Dear Neighbor,

The unprecedented global health crisis we’re facing right now demands all of us to do our part and make responsible decisions to protect ourselves, loved ones, and fellow New Yorkers from danger. As we adjust to this new reality, I want to make sure you’re connected with resources to get through this time. Updates are evolving by the minute, which can be overwhelming, so I hope this guide can help.

Stay healthy and stay home 

My most urgent piece of advicestay home. This is the single most effective way we can collectively slow the spread of the virus and help our healthcare system keep pace with the continuous spike in new cases. 

If you’re feeling well, please stay home and avoid non-essential activities as much as possible.

If you’re feeling mild symptoms, and are under fifty without pre-existing conditions, the Department of Health encourages you to stay home and monitor your symptoms. If they continue after 3 or 4 days, call your doctor to see if you need to be tested or admitted.

Visit Department of Health for updates and daily case summarywww1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/coronavirus.page

In this period of social distancing, I want to emphasize the distinction between physical distancing and emotional distancing. Now more than ever, we must remain connected as a City, and look out for one another.  

We can continue to practice social distancing while making sure no one feels abandoned or forgotten. If you have a moment, a quick call to an older adult to see how they’re doing can make a huge difference. As always, my team and I will continue to be at your service. Please reach out to us via email or leave a voice message at (212)  587-3159 if you are in need of assistance.

Best,

Margaret 

Healthcare

  • Hospitals are offering telehealth services to prevent crowding of emergency rooms and the transmission of the virus. NewYork-Presbyterian is offering virtual urgent care services; for more info, visit here
  • Through April 15, health insurance is now open for uninsured New Yorkers as part of a special enrollment period – with all coverage effective as of April 1. Visit nyc.gov/getcoveredNYC or call 311 for special enrollment assistance.
  • Medicare Rights Center released a factsheet on Medicare covered services in response to COVID-19.

Schools

  • NYC public schools are closed until April 20 at the earliest. Monday to Friday, students are able to grab and go meals 7:30 AM – 1:30 PM at ANY school building. 
  • Remote learning started Monday, March 23 for grades K-12.If you need to request a device,  fill out the form: https://coronavirus.schools.nyc/RemoteLearningDevices

Seniors

  • Senior centers are closed to all activities, except food pick-up and delivery. Seniors can pick up meals at ANY senior center meal distribution site. 
  • For take home meals and delivery service provided by Lower East Side providers, check out this list created by the Lower East Side Interagency Council. 
  • While congregate programming is suspended at senior centers, seniors can still access core services by calling Aging Connect at 212-244-6469. 
  • Council Member Chin is advocating for more grocery stores to adopt designated senior hours to make it safer for seniors and high-risk groups to buy food. 
  • For a list of active food pantries and assistance, call 866-888-8777 or visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/foodpolicy/programs/emergency-food.page
  • Access-A-Ride shared trips are suspended, but service will be available to riders with an approved guest or personal attendant. 
  • Visit Liveon NY’s COVID-19 resource page for a comprehensive list of senior-specific updates. 

Unemployment Insurance

  • NY State is waiving the 7-Day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) closures or quarantines. To file for unemployment insurance, visit: https://labor.ny.gov/unemploymentassistance.shtm 

Housing Stability

  • NY State has halted eviction proceedings and any pending eviction orders in housing court until further notice.
  • The City will automatically extend any Section 8 voucher set to expire. Voucher holders do not need to reach out to the City for an extension. 
  • All subsidy terminations that are in process are suspended until further notice. 
  • Any HPD Section 8 voucher holders facing rent hardships due to decreases in income should contact HPD.  
  • Mortgage relief: The State Department of Financial Services has issued a new directive to New York State mortgage servicers to provide 90-day mortgage relief to mortgage borrowers impacted by the novel coronavirus. https://www.dfs.ny.gov/industry_guidance/industry_letters/il20200319_coronavirus_mortgage_relief

NYCHA

  • NYCHA has issued a moratorium on residential evictions and adjourned all current cases.
  • NYCHA encourages households experiencing a loss of income to visit the NYCHA Self-Service Portal NYCHA’s rent hardship program provides assistance to residents who require rent reductions due to income losses. A household may qualify for a rent reduction based on rent hardship if all the following conditions are met:
  • There is at least a 5% reduction to gross income
  • Current rent is more than 30% of the net household income
  • Reduction in income has lasted at least two months. For more info, click: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nycha/downloads/pdf/Rent-Hardship-03.16.20-with-links.pdf?mc_cid=8c5f6373c2&mc_eid=ea82fbe7f7

Financial Assistance for Small Businesses

  • As we continue to promote social distancing, we can’t lose sight of the fact that our small businesses will be hit hard. Council Member Chin is part of NYC Council-wide push to delay the payment of certain business taxes to provide relief to business owners in this time of uncertainty and instability. 
  • Applications for the grant program, the Employee Retention Grant, are now open for small businesses with fewer than 5 employees. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/sbs/businesses/covid19-business-outreach.page
  • Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more may be eligible for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000 to help retain employees and ensure business continuity. Businesses interested in this loan program can now complete the pre-application for the  NYC Small Business Continuity Loan Fund
  • Waiver of Penalties for DOF-Administered Businesses and Excise Taxes between March 16 and April 25. Taxpayers may request to have the penalties waived on a late-filed extension or return.  : https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/finance/downloads/pdf/fm/2020/fm-20-2.pdf
  • NYC Council is proposing a comprehensive package of proposals to help small businesses and workers, which include granting temporary universal basic income, temporarily deferring fees and business tax refunds, covering fixed costs, and securing unemployment protections for workers with cut hours, gig economy and freelance workers. Learn more here: https://council.nyc.gov/press/2020/03/19/1888/

Business Closures and Exemptions

  • Governor Cuomo signed an executive order mandating all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions effective at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, and temporarily bans all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason.  https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-new-york-state-pause-executive-order
  • Exemptions from the order will include shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks, and related financial institutions. 
  •  If your question is not answered here, please contact Empire State Developmenthttps://esd.ny.gov/covid-19-help
  • All barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing salons, nail salons, hair removal services, and related personal care services will be closed to the public effective Saturday, March 21, at 8:00 PM. 
  • Retail shopping malls, amusement parks, and bowling alleys to close by 8 PM Thursday, March 19, in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. 
  • Casinos, gyms, theaters are closed until further notice. Bars and restaurants are closed, but takeout can be ordered during the period of closure.  

Taxi Drivers

  • Cab drivers, NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission is recruiting drivers to deliver food to our seniors through DeliveryTLC, and help replace lost trips. The City will pay drivers $15 an hr and reimburse for gas, tolls and mileage. Sign up here: hnyc.gov/DeliveryTLC

Delivery Workers

  • With delivery workers taking on an important new responsibility to feed New Yorkers, help keep businesses afloat, and deliver essential goods, Council Member Chin has renewed her call to end the e-bike crackdown that has historically targeted immigrant delivery workers and urged City Hall to release confiscated e-bikes to their owners and provide protective gear to prevent the spread of the virus. 
  • If you are ordering in, encourage no-contact methods, practice empathy and manage your expectations for your delivery arrival time, and – always –  tip generously!  

Support Chinatown Restaurants

NYC Council Update

  • Participatory Budgeting has been suspended, and all hearings and Stated meetings are cancelled.

Alternate Side Parking Suspended

  • Alternate side parking will be suspended  until Tuesday, March 31. For new updates on further suspensions or related news, visit DOT’s website. https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/alternate-side-parking.shtml

Volunteer 

  • Everyday New Yorkers are stepping up in big ways to provide assistance to neighbors in need. If you have a few hours or resources to spare, here are some ways you can help:

NYC Text Updates

For text updates from the City of New York, text COVID to 692-692. To receive updates in Spanish, text COVIDESP to 692-692.