room workers, ICU staff and pulmonary department staff. The State expects all "high-risk" hospital staff will receive a vaccine by the end of week two. Other long-term and congregate care staff and residents and EMS and other health care workers will follow high-risk health care workers. Essential workers and the general population, starting with those who at the highest risk, will be vaccinated after these initial priority groups.

The CDC has agreed to remove requirements on vaccine reporting data that could have been used to identify immigration status. This means that New York will not send any personally identifying information to the federal government in vaccine distribution—ensuring that no one feels dissuaded from getting vaccinated due to immigration status.

The New York National Guard will participate in a vaccine pilot program. The NY National Guard has been selected by the Department of Defense as one of the 16 pilot programs across the nation to be part of the limited distribution of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to military personnel. Members of the New York Army and Air National Guard who serve as part of the State's COVID response efforts will be eligible for the vaccine.

To protect hospital capacity, New York will implement new metrics to determine micro-cluster zones. Under these updated metrics, Red, Orange and Yellow Zones will now be determined as follows: A Red Zone will be implemented when a region reaches a critical hospital capacity—that is, when 90 percent of beds are full (after measures to increase capacity have been taken). An Orange Zone will be implemented if an area has a 4 percent positivity rate over the past 10 days (on a 7-day average) and is located in a region that has reached 85 percent hospital capacity. A Yellow Zone will be implemented if an area has a 3 percent positivity rate over the past 10 days (on a 7-day average) and is in the top 10 percent in the state for hospital admissions per capita over the past week and is experiencing week-over-week growth in daily admissions.

The State Department of Health is directing New York hospitals to take additional steps to help keep capacity below 85 percent. Under the directive, hospitals must either add additional capacity, reduce elective surgeries, or a combination of both, in order to remain under 85 percent. This measure expands on the previously announced "Surge and Flex" protocol.

Healthcare workers can text NYFRONTLINE to 741-741 to access 24/7 emotional support services.

All New Yorkers can call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for mental health counseling.

When you're indoors with people outside of your household, remember to wear a mask. Contact tracing data shows that 74 percent of COVID cases where the cause is known can be traced to small gatherings and the household. The CDC is urging—as are we—that you wear a mask indoors whenever you are with people that you don't live with, in both public and private settings.

Clients who receive GetFoodNYC home delivery meals can now re-enroll on the day before their last delivery day to help prevent a gap in deliveries. In the urgent scenario where a client has no food, the GetFood team can arrange a triage delivery-- contact [email protected].

To help the arts community recover, last week the City Council passed Int 2068 to create an “Open Culture” program, which would allow arts and cultural organizations to use outdoor space for events from March through October of 2021. The bill was paired with Int. 2034, which now requires the City to create a website with information on open spaces for art and cultural programming.

The 2021 schedules for NYPD Community Precinct Council meetings are available here; and 2021’s alternate side parking calendar (PDF) has been released.

Tuesday (12/15) at 3:30 pm, the virtual event “You, Me & COVID: Brainstorming Research Ideas Together” explores COVID-specific research topics important to local communities and provides community-based research training, hosted by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Click the title to register.

Tuesday (12/15) at 6:30 pm, virtual panel Effects of COVID on Senior Mental Health” is hosted by Community Board 8 (covering the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island) and Community Board 11 (covering East Harlem). Register here.

Articles recommended by Borough President Gale Brewer.

Tuesday (12/15) at 2:30 pm, Housing Court Answers, a tenants’ rights nonprofit, hosts a Zoom on the housing rights of undocumented immigrants. Register here.

Thursday (12/17) at 3 pm, COVID-19 Contact Tracing Webinar” answers questions about the NYC Test and Trace Corps. Click the title to register.

Thursday (12/17) at 8:30 am, join the Manhattan Borough Board’s monthly charter-mandated convening of the Borough President and all of Manhattan’s Council Members and Community Board Chairs. Register here.


The city’s Department of Education announced that applications opened today (12/10) for children applying for a kindergarten seat next fall; the deadline to submit applications is January 19, 2021. Parents should check the DOE websitefor further information and sign up for update emails at

There’s still no word on middle and high schools admissions deadlines, and also no updates on the specialized high school admissions tests, which were originally scheduled for October 21.


A gift of gratitude for Mt. Sinai’s nurses. Click here to read the story.

Check out an article on the Young People’s Chorus, click here.

Tomorrow Tuesday (12/15) at 11 am, virtual art seminar “Meaning and Metaphor in the Statue of Liberty” is hosted by the Madison Square Park Conservancy. Click the title to register.

Tomorrow Tuesday (12/15) at 4 pm, Luis A. Miranda Jr. speaks about his life and the recent documentary “Siempre, Luis” during the Hunter@Home series. Register here.

Thursday (12/17) at 6 pm, compete in a virtual “Holiday Trivia Night” with Bloomingdale School of Music. Register here.

Thursday (12/17) at 6 pm, “The Coast of Utopia” cast and playwright reunite for a virtual roundtable about their experience working on the 2006 Lincoln Center production. Register here.

Thursday (12/17) at 6 pm, the Police Athletic League launches its “Sports Vault Series,” a sports documentary-watching and discussion group for kids, which offers a $50 gift card for each session attended. Click the title to register.

Apply now to join your Community Board, the most grassroots form of local government. The Boards are pivotal in shaping their communities and work to enhance and preserve the character of the city’s many unique neighborhoods. Applications close Monday, 2/1/2021.


Thursday (12/17) at 11 am, SBS hosts Business Finance 1: Getting Started,” teaching the fundamentals of business financial management.

Tomorrow Tuesday (12/15) at 1 pm, a Hospitality Town “Call” features a Q&A for hospitality industry staff with reps from the NYC Dept. of Health, Test & Trace, Dept. of Consumer and Worker Protection, Street Activity Permit Office, and the Freelancers Union. They will offer COVID updates and City resources. Click the title to register.

Applications are now open for the Cultural Arts Capital Loan Fund from the Fund for the City of New York. This loan initiative provides bridge financing to assist small and mid-sized nonprofit cultural arts organizations with their capital project expenses, with a priority to groups that have capital grants from the Borough President, City of New York and the Department of Cultural Affairs. BIPOC-led organizations are strongly encouraged to apply. Fill out this inquiry form to start an application.

Stonehenge NYC has opened applications for “Still Standing Artist Residencies,” an initiative they’ve begun in response to the pandemic, which provides free housing to 20 creative artists for one year. Applications close on January 10, 2021-- submission and residency details can be found on the Stonehenge NYC website. Recipients will live rent-free in a Stonehenge one-bedroom apartment, in exchange for commissions of their work, beginning in March 2021.

Wednesday (12/16) at 4 pm, virtual forum “Political savants handicap the city-wide elections” discusses how the 2021 city’s elections will shape up and the impact on city businesses, hosted by Crain’s New York Business. Click the title to register.

Governor Cuomo will sign an Executive Order extending the State's moratorium on commercial evictions. This moratorium will provide support to small businesses and other tenants during these difficult times.

All in NYC: Bookstores promotes shopping at independent booksellers. Rediscover your favorite bookstore and find special offers through the All in NYC: Neighborhood Getaways program at website is a good source of information and offers.

Eligible storefront businesses can apply for an interest-free NYC LMI Storefront Loan of up to $100,000, from the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services and Pursuit.

The Interest Rate Reduction Grant reduces the interest expense owed on an existing business loan with select Community Development Financial Institutions. Click here to find participating CDFIs and more information.

Artists are invited to apply for the Experimental Projects Residency Program from Alfred University’s Institute for Electronic Arts. Apply here.

Applications for HEAP can be accessed by calling 212-331-3126 or visiting the ACCESS HRA website for instructions here. HEAP applications are available for download here.

Learn new job skills and earn certificates to advance your career through 4,000 free online courses offered by the state Dept. of Labor and Coursera, such as “How to Manage a Remote Team” and “Entrepreneurship.” View the course catalog.

The DSNY has issued the below information about restaurant outdoor dining and snow. For more information, click here.

The City’s new Open Storefronts program will now allow storefront businesses to operate directly outside their store from Friday, 10/30 through Wednesday, 12/31. Read the FAQ for eligibility and operating guidelines, and apply here.

Open Restaurants that use outdoor heating must follow newly released guidance from the Dept. of Buildings and the FDNY for electricnatural gas and propane heaters. Open Restaurants are subject to new regulations pertaining to roadway barriers, snow and dining enclosures, per the Dept. of Transportation.

If you are a New York City renter at risk of eviction, you may be eligible for free legal assistance. For more information, please contact the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants or the City Tenant Helpline by calling 311, or visit the New York City Tenant Resource Portal by clicking here. You may also seek help through the Legal Aid Society by calling (212) 577-3300 or by clicking here for more information.

NYC Department of Social Services/Human Resources Administration (DSS/HRA): For updated information on COVID-19 and changes to social services benefits, including SNAP food assistance, cash assistance, and burial assistance, please refer to DSS/HRA’s Important information about COVID-19 and your HRA benefits.

Apply now to earn up to $22.50 an hour removing snow and ice as a snow laborer with the Dept. of Sanitation. You must be 18 or older and eligible to work in the U.S.

Small business owners can check if they are eligible for New York State support programs or incentives. There are a number of business incentives that small business owners may be able to take advantage of. To get started, simply answer questions about your business and New York's Business Express Incentive Wizard will provide a list of New York State programs and services that could help your business get off the ground.

Free financial counseling is available by phone through the NYC Dept. of Consumer and Worker Protection. Book an appointment online or by calling 311.

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

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

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.


Order directly from restaurants, not from delivery apps. See why the New York Times.

Businesses and organizations can donate extra food and supplies to local organizations that can then redistribute them. Details about eligible donors and recipients can be found online: For food donations visit; for non-food donations, visit

Community and advocacy group Open Doors’ campaign to protect nursing home residents and workers from COVID is holding a holiday mask drive for Roosevelt Island’s chronic care facility, Coler Specialty Hospital.

Tomorrow Tuesday (12/15) is the last day to donate holiday gifts to The Sled, which is unique in that donors can select specific gifts that will go to specific children-- so far, we’ve secured gifts for 1,000 of the 1,300 children, so we need 300 more Manhattanites to help.

New York's annual holiday toy, coat and school supply drive has begunThis year has been difficult for more families than any time in recent memory. The holiday donation drive will benefit families in need across the state and runs through December 16th. Drop-off locations are set up around the State and COVID-19 protocols will be in place to ensure the safety of those dropping off donations. Participating in the drive will help make someone else's holiday brighter.

The Alliance for Positive Change’s Holiday Gift Drive” is accepting donations of children’s toys, warm clothes, toiletries and food to support low-income people living with chronic illnesses. Donations can be dropped off or shipped to Alliance Midtown Central, 64 W. 35th St.

WARM’s holiday toy drive runs through Friday, 12/18. Drop off toys at WeWork Harlem (8 W. 126th St., 3rd floor) Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm.

Find a coat drive drop-off location through this New York Cares map.

Borrow free equipment for community clean-ups from the Dept. of Sanitation by calling 311, emailing [email protected] or submitting this form.

Donate holiday gifts to clients of Services for the Underserved. Learn more here or by emailing Minjung Park, volunteer and community relations manager.

Join the Census 2020 Current Survey team and contribute to your community! The Census Bureau is hiring field reps. around the TOWN/STATE area.  To apply, please email: or call 212-584-3495. For more info visit:

If you get a call from NYS Contact Tracing, pick up. Contact tracers are working around the clock to trace clusters and inform people who have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID. How can you help? Simply by picking up the phone. If your caller ID says "NYS Contact Tracing," pick up and help New York stop the spread. (Tracers will never ask for your Social Security Number or financial information; if someone does, they are not an official tracer and you should hang up.)

Religious facilities can share their space with dancers looking for rehearsal space, a project of Partners for Sacred Places. NYC Dance in Sacred Places can be a mutually beneficial opportunity for artists struggling to find affordable studios and sacred places seeking to share space with the community.

Get a flu shot. Find pharmacies and clinics offering flu shots through the NYC Health Map. You can sort for free shots and for locations covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

Give your friends a call. Check in with your family. Ask them how everything is going and how they are feeling. Let's show each other some love because mental health is just as important as physical health. New Yorkers can also call the State's mental health hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for free emotional support, consultations & referrals to a provider.

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.

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.

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 Center, 415 E. 93 St., needs help supporting their older adult clients through meals and case management services. Interested in volunteering? Contact


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:


Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Past Updates from CB8