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District 4

Keith Powers

Upper East Side, Carnegie Hill, Yorkville, Central Park South, Midtown East, Times Square, Koreatown, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, Waterside Plaza, Tudor City, Turtle Bay, Murray Hill, Sutton Place

New Yorkers: Please find information, updates, and resources regarding the evolving situation with COVID-19. Whether you are a business owner, tenant paying rent, or a constituent with a request, we are here to help. Please reach out to our office at kpowers@council.nyc.gov with any further questions.

Empower Hour: Over the past several months, my office and engaged volunteers have called nearly 10,000 neighbors throughout the district to check in, which is incredibly important in times of isolation. Together, we helped fellow New Yorkers to see what they need, make a connection, and brighten their day. Thank you for your support!

Watch: Town Hall with DOE on School Reopening
Watch: Town Hall with Speaker Corey Johnson
Watch: Council Member Powers, NYC SBS, and U.S. SBA Small Business Town Hall

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Guidance 
Testing Information and Locations
Small Business and Impacted Worker Resources
Housing Resources
Neighborhood Issues and 311
Food Access
How New Yorkers Can Help: Volunteering and Healthcare Provisions
Staying Busy – and Having Fun – at Home

COVID-19 Guidance 

For the latest data and updates, please visit nyc.gov/coronavirus
COVID-19 cases by zip code: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data.page

Mandates and Guidance

Reopening New York City

Phase 1: Began June 8

  • Construction
  • Retail, limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off
  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting
  • Wholesale trade

Guidance for businesses restarting in this phase can be found here

Phase 2: Began June 22

  • Hair salons and barbershops, adhering to guidelines
  • Outdoor dining, at limited capacity
  • Houses of worship, at limited capacity
  • Offices, at limited capacity

Phase 3: Began July 6

  • Dine-in service at restaurants and hotels, at limited capacity [POSTPONED]
  • Personal care, including nail salons, at limited capacity

Additionally, dog runs, basketball courts, handball, bocce, and volleyball courts are slated to open on the 6.

Phase 4: Began July 20

  • Zoos
  • Botanical Gardens
  • TV and Movie Production
  • Sports without Fans

You can find further resources and updated information on NY Forward’s website.

Following Phase 4, on Monday, August 24, gyms were permitted to open at limited capacity, as well as cultural institutions, aquariums, and museums.

On September 30, indoor dining is set to reopen in New York City.

Below is guidance from Small Business Services:
Establishments will be subject to rigorous inspection protocols and strict occupancy limits. Some requirements for restaurants include: 

  • Serve customers at a maximum of 25% capacity 
  • Conduct temperature checks at every front door 
  • Collect Test & Trace data from at least one customer at each table 
  • Close bar tops for seating 
  • Offer COVID-19 protections like PPE for employees 
  • Space tables six feet apart 

If New York City hits 2% in COVID-19 positivity rates, the City will immediately reassess. 

Once indoor dining begins, the public will be able to call 833-208-4160 to make a report or text VIOLATION to 855-904-5036.  

Testing Information and Locations

The City is working to expand its COVID-19 testing capacity and capabilities. As of June 2, City health officials are recommending that all New Yorkers are tested for COVID-19, regardless of symptoms.

Testing sites can be found at nyc.gov/CovidTest.

The City has also partnered with CityMD on diagnostic testing throughout the five boroughs. Please call in advance to confirm test availability.

Face Coverings: On May 2, the City began distributing free face coverings in parks across NYC. Distribution and sites will increase over the coming weeks. My office has been offering face coverings at various giveaways across the city.

People with disabilities and seniors who need masks but are unable to go out can request face coverings by emailing: PPERequest@mopd.nyc.gov or use the form from the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

Face coverings are also available at DOE Grab & Go meal sites.

For more information, visit nyc.gov/facecoverings.

Public Health

On April 20, Mayor de Blasio announced that all permitted, non-essential events for June would be postponed, including the Pride Parade and Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Governor Cuomo will issue an executive order for Saturday, April 18, requiring face coverings and masks outside at all times when not social distancing, such as on a busy street, public transit, in a grocery store, and so on.

On April 14, Mayor de Blasio announced advancements in testing: New York City will be receiving 50,000 testing kits from Indiana and purchasing 50,000 per week starting April 20. The city is also building a new supply chain to produce up to 50K tests per week in NYC starting in May. This will be a total of 100K tests per week by May.

On April 2, Mayor Bill de Blasio released new guidance regarding face coverings. When out in public, cover your nose and mouth to reduce the risk of transmission; the covering can be a scarf, bandana, or other face cloth of some kind. This does not replace social distancing. Surgical and N95 masks should continue to be preserved for healthcare workers and first responders. City Hall released an FAQ with more information.

Education
Reopening Details
Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza announced preliminary plans for reopening schools in September. The plans are a blended learning model that combines in-person and remote learning, or the ability to opt-in to full time remote learning. Learning will take place 5 days a week, with various programming models—or schedules— to ensure consistency and safety. Students will be assigned to a programming group by their schools’ principal and principals’ teams. Per the Department of Education, principals will have at least one parent meeting in advance of selecting a program model to inform parents of selection and allow for input before final decision is made.

Highlights include:

Ways to Learn

  • Blended cohort learning: classroom and remote learning based on a programming model schedule
  • Fully remote: able to opt-in to classroom learning at various points throughout school year

Classroom Protocols: Schools aiming to education at least 33% of students in-person

  • In-person classes limited to 1-3 days a week
  • No more than 12 students per classroom

Health and Safety

  • Social distancing to be maintained
  • Requirements for face coverings when inside buildings
  • Strict sanitation protocols and designated isolation rooms.

These plans will be solidified in August and are informed by more than 450,000 parents and students who responded to the DOE’s Back to School survey. My office is working to organize a public meeting with the Department of Education to address questions.

Helpful links:
Return to School 2020: https://www.schools.nyc.gov/school-year-20-21/return-to-school-2020
Programming models: https://cdn-blob-prd.azureedge.net/prd-pws/docs/default-source/default-document-library/school-buildings-reopening-principal-meeting-07072020-for-posting.pdf

Public School Closures
On April 11, Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza announced that New York City public school buildings would remain closed for the remainder of the school year, reopening in September. Remote learning will continue for the 2019-2020 school year. Read more from the Department of Education. Schools will remain closed state-wide through the end of the academic year.

Grading Policy
On April 28, the Mayor and Chancellor Carranza announced a new policy for grading, outlined as follows:

K-5: Students receive final grades of either “Meets Standards” (MT) or “Needs Improvement” (N).

6-8: Same as K-5, but can also be scored via “course in progress” based on mastering of course

High School: Your school’s existing grading scale applies, but no failing grade will be issued. A “Course in Progress” (NX) will be issued instead. After final grades have been issued, students and families have the option to convert any or all passing Spring Semester 2020 final grades to pass (CR will be the symbol used in this case). Any CR grade will not be factored into a students’ GPA.

Full details can be found here: https://www.schools.nyc.gov/learn-at-home/chancellor-s-message-for-families

Voting and Elections
On April 8, Governor Cuomo announced that by executive order, all New Yorkers are able to vote absentee in the upcoming June 23 primary. Following, on April 24, the Governor announced that by executive order the Board of Elections will mail all registered voters an absentee ballot application with a postage paid return envelope. Polls will be open on June 23.

Small Business and Impacted Worker Resources

Federal Assistance
On March 27, Congress approved a $2 trillion stimulus package, the largest in our nation’s history. The package has nearly $350 billion in aid for small businesses throughout the country, expanded and increased unemployment benefits for workers, and direct financial assistance for all Americans. Read more about the package and how New Yorkers benefit, and please contact the Small Business Administration for further resources.

Paycheck Protection Program

  • Any business with less than 500 employees is eligible to apply
  • Independent contractors, sole proprietors, self employed individuals, and non-profits organizations are all eligible
  • Loan amounts total 2.5 times average monthly payroll
  • If payrolls are kept at previous levels for 8 weeks and the loans are spent on payroll, rent, and utilities, the loan can be fully forgiven
  • Established by Congress as a $349 billion program through the federal Small Business Administration
  • Program available until June 30, 2020
  • Read more and apply: sba.gov

Economic Injury Disaster Loan

  • Any business with less than 500 employees is eligible to apply
  • Businesses may apply for both the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan
  • Loan totals will depend on historical cash-flow, but could amount to up to 6 months of costs
  • Interest rates will be 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits payable over 30 years
  • Emergency Advances of up to $10,000 can be applied for immediately
  • Read more and apply: covid19relief.sba.gov

City and State Assistance

  • NEW: Facebook Small Business Grants Program
  • Filing for Unemployment Insurance: The New York State Department of Labor has worked to improve the process for filing for unemployment, including instituting a call back system that allows you to apply online and have a representative to get back to you within 72 hours. Apply on labor.ny.gov.
  • Find resources from Small Business Services.

Other Solutions
I proposed other actions to help small businesses, as well, including postponing or eliminating the sales tax for businesses, repealing or modifying the Commercial Rent Tax that impacts Manhattan businesses, particularly those hit hardest by the loss of tourism, and the city helping those that are out of work with grants. I also joined City Council Speaker Corey Johnson in announcing a robust proposal that helps provide a lifeline to businesses. The proposal expands eligibility for unemployment, covers fixed costs for businesses, institutes a grants program, delays the upcoming sales tax period, and more. You can read details here.

Housing Resources

Many New Yorkers are concerned with ongoing rent payments in light of this crisis. 

NEW: On July 15, the State launched a rent relief program for eligible New Yorkers financially impacted by COVID-19. Apply for up to 4 months in rental assistance, with no need to repay. Subsidies can also be applied to future rent or security deposits.

On May 7, Governor Cuomo announced that tenants are able to cover the cost of rent with a previously paid security deposit, which I had advocated for. He also extended the moratorium on evictions through August 20.

On March 20, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order banning residential and commercial evictions for a 90-day period. Landlords cannot evict tenants during the 90-day moratorium. While the moratorium provides protection for the 90-day period, it does not prevent landlords from taking tenants to court for nonpayment of rent after the 90-day period has ended.

The Mayor has proposed a suspension of the Rent Guidelines Board process for this year and called for a rent freeze (0% increase) for the city’s rent-regulated apartments.

I have offered solutions, as well. Together with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Council Member Robert Cornegy, I proposed an idea for immediate rent relief: using money locked up in security deposits to help pay the rent. With thousands of tenants facing sudden and unprecedented hardships, we must look toward immediate solutions for those struggling to make their next rent payments in a matter of days. Under the proposal, tenants could use existing, pre-paid security deposits to supplement rent payment, which allows time to seek relief. Read more in the Daily News.

For individuals living in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, management has issued the following plan for those impacted by COVID19: https://www.beamliving.com/c19financialhardship

All SCRIE and DRIE cases have been automatically placed on hold. Any recipients of SCRIE or DRIE do not need to be concerned about renewals or benefits being revoked at this time.

Neighborhood Issues and 311

Throughout this time, my office continues to work to serve you. While the city has slowed down a bit, you may still experience an issue with your water, street work, or a question regarding your housing, and need my office to assist.

The best steps to report a problem:

  • If you are experiencing an issue tied to a city agency, please first report it through 311. 311 will provide you with a case number.
  • You can share that case number with a member of my staff to follow up on the issue. 
  • If you’re unsure of who to contact, check out my staff directory or call 212-818-0580.

Food Access

Special Hours at Grocery Stores
Several supermarkets have adjusted their hours to benefit senior citizens and individuals with disabilities and who are immunocompromised during COVID-19. Stores are allowing an extra hour in the mornings to shop:

Upper East Side:

  • D’Agostino’s (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday and Wednesday) – 1074 Lexington Avenue
  • D’Agostino’s (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday and Wednesday) – 1233 Lexington Avenue 
  • Morton Williams (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M.) – 1066 Third Avenue
  • Morton Williams (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M.) – 1211 Madison Avenue
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 1091 Lexington Avenue
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 1111 3rd Avenue
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 1191 2nd Avenue
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 1231 Madison Avenue
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 1279 3rd Avenue
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 773 Lexington Avenue
  • Westside Market (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M.) – 1407 Lexington Avenue
  • Whole Foods (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M.) – 1551 Third Avenue 

East Midtown/Murray Hill:

  • D’Agostino’s (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday and Wednesday) – 578 Third Avenue
  • D’Agostino’s (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday and Wednesday) – 966 First Avenue
  • Morton Williams (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M.) – 1031 First Avenue
  • Morton Williams (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M.) – 908 Second Avenue
  • Rite Aid (9:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M.) – 26 Grand Central Terminal
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 122 East 42nd Street
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 300 East 39th Street
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 530 5th Avenue
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 575 Lexington Avenue
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 711 3rd Avenue
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 866 3rd Avenue
  • Whole Foods (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M.) – 1095 6th Avenue
  • Whole Foods (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M.) – 226 East 57th Street

Kips Bay:

  • D’Agostino’s (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday and Wednesday) – 528 Third Avenue
  • Morton Williams (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M.) – 278 Park Avenue South
  • Trader Joe’s (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M.) – 200 East 32nd Street
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 465 2nd Avenue

Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village:

  • D’Agostino’s (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday and Wednesday) –  355 First Avenue
  • Morton Williams (7:00 A.M. – 8:00 A.M.) – 311 East 23rd Street
  • Trader Joe’s (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M.) – 436 East 14th Street
  • Walgreens/Duane Reade (8:00 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. on Tuesday) – 298 1st Avenue

Senior Centers: Food Home Delivery
Senior centers are currently closed for programming and all meals are being delivered. 

Please first call Aging Connect through the Department for the Aging (DFTA) at 311. You can also call your local center with specific questions about how to receive delivered meals. 

The Taxi and Limousine Commission is also offering home-delivered meals for seniors. You can request this service through 311.

If you are homebound and unable to obtain groceries or meals for yourself, we want to know about it. Please reach out to Kana Ervin in my office at kervin@council.nyc.gov.

Fresh Food Pick Up
In partnership with Lenox Hill Neighborhood Senior Center, Grow NYC arranges boxes of fresh produce from local farms for weekly pickup at 70th Street and 1st Avenue on Tuesdays between 3:30 – 6:30 PM. The $15.00 payment is due a week in advance, and members pick up their produce box the following week. Sign up in-person at 343 East 70th Street and find more details here.

Meals Available through the Department of Education
The New York City Department of Education is committed to making three free meals available daily for any New Yorker. Any New Yorker who wants one can get three free meals a day at more than 400 Meal Hubs across the city. Meals can be picked up at all Meal Hubs 7:30 am to 1:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

Find a location close you and more on schools.nyc.gov/freemeals.

NEW: P-EBT Benefits

In July 2020, thousands of New York City families with public school-aged children will receive $420 in food benefits. The program applies to every public school family in New York City, regardless of income.

The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer program (P-EBT) is intended to help families buy groceries while children learn remotely from home due to COVID-19.

For families that are interested in donating their benefits to a family in need, please don’t throw out your card — share the benefits!

Visit our P-EBT guide

How New Yorkers Can Help:
Volunteering and Healthcare Provisions

My office is monitoring volunteer opportunities for organizations who need support. While we encourage you to exercise an abundance of caution, the following have informed my office of the need for volunteers:

Food Security and Food Banks

Note: Our neighboring non-profits are working to respond to a high-demand of requests and needs differ day-by-day.  Please email my office at kpowers@council.nyc.gov for the most updated information.


Donations
Project FIND’s Homeless In-Reach Plus (HIR+) Program is in great need of clothing donations for street homeless men and women. Items needed include pants, shoes, shirts, and socks for men as well as pants and skirts for women. To make a donation or to inquire further please contact Kathy Fitzgibbons at 212-874-0300 ext. 210 or kfitzgibbons@projectfind.org.

New Yorkers For Children (NYFC) and its partner the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) are working diligently to assess the immediate and emerging needs of the communities we serve in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. NYFC is working to provide hundreds of foster youth in college with computers, housing support in the face of dorm closures, funds to cover basic needs, and emotional support during these challenging times. Donations can be made here: https://newyorkersforchildren.networkforgood.com/projects/95947-support-youth-in-nyc-foster-care-during-covid-19-crisis

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Hospital and Healthcare Workers
My office has heard from various nurses of the need for food and laundry services. NYC Health + Hospitals is accepting donations to cover some of these essentials. You can help make sure those on the front lines can come first: https://nychhc.networkforgood.com

Emergency Supply Sourcing and Manufacturing
The NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is seeking businesses with the ability to quickly source and/or make needed medical supplies (e.g. face shields, gowns, ventilators, masks, and other products as needed) to support the City’s COVID-19 response.

  • Manufacturers:  For manufacturers able to create from scratch. The primary purpose of this form is to coordinate with businesses—primarily manufacturers—with the ability to make needed medical supplies at scale for the City of New York as part of the COVID-19 emergency response. Please fill out this form.

Staying Busyand Having Funat Home

Virtual museum visits: Get some culture from your couch. Several museums and institutions have offered digital experiences for you to enjoy at home. Access through Curbed: Take a virtual tour of these NYC museums from home

“Trips” to the MetOpera, 92Y, and Public Theater: Some of our city’s most historic places have offered up some signature performances, live-streamed nightly. Mark your calendars and tune in:

You can also enjoy the offerings of :

Don’t want to go outside? Visit a park from your couch: http://on.nyc.gov/parksathome 

Stay active with the help of New York Road Runners: NYRR Striders at Home

For further updates, please reference the following resources from various agencies: