In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Councilman Mark Gjonaj is pushing to introduce legislation that would help New Yorkers get through this time of uncertainty. Please find below the list of Legislative Service Requests Councilman Gjonaj has submitted to alleviate the hardships that many of our neighbors are facing today.
June 18, 2020 Update from NYC Council Member Mark Gjonaj:
“Earlier this week I had introduced two COVID-19 business relief bills to the council, and have since been assigned to their proper committees. The first bill, an intended local law, will suspend the schedule change premium when a state of emergency modifies fast food restaurant operations. It makes little sense to penalize employers unable to predict and set the schedules of their employees during this state of emergency, considering all of the chaos it has thrust business operations into.
The second bill is a resolution calling upon the NYS legislature to pass and the governor to sign A.10226-B and S.8211-A, which will require insurance companies to cover business interruption claims related to the COVID-19 state of emergency. Most commercial insurance plans cover natural disasters, crime and property damage that substantially alters business operations, often allowing businesses to recoup revenue and make ongoing payments. The successful passage of this state legislation, called upon by my resolution, will add COVID-19 state of emergency claims to those honored by insurance companies.
Besides my own legislation, I am proud to have co-sponsored two police reform bills that ensure greater transparency and accountability. The first of which criminalizes the use of the chokehold restraint, and the second is an evaluation of NYPD surveillance practices. Both of these bills have passed at the time of writing, amongst several others, constituting a strong step in addressing the national conversation about police use of force.”
- Require that all deaths hence forward be declared/certified via the Electronic Vital Events Registration system.
- Preventing price gouging for PPE and healthcare-related equipment. No more than 10% of markup over acquisition costs. Does not include delivery, storage, costs, etc.
- Require that the city forgive real estate property taxes during the COVID-19 pandemic for property owners who shift the cost onto their tenants, provided their tenant is a microbusiness. Includes a sunset date of December 31st, 2022.
- A temporary ban on the use of reusable shopping bags, containers and mugs during the epidemic, with a sunset date of December 31st, 2022.
- Resolution calling on the state to lift the plastic bag ban during the epidemic, with a sunset date of December 31, 2022.
- A local law that intends to temporarily suspend the 5-cent fee charged to businesses for single-use disposable bags, not covered by the state-wide plastic bag ban (i.e. paper), for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Mandating that in states of emergency related to infectious disease, non-essential health/medical services stagger their patient schedule such that a limited percentage of patients are in the office at a given time, and mandating the use of protective equipment at all times possible (masks, gloves, etc.).
- Local law requiring the city to help provide pro-bono legal services to businesses regarding their legal obligations on COVID-19 related matters.
- Suspend the payment of all fines and provide cure periods to restaurants and nightlife establishments for violations that do not pose an immediate hazard to the public and workers.
- The City of New York should waive the March 30th sidewalk café consent fees and eliminate its 18% annual interest rate imposed on fees when restaurants opt to pay in multiple installments.
- Give the city the ability to suspend the predictive scheduling law and its associated premiums when restaurants are experiencing emergency situations, such as infectious disease outbreaks.
- A resolution, calling upon the governor and state legislature, to require insurance companies to honor claims related to losses from business interruptions whenever a state of emergency is declared.
- Require all essential workers to receive and use protective gear, including but not limited to masks, gloves and other face guards. Stores will also be granted the ability and right to refuse service to any individual not using protective equipment of their own.