BY ASSEMBLYMAN ROBERT CARROL
New York State is now reporting that we have 37,258 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 385 deaths statewide. There are 21,873 cases in New York City alone. This is a 21% increase from yesterday. The case number is expected to continue to increase significantly every day. This virus is putting an unprecedented strain on our health care system. The most important thing that all of us can do to stop the spread of the virus and flatten the curve is to follow the guidance of the Governor and Mayor and stay home.
My office has compiled a resource guide that we will continue to update for the duration of this pandemic. There is a lot of helpful information from state and city agencies as well as some links to local organizations who are serving the public during this difficult time. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to suggest organizations that you would like for my office to include.
Today’s updates and reminders from the Governor:
- New York State on PAUSE: 100% of the workforce must stay home, excluding essential services.
- All non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason are temporarily banned.
- New Yorkers can call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for mental health counseling.
- The state is scouting additional new sites for temporary hospitals, with a goal of having a 1,000-plus patient overflow facility in each New York City borough as well as Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties.
- New York City is piloting closing streets to vehicles and opening them to pedestrians as part of the city’s plan to address the lack of adherence to social distancing protocols.
- 52,000 healthcare workers, including retirees and students, have signed up to volunteer to work as part of the state’s surge healthcare force during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Department of Motor Vehicles offices are temporarily closed for in-office visits. Online transactions, including for license renewals, are still available. License and permit expirations will be extended.
- All non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions until further notice as part of New York State on PAUSE. Bars and restaurants are closed, but takeout can be ordered during the period of closure.
My new bill to help small businesses:
During this COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses would be able to better manage if insurance companies would pay claims based on business interruption insurance.
Insurers are currently not paying claims on business interruption insurance because insurers say they do not cover “viruses” or they have specifically carved out “viruses” from their policies.
This is unconscionable. The American people bailed out insurance companies in 2008 and insurers need to start paying out claims for business interruption.
This is why I’m introducing a bill that would do just that. My bill is modeled after a piece of legislation that was recently introduced in New Jersey and it would make a huge difference for so many restaurants, bars and other small businesses who are suffering right now.
Federal Stimulus Package:
On Wednesday night, the United States Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, a $2 Trillion stimulus package meant to help the millions of Americans who are unable to work or operate their business because of this pandemic. Some highlights of the package include:
- Direct Payments to adults of $1,200 and $500 per child to be sent out in weeks. The amount of the payments phases out based on earnings of between $75,000 and $99,000 ($150,000 / $198,000 for couples).
- Expanded Unemployment Insurance: Includes coverage for workers who are furloughed, gig workers, and freelancers. Increases payments by $600 per week for four months on top of what state unemployment programs pay. You are also eligible to apply if your hours have been cut.
- $10 billion for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for operating costs once a small business or non-profit has applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
- $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.
- $30 billion in emergency education funding and $25 billion in emergency transit funding.
- $30 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to state and local governments, as well as private nonprofits providing critical and essential services.
- Make rent, mortgage and utility costs eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.
For more on the stimulus package, click here.
Free Meals for NYC Schools Students:
Stand Up and Be Counted – Fill out the Census:
For Qualified Health Professionals:
New York needs the help of qualified health professionals and related professionals to supplement our hospital capacity on a temporary basis to treat seriously ill coronavirus patients. Sign Up Here.
Frontline Organizations to Help Right Now:
Meals on Wheels: This organization delivers meals to the elderly population. Many of its local programs are struggling with the additional costs of delivering meals during the outbreak. You can find ways to help a local program here or donate to the national organization here.
NYC organizations: You can donate to several New York City–based food relief organizations that are working to ensure meals are delivered to the city’s elderly population or those who are too sick to cook or shop for food.
- Citymeals is taking donations to ensure “every one of our homebound elderly neighbors in need has nourishing meals during this dangerous outbreak.
- God’s Love We Deliver, a nonsectarian organization that prepares and delivers “nutritious and medically tailored meals” to people living with illnesses, is looking for both volunteers as well as donations to sponsor their emergency meal bags of “shelf-stable food” to their clients.
The American Red Cross: As the number of coronavirus cases increases in the US, the number of people eligible to give blood and platelets for patients in need could decrease further, the Red Cross said. The organization is urging all eligible, healthy donors to donate blood and platelets to help maintain a sufficient blood supply flow and avoid potential shortages. Check the American Association of Blood Banks locator, visit the Red Cross website, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. You can also find information through the America’s Blood Centers website.
Important Phone Numbers and Links:
- Price Gouging hotline: 800-697-1220
- 24-Hour Coronavirus hotline: 1-888-364-3065
- NYS DOH website regarding Coronavirus
- Assistance of Qualified Medical Professionals Survey:
- Retired Health Professional Survey:
- COVID-19 Application For Suspension Of Debt Collection Activity
- For health care providers (PCP’s, FQHC’s, others) to request supplies: Supplyrequest@oem.nyc.gov
- COVID-19 Sick Leave Application
While my district office is closed in the midst of this pandemic, my office is operating virtually. Please continue to call (718) 788 -7221 or email email@example.com and I or a member of my staff will get back to you as soon as possible. I am also posting updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for those of you on social media. You can also reach me there.
Stay home and be safe,