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COVID Newsletters

Weekly COVID Newsletter (7/30)


It’s Thursday, July 30, 2020. Welcome to the weekly edition of my COVID newsletter. These weekly versions are bulkier than the daily ones, so we’ve tried to organize them a bit:

COMMENT from me

NEW FACTS and information from others

ANNOUNCEMENTS from the City, the State and major nonprofits (including funding and grants)

EVENTS in chronological order

At press time, nonprofit news site’s COVID-19 tracker shows Manhattan has 30,399 confirmed cases and 3,144 deaths; New York City as a whole has 224,863 cases and 23,525 deaths. There were 312 new cases citywide yesterday, July 29, while last Wednesday, July 22 there were 388, a fall of 20%.


The federal $600 per week supplemental unemployment insurance payment expires tomorrow (7/31), and negotiations have stalled.

The Senate majority is proposing to cut that payment to $200 per week (and is also insisting on liability lawsuit shields for businesses that reopen). The White House, meanwhile, seems more interested in cutting the COVID testing budget (Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana and a doctor, said “he thought he was on acid when he heard the administration’s view”) and providing $1.75 billion in funding for construction of a new FBI headquarters, which happens to be located near the President’s Washington hotel.

The House majority has already passed a bill that extends the $600 unemployment payment to January 2021, and includes $1 trillion in aid to state and local governments. (Gov. Cuomo warned this week that, absent additional federal aid, New Yorkers will face massive fare hikes on MTA trains, property tax increases and layoffs of teachers and other government employees.)

If you, or your friends outside of NYC, are concerned about the outcome of negotiations over this next round of legislation, now is the time to let elected officials know. (The National League of Cities, where I serve on the Large Cities Council and Human Development Committee, has mounted a nationwide “Cities are Essential” campaign.)

Applications are now open for my Manhattan Community Award Program (MCAP). Every year, my office makes these small awards to nonprofit organizations and public schools;  this year (FY21) we will prioritize funding to organizations working with communities experiencing disproportionate impacts of the COVID pandemic and efforts to address racial justice. Community Awards enhance the work of local nonprofits and schools and enrich and improve neighborhoods.

We’re especially seeking innovative proposals that will address things like food pantries and distribution of fresh food, urban farming, community-police relations, racial justice and arts programming (whether school-based or remote).

Award Size: One-time contracts ranging from $5,000-$7,500

Deadline: 5:00 pm, August 21, 2020

Find out more: (with links to application)

For questions, contact my Budget Unit: Vanessa Diaz-Lopez, Nelson S. Andino and James Thomas.

Hally Chu, my office’s Deputy Director of Policy, was recognized as a “NYC 40 Under 40 Food Policy Rising Star.” Read about her and the other finalists’ work to transform our food system by clicking on the title. It’s terrific to see her great work recognized by others!

The pandemic has devastated small businesses in New York, and without relief far too many will fail. The Commercial Rent Tax (CRT), charged to businesses between Chambers and 96th Streets in Manhattan, is one place where the City can provide that relief. I’ve joined Council Member Keith Powers in introducing a bill that will do exactly that: zero out the CRT for businesses with less than $1 million per year in rent until the state of emergency is over.

Tomorrow (7/31) at 4 pm, join my Census Walking Tour in the Village– a low self-response area– to let residents know that they should fill out the census ASAP. We’ll hand out census swag and direct residents to Census Response Representatives to fill out the census onsite. Meet in front of 40 E. 14th Street near Whole Foods, and we’ll end the tour at Christopher Street Subway Station for festive music and more fun. RSVP to


Two reports worth a look if you’re concerned about the “state of play” in New York right now:

The Center for an Urban Future studied the employment impacts of the pandemic on NYC, sorted by industry sectors. Here are a few highlights (the complete report is available at

“New York City has lost more than 777,000 jobs since February, affecting nearly every part of the city’s economy. But the toll taken by the coronavirus pandemic has differed strikingly by industry….

“The 20 industries with comparatively minimal employment declines {are} concentrated in…

— professional services, especially creative industries, finance and insurance, the tech sector and legal services; 

— hospitals and other parts of the healthcare sector; 

— utilities and telecommunications; and 

— grocery stores and other food-related retail.

“… hard-hit industries include… restaurants, accommodations, arts and entertainment, retail, transportation, personal care and laundry services, child day care services, administrative and support services, construction and manufacturing….”

The Partnership for New York City issued “A Call for Action and Collaboration,” which is a sobering report about the business situation overall:

“It will be far more difficult to restart and repair the economy than it was to shut it down. The attractions that New Yorkers value most in the city—its cultural, social, and entertainment assets—will remain at least partially shuttered until next year. As many as a third of the 230,000 small businesses that populate neighborhood commercial corridors may never reopen. The unemployment rate has risen to 18.3%, leaving as many as a million households struggling to feed their families and pay rent, with hardship concentrated among Black and Hispanic communities and lower wage workers.”

PFNYC also compiled a selection of their original research and statistics, as well as that of other contributors, and posted it as a Resource Collection “for those who want to take a deeper dive into the material.”


The NYC School Construction Authority is actively looking for additional space to house education and childcare programs starting September. Sites must be no higher than four stories, contain rooms no less than 650 square feet, have dedicated entrances and bathrooms, be code compliant and be able to house programs serving children and teens. Submit sites that meet these requirements to ASAP.

The Departments of Education and Youth & Community Development are seeking organizations– human service agencies, afterschool providers, community center providers, childcare programs– to operate childcare for youth ages 3 and 4, and Learning Labs for K-8 students during weekdays when students are not receiving in-person instruction in a NYC Dept. of Education school or program. Read and respond to the Request for Information.

Gov. Cuomo this week added Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. to the self-quarantine list if their residents visit New York State.

Alternate side parking regulations are suspended through Sunday (8/2) but will resume next week, from 8/3 to 8/14, suspend for 8/15, and resume again from 8/17 to 9/5.  Remember, under the summer rules, if a side of a street has an ASP sign showing multiple days, street cleaning regulations will be in effect on that side of the street only on the latest day of the week posted on the sign.

ULURP remains suspended, but the City Planning Commission will meet for the first time Wednesday (8/5) at 10 am and will vote on several citywide items. Livestream the meeting.

A federal judge has ordered the NYS Dept. of Labor to immediately pay Uber, Lyft and app-based drivers the full amount of the unemployment benefits owed to them in response to a lawsuit filed in May by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (represented by Legal Services NYC and NYTWA’s counsel). In her decision (pdf), Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall called the state’s delay in payments both “avoidable” and “inexcusable.”

The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) reports that pick-ups are slowly but steadily increasing from April lows. They’ve helped drivers enroll in the GetFoodNYC food delivery program (more 40 million meals delivered to New Yorkers in need) and established a virtual Driver Resource Center. The full report is available at

Apply ASAP for an East Harlem Small Business Grant of up to $20,000, which I launched with Council Member Diana Ayala, Union Settlement and the NYC Economic Development Corporation to provide COVID-19 financial assistance. Read more about eligibility and applying. Applications will be considered only while funds last, so apply now!

Apply by Monday (8/3) for a Local Initiatives Support Corporation Small Business Relief Grant of up to $20,000. Priority will be given to entrepreneurs of color, women and veterans.

Applications are due Wednesday (8/5) for Section 8, Section 202 and Section 811 property owners to be eligible for supplemental payments from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to cover COVID-related expenses, like deep cleaning and PPE. Read more about eligible costs and applying.

Calling all storytellers– enter WomensActivism.NYC’s story writing contest by August 16. Share stories about inspirational women for a chance to win prizes of $150, $350 and $500.

Manhattan now has 56 “Open Streets” and two children-centered “Play Streets” (at 129th St. between ACP Blvd./Frederick Douglass Blvd.; and 150th St. between St. Nicholas Pl./Edgecombe Ave.). Play Streets’ social distance programming includes crafts, board games, sports drills and reading corners. Find Open/Play Streets’ locations and hours here.

The special enrollment period for NYS’s health plan marketplace has been extended to August 15. Those currently without health insurance can apply for coverage through NY State of Health.

Mayor de Blasio canceled all large events requiring a permit through September 30, prioritizing open spaces for public use. (No Chainsmokers concerts in NYC!) Events that are one city block or smaller and do not interfere with Open Streets or Open Restaurant areas may still apply for permits.

Nominate outstanding City government employees for two prestigious awards from the Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services by September 25. The Isaac P. Liberman Public Service Awards celebrate employees who have improved city services, and the Frederick O’Reilly Hayes Coronavirus Crisis Response Awards recognize exemplary work under the unprecedented circumstances.

Save the date for Open House New York— October 17 and 18– which will be reimagined as a hybrid of virtual and outdoor self-guided experiences.

Next Wednesday (8/5) the MTA will launch two new overnight express bus routes to other boroughs: M99 (Hell’s Kitchen-East New York via 14th St., 1 – 6 am) and Bx99 (West Village-Woodlawn, 1 – 6 am).

Weigh in on poletop designs for 5G transmission units, which will start dotting our neighborhoods in the years ahead. Submit feedback to the city’s Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications by August 8.


Tomorrow (7/31) at 2 pm, my office is co-sponsoring the Wagner March for Peace and resource fair. Meet at 451 E. 120th St. For more information, email

Tomorrow (7/31) at 2 pm, join the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden’s Hearst Fellows for a virtual symposium about NYC in the 19th Century.

Reminder: volunteers are needed tomorrow (7/31) at 4 pm for my Census Walking Tour in the Village. RSVP to

Harlem’s 2020 census response rate is less than 60%. Stop by Harlem Complete Count Committee’s census pop-ups, be counted and help Harlem get all the federal funding and political representation it deserves.

Tomorrow, Friday (7/31):

Saturday (8/1)

Saturday (8/1) at 10 am, join the YMCA’s March for Equality and Justice. Meet at the Harlem Y (180 W. 135th St.) and march to the West Side Y (5 W. 63rd St.).

Saturday (8/1) at 10 am, volunteer at Council District 3’s Clean-Up Day, sponsored by Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

Sunday (8/2) at 4 pm, join Yemeni-American youth in Times Square to protest the war and humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Sunday (8/2) at 5 pm, watch the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, which is streaming archived performances as part of its Summer Evenings series.

National Farmers Market Week begins Monday (8/3), so visit your farmers market for local, fresh food– and remember that Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer cards (for families of public school students) can be used at many farmers markets.

I’ll be visiting the Fulton Stall Market, which recently delivered fresh eggs and apples to seniors in Lower Manhattan thanks to funding from Council Member Margaret Chin.

Starting Monday (8/3) until 9/4, the whole family can join Harlem Commonwealth Council’s free virtual Summer Scholars Program to sharpen reading and writing skills.

Monday (8/3) at 6 pm, SHARE Cancer Support will host its virtual uterine cancer support group.

Tuesday (8/4) at 2 pm, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and TD Bank Charitable Foundation will host a webinar for small businesses, “Assessing Your Company’s Financial Needs.”

NYC Parks’ Summer on the Hudson is offering online fitness, arts and family programming in lieu of its annual Riverside Park festival.

Develop new digital skills with the New York Public Library’s daily TechConnect classes, featuring topics like Photoshop, HTML and Excel.

Enjoy daily free concerts at home with Concerts in Motion’s Virtual Visiting Series.

Take a Jane Jacobs-esque bike tour of public art and monuments in Greenwich Village with Village Preservation’s bike tour series.

Daily FreshDirect deliveries continued this week at NYCHA developments all across the borough. Thank you to my staff and local Tenants’ Associations for all your help on this amazing project.

Stay Safe