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COVID Newsletters

Weekly COVID newsletter (8/13)

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It’s Thursday, August 13, 2020. Welcome to the weekly edition of my COVID newsletter.

At press time, nonprofit news site’s COVID-19 tracker shows Manhattan has 31,217 confirmed cases and 3,157 deaths; New York City as a whole has 229,167 cases and 23,610 deaths. There were 438 new cases citywide yesterday (8/12) compared to last Wednesday’s (8/5) 333 cases, a rise of 24% (albeit on a fairly low base).


Like a lot of parents or guardians of school-age children, I’m worried about the opening of school this fall. I’m clearly not alone; over 300,000 families opted out of in-person learning, in response to the Dept. of Education’s survey. But that means the remaining students, some 700,000, could start the school year; although the fact is we don’t know how many kids will actually show up if in-person learning starts. And I’m getting scores of calls from teachers, principals and staff who are just as worried. (In fact, last night (8/12), the unions for New York City teachers and principals urged that the first day of school be delayed.)

Still, I recognize how important schools are for parents who cannot work from home and must go to their workplaces. We risk far too many children falling behind academically by relying solely on virtual classrooms. (Chalkbeat reports that at least 23% of  summer school students— about 27,000 kids– never logged on to the virtual iLearn summer school platform.) The regional enrichment centers have worked exceedingly well during the entire pandemic. Why can’t these centers be replicated and increased instead?

If the DOE were more aggressive about using alternate spaces that could accommodate socially distanced learning (my office compiled 175 possible sites, including outdoor locations which would help early in the fall semester) and more transparent about their plans (with building-specific plans for ventilation and cleaning), that could help calm many worries (even while recognizing that none of us have faced this challenge before).

Don’t forget to enter my “Manhattan’s most charming outdoor dining sites” contest by Sept. 1! Submit photos of the best sidewalk dining setups, and I’ll be sure to eat at the best ones this September with some of the winning submitters.

Send me an email with photos of top contender(s) attached to by Sept. 1, with the subject line “Dining Contest” (be sure to include the restaurant’s name and address in the email!).


Gov. Cuomo has extended the eviction moratorium through Oct. 1, although the court will hold a conference for all cases that were pending prior to the shutdown. In cases where an eviction warrant had been issued before March 17, judges will once again review those cases before deciding if evictions warrants may be executed. Contact legal aid if you were in eviction proceedings before March 17 and don’t already have an attorney. Otherwise, no new residential evictions may take place before Oct. 1, 2020. The City’s new NYC Tenant Resource Portal provides a unified directory of all tenant resources. Those without internet access can call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline.

The FDA has identified 130+ hand sanitizers that consumers should avoid because they lack a sufficient level of alcohol to kill germs or because they contain dangerous levels of wood alcohol. To report adverse effects from hand sanitizer, fill out an FDA MedWatch report.

On a related front, a recent Duke University study shows that almost all masks are effective at reducing the spread of COVID, but fleece masks, bandanas and neck gaiters are worse than wearing no mask at all.


Next Thursday (8/20) at 8:30 am, the Manhattan Borough Board will meet in the monthly charter-mandated convening of the Borough President and all of Manhattan’s Council Members and Community Board Chairs. This month, we will have a presentation from the Department of Education regarding reopening of schools. This meeting is open to the public; register in advance.

Reminder: Apply by next Friday (8/21) for my Manhattan Community Award Program, which grants funding to nonprofit organizations and public schools; this year, we are prioritizing proposals from organizations in communities experiencing disproportionate impacts of the COVID pandemic and efforts to address racial justice. Learn more and apply.

Wednesday (8/19) at 10 am, the City Planning Commission will meet. There will be Manhattan reports but no Manhattan or citywide votes. Livestream the meeting.

Harlem residents who are 16-24 years old, out of school and unemployed can apply for a paid 14-week internship with Opportunity Youth Program. Join a virtual information session Tuesday (8/18); contact Yamila Rivero for the session link.

Apply ASAP to be one of 25 Lower Manhattan small business storefronts chosen for one-on-one technical assistance to become COVID-compliant, co-sponsored by the Downtown Alliance and Streetsense.

WE NYC now offers resilience programming to help women entrepreneurs through the pandemic.

Learn about Open Restaurant reopening guidelines with a free, virtual compliance consultation with the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services. Understand how to comply with key City rules and regulations to avoid common violations.

Drop off compost at Reclaimed Organics’ new pop-up site Wednesdays 4 – 6 pm at the SE corner of 107 St. and Columbus Ave. Find other drop-off sites.

ADAPT Community Network is hiring! Learn more about a career working with children and adults with disabilities.

Volunteer with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of the Community Service Society of New York. Become a virtual mentor to NYC youth in justice-involved families. Register for the Sept. 16 virtual mentor orientation by emailing with your full name and phone number.

Search and Care now offers free, one-on-one, English/Spanish telephone counseling for adults 60+, “Talkin’ It Out.” Contact 212-289-5300 to learn more.

Access-A-Ride is now accepting Fair Fares, which discounts MTA Access-A-Ride trips by 50%. Learn more about Fair Fares and eligibility.

This weekend and next, there will be free shuttle bus service between the 145 St. A B C D and 155 St. B D stations. D trains will skip 155 St. in both directions, and B trains don’t run on weekends.


I’ve always been a strong supporter of Harlem Week, which will kick off its festivities virtually this Sunday, Aug. 16 with the theme of “Movement of the People” sharing the culture, history, resilience and strength of Harlem. It’s one of the biggest cultural celebrations in town with over 110 events, featuring conferences, seminars, music, food and dance.

I particularly look forward to this year’s special tributes to the Harlem Renaissance and the legendary (and former Borough President!) Percy Sutton. Please join us! For more info:

  •  Great Day in Harlem (Sun 8/16, 3-7pm)

  •  Youth/education career conference/Hackathon (Mon 8/17, 1-4pm)

  •  Greater Harlem Business Conference/Econ Day (Tues 8/18, 12-2pm)

  •  COVID-19 Summit: Disproportionate Impact on Communities of Color (Tues 8/18- 2-4pm)

  •  Percy Sutton Harlem Entrepreneurial Boot Camp (Weds 8/19, 2-4pm)

  •  Broadway behind the scenes jobs & careers (Weds 8/19, 12-2pm)

  •  Rangel Systemic Racism & Economic Justice Summit (Thurs 8/20, 2-5pm)

  •  Senior Day has two webinars, senior health & demystifying tech (Fri 8/21, 1-3pm)

  •  Harlem Day Festival w/ virtual performances (Sun 8/23, 1-7pm)

  • Percy Sutton virtual 5k (all week long)

Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival is a WQXR radio event this year. Now through Sunday (8/16), tune in for special on-air features and concerts.

Tonight (8/13) at 7 pm, the NEW Pride Agenda continues their virtual town hall series with “Criminal Justice Reform: Rethinking Safety and Accountability in Our Communities.” Register here.

Tomorrow (8/14) through Aug. 22 at 7 pm, the 39th Annual Battery Park Dance Festival hosts free nightly online performances.

Saturday (8/15) – Tuesday (8/18), add an origami boat to Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s “Blessing of the Boats: River to River” in Belvedere Plaza.

Free school supplies will be given out in Washington Heights, Tuesday (8/18) 1 – 3 pm at Fresh Youth Initiatives (505 W. 171 St.) and in Harlem, Thursday (8/20) 1 – 3 pm at Salem United Methodist Church (2190 ACP Blvd).

To donate supplies, contact Fatoumata Diallo at or (347) 610-2867.

Tuesday (8/18) at 12:30 pm, join New York Women in Film & Television for a conversation with VP of Publicity and Promotion of IFC Films Laura Sok about the impact of COVID-19 on the entertainment industry.

Tuesday (8/18) at 6 pm, attend a virtual workshop, “Tenants’ Rights During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” presented by Housing Conservation Coordinators and Community Board 4. Register through Zoom or livestream on Youtube.

Tuesday (8/18) at 7 pm, stream “Finish the Fight,” a virtual play celebrating the unsung heroes of suffrage, produced by The New York Times.

Wednesday (8/19) at 12 pm, the Association for a Better New York will host the fourth installment of “Black Leadership in New York City: Conversations on Power, Politics and Racial Justice” with Cheryl Wills and Camille Joseph Goldman.

Wednesday (8/19) at 1 pm, join Common Sense Media for a virtual conversation, “Building a Digital Ecosystem that Supports Kids and Families’ Well-being.” Register here.

Wednesday (8/19) at 6 pm, New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital continues its virtual lecture series with “Lumps and Bumps and When to Worry.” RSVP to

Wednesday (8/19) at 7 pm, Ballet Hispánico hosts a B Unidos watch party of “Batacuda Fantástica” followed by a live Q&A. Watch on Ballet Hispánico’s website, Facebook or Youtube.

Thursday (8/20) at 5:30 pm, the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce will host “Race and Business: A Conversation.” Register here.

Riverside Park’s Summer on the Hudson continues its lineup of free classes. Register for classes like yoga, a STEM workshop and a Shakespeare workout.

Register now for the 5th annual Brookfield Place Tennis Open (Aug. 25 – Sept. 3), which includes free tennis camp for kids, skills clinics for adults and kids and open court time.

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