Coronavirus (COVID-19) Community Resources

Senator Anna M. Kaplan

April 16, 2020

Coronavirus Community Resources, Senator Anna M. Kaplan

Dear Friend,
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We're living through an unprecedented moment in our shared history, and as a State Senator, I've been focused on doing everything I can to support my constituents during this impossible time.  With so much change taking place so quickly, it can be hard to keep track of everything that effects you and your family.  To help, I've created a newsletter called Nassau Coronavirus Update, which you can have delivered straight to your inbox by clicking the button above or below.  My staff and I have also assembled this comprehensive resource guide to help you access important programs and services.

It's my great honor and privilege to be your Senator, and I want you to know that I'm here for you through this, and I'm always here to help you and your family with whatever I can.  Don't hesitate to contact my office at any time if I can be of service.

Sincerely, 

 

 

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Our Office

What You Need To Know (Updated 3/7) Read More

 

  • The Numbers for New York State, Nassau, and Long Island:

    • New York State's positive rate yesterday was 2.98% - the lowest since October. Unfortunately, another 59 New Yorkers died and 4,700 residents are now hospitalized - the lowest for both since December 6, 2020. 

    • Nassau's positive test rate yesterday was 3.8% with 643 County residents newly positive. Nassau shares local data on their COVID-19 page, with rates by community

    • Long Island's regional positive test rate was 4.3% - still one of the highest of New York State's regions - with Suffolk County at 3.6%.

    • The New York State "Vaccine Tracker": The tracker shows how many vaccine doses New York State has received from the federal government, as well as how many first and second doses have been administered.

 

  • Reopening Updates (NEW):

    • March 15, 2021: New York State will begin to allow wedding receptions of up to 150 people or 50% venue capacity, whatever is smaller. All guests must be tested and local health departments must still approve.

    • March 19, 2021: Restaurants outside of New York City will be allowed to seat up to 75% capacity, up from 50%.

    • March 26, 2021: Indoor family entertainment centers and places of am213qweusement can open with 25% capacity.

    • April 9, 2021: Outdoor amusement parks can open with a limit of 33% their capacity.

    • New Statewide Sports & Recreation Polices (for more, see new NYS Guidance):

      • Participants in higher risk sports and recreation activities may partake in individual or distanced group training and organized no/low-contact group training and, further, may partake in other types of play, including competitions and tournaments, only as permitted by the respective local health authorities (i.e., county health departments).

        • Local health authorities should consider the following factors in authorizing or continuing to prohibit higher risk sports and recreational activities as, in many areas, these factors may weigh against permitting such activities:

          • whether there has been a more-transmissible variant of COVID-19 identified in the area,

          • local rates of COVID-19 transmission or rate of positivity, and

          • local ability to monitor and enforce compliance.

      • For all lower, moderate, and higher risk sports, travel for practice or play is prohibited outside of the region or contiguous counties/regions. Interstate travel for practice or play is strongly discouraged and, if undertaken, must strictly adhere to the requirements of the State's travel advisory.

      • Travel for practice or play to, or from, any area within New York that has been designated as a red or orange zone may only be permitted following consultation with the respective state or local health authorities with consideration of the abovementioned factors.

      • Travel for practice or play to, or from, any area within New York that has been designated as a yellow zone is permitted so long as it adheres to all applicable DOH guidance.

  • NEW: Residential Rent and Mortgage Relief: The COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act

    • On December 28, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed into law the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 (L. 2020, c. 381; “Act”).  The Act provides immediate relief to renters and homeowners in residential eviction and foreclosure cases in New York State, including, among other things:

      • Freezing pending residential eviction proceedings (“Proceedings”) and residential real property mortgage foreclosure actions (“Actions”) for sixty days.

      • Freezing Proceedings and Actions filed within thirty days of December 28, 2020 for sixty days.

      • Publishing “Hardship Declaration” forms to be used by tenants in eviction matters (English | Español) and mortgagors in residential foreclosure (English | Español) actions in reporting financial hardship during or due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

      • Freezing Proceedings and Actions until at least May 1, 2021 in Proceedings and Actions where a tenant-respondent or defendant-mortgagor submits a completed Hardship Declaration.

 

  • Out-of-State Travel: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced new guidelines allowing out-of-state travelers to New York to "test out" of the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

    • Travelers from states that border New York (New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Vermont) will continue to be exempt from the travel advisory, but must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form. With specific questions, you can also always call the Nassau County Coronavirus Hotline at 516-227-9570.

    • The new guidelines for travelers from other states to "test-out" of the mandatory 14-day quarantine are below:

      • All travelers entering New York from a state that is not a contiguous state (Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania), or from a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice country, shall quarantine for a period of 14 days, consistent with Department of Health regulations for quarantine, unless:

        • 1. For travelers who traveled outside of New York for more than 24 hours, such travelers must
          obtain testing within 72 hours prior to arrival in New York, AND

        • 2. Such travelers must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine according to Department of Health
          guidelines, for a minimum of three days, measured from time of arrival, and on day 4 may seek a
          diagnostic test to exit quarantine.

        • For travelers that meet the criteria above, the traveler may exit quarantine upon receipt of the second
          negative test result.

 

  • Has COVID-19 affected your utility payments? A new law provides temporary protections for residential customers, and there are immediate steps you can take to protect your utility service. To learn more, visit NYS Division of Consumer Protection’s website for more information, including their section on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

    • The governor has announced that more than $328 million in home heating aid is now available for low- and middle-income New Yorkers who need assistance keeping their homes warm during the coming winter season. Applications are now being accepted for the Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides federal funding to assist homeowners and renters with their heating costs during the cold weather months (see: "Utilities" tab below).

 

  • New York State Office for Aging is offering the "CV19 CheckUp" to all New Yorkers: a free, confidential, and easy to use questionnaire. It is designed to help you be safer and healthier during the COVID-19 pandemic by answering just 5 to 10 minutes of questions.

    • You'll immediately receive a custom report based on your life and habits to find out how likely you are to get or spread COVID-19, how severe it might be if you get sick, steps to reduce your risks, and ways to have your needs met during the pandemic.

    • Your report will provide guidance from leading experts and organizations based on research, science, and recommendations published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

 

  • Reopening Our Schools: Based on each region's infection rate, schools across New York State are permitted to open - but must have a testing and tracing plan for students and staff, and are subject to closure due to positive cases. The COVID Report Card hosted by Department of Health will show COVID-19 data for every school district in the state based on testing.

 

  • The AppCOVID Alert NY is a voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification smartphone app. You will get an alert if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

    • Knowing about a potential exposure allows you to self-quarantine immediately, get tested and reduce the potential exposure risk to your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others.

    • The free mobile app is available to anyone 18 or older who lives, works, or attends college in New York or New Jersey–are available for download from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

    • COVID Alert NY is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Bengali, Korean, Russian, and Haitian Creole. 

 

 

 

  • New York State's Cancer Services Program (CSP) may be able to help if you lost your health coverage, or you’re uninsured. The CSP provides free breast and cervical screenings to women over 40 years of age, as well as free colorectal cancer screenings to men and women over the age of 50 years. For more information, contact them by:

    • Phone: 1-866-442-CANCER (2262),

    • Email: CanServ@health.ny.gov

    • Mail: Bureau of Cancer Prevention and Control, New York State Department of Health, Riverview Center, Suite 350, Albany, NY 12204-0678

 

  • Remember: Any New Yorker can call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline:

    • Dial 1-844-863-9314 for mental health counseling. Self-care matters more than ever.

    • Health care workers can text “NYFRONTLINE” to 741-741 for access to 24/7 emotional support services.

 

  • The latest news from New York State Department of Health is always available through the following their website; 1-888-364-3065 (the State information hotline); and through the "Ask Us A Question" inbox.

  • And PLEASE remember: wear a mask, safely check in on loved ones, and stay informed.

New York's COVID-19 Vaccinations (Updated 3/6) Read More

*To complete a prescreening and find sites to schedule COVID-19 shots:

 

*Instructions for New York State-Operated Vaccination Sites (from the State Department of Health)*

 

  • Step 1: Determine eligibility and schedule an appointment. The Am I Eligible app is the quickest way to see if you're eligible and make an appointment. You can also call the New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829). Once you have successfully scheduled an appointment, you will receive a confirmation email that contains a barcode. You will need to bring this to your appointment.
  • Step 2: Complete the Vaccine Form. Once you have a confirmed appointment, you must complete the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Form. This form should be filled out online and you will receive a submission ID indicating completion. You will need to bring the submission ID to your appointment. If you cannot submit the form online, it will be available at the vaccination sites.
  • Step 3: Bring proof of eligibility to your appointment. Depending on your eligibility category, proof can include an employee ID card, a letter from an employer or affiliated organization, a pay stub, a driver's license, passport, or any legal proof of your date of birth and residency. At the time of your appointment, you'll be asked a series of clinical questions to ensure readiness for a vaccine. You will be asked for insurance information BUT the vaccine is free and there will never be a charge to you. This information is for administrative use only.
    • Acceptable forms of proof of eligibility:
      • If an individual is eligible due to their employment status, they must prove they are employed in the State of New York. Such proof may include: 
        • an employee ID card or badge, a letter from an employer or affiliated organization, or a pay stub, depending on the specific priority status.
           
      • If an individual is eligible due to their age, they must produce proof of age and proof of residence in New York:
        • To prove New York residence, an individual must show: 
          • One of the following: State or government-issued ID; Statement from landlord; Current rent receipt or lease; Mortgage records; or
          • Two of the following: Statement from another person; Current mail; and/or School records.
             
        • For age, such proof may include: Driver’s license or non-driver ID; Birth certificate issued by a state or local government; Current U.S passport or valid foreign passport; Permanent resident card; Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship; Life insurance policy with birthdate; or Marriage certificate with birthdate.
           
  • Step 4: Your second dose appointment will be scheduled automatically when you receive your first vaccine dose. Your second appointment will be scheduled for the same time and at the same location, three weeks following your first dose. You will receive a card onsite with the date and time indicated and a confirmation email will follow a few days later. Please keep in mind when scheduling your first appointment that your second appointment will occur at the same time of day.
  • FAQ: Along with people 65 years or older and those with certain pre-existing conditions, who else is eligible for a vaccination in New York State?

    • NEW: Gov. Cuomo has announced that due to the federal government's increased vaccination supply in the coming weeks, New York State will allow counties to expand their 1a/1b eligibility to include restaurant workers, taxi drivers, and individuals living in facilities for the developmentally disabled not otherwise served by a hospital system. Unused vaccine will also be provided to local health departments to provide to those with State-determiend underlying conditions after 2/15.

    • Grocery Store Workers

    • Nursing Homes and Residential Care Facilities:

      • Residents and staff in nursing homes regulated by the NYS Department of Health (DOH)

      • Persons in a residential program or hospital certified or operated by NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH), Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), or Office of Addiction Services and Support (OASAS). 
         

    • Medical Staff and Health Professionals:

      • High-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff and Pulmonary Department staff)

      • Urgent Care providers

      • Individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines, including local health department staff

      • All Outpatient/Ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care

      • All staff who are in direct contact with patients (i.e., intake staff)

      • All front-line, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including those conducting COVID-19 tests, handling COVID-19 specimens and COVID-19 vaccinations

      • This includes, but is not limited to:

        • Doctors who work in private medical practices and their staff

        • Doctors who work in hospital-affiliated medical practices and their staff

        • Doctors who work in public health clinics and their staff

        • Registered Nurses

        • Specialty medical practices of all types

        • Dentists and Orthodontists and their staff

        • Psychiatrists and Psychologists and their staff

        • Physical Therapists and their staff

        • Optometrists and their staff

        • Pharmacists and Pharmacy Aides

        • Home care workers and aides

        • Hospice workers

        • Personal care aides and consumer-directed personal care workers

        • Other health care or other high-risk essential staff who come into contact with residents/patients working in Long-Term Care Facilities and other long-term, congregate settings overseen by OPWDD, OMH, OCFS, OTDA and OASAS, and residents in congregate living situations, overseen or funded by the OPWDD, OMH, OCFS, OTDA and OASAS.

    • First Responders and Agency Support Staff:
      • State and Local Fire Services, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
      • Police and Investigations employees:
        • State Police, including Troopers
        • State Park Police, DEC Police, Forest Rangers
        • SUNY Police
        • Sheriffs' Offices
        • County Police Departments and Police Districts
        • City, Town, and Village Police Departments
        • Transit or other Public Authority Police Departments
        • State Field Investigators, including DMV, SCOC, Justice Center, DFS, IG, Tax, OCFS, SLA
        • Other Sworn and Civilian Personnel, including Court Officers and Other Police or Peace Officers
      • Public safety and emergency communication personnel, including dispatchers and technicians
      • Certified NYS EMS providers, including but not limited to Certified First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians, Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians, Emergency Medical Technicians – Critical Care, Paramedics, Ambulance Emergency Vehicle Operators, or Non-Certified Ambulance Assistants.
      • As well as support or civilian staff for any of the above Services, Agencies, or Facilities
    • Corrections, Detention, and Probation:
      • State DOCCS Personnel, including correction and parole officers
      • Local Correctional Facilities, including correction officers
      • Local Probation Departments, including probation officers
      • State Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
      • Local Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
    • Educators and Support Staff:
      • P-12 school or school district faculty or staff (includes all teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff, and support staff including bus drivers)
      • Contractor working in a P-12 school or school district (including contracted bus drivers)
      • Licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group childcare
      • In-person college faculty and instructors
    • Child Care Facilities:
      • Employees or Support Staff of licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group childcare setting
    • Public Transit:
      • Airline and airport employees
      • Passenger railroad employees
      • Subway and mass transit employees (i.e., MTA, LIRR, Metro North, NYC Transit, Upstate transit)
      • Ferry service employees
      • Port Authority of New York & New Jersey employees
      • Public bus employees (i.e. Nassau/NICE Bus, Suffolk County Transit, and New York City Buses)
    • Homeless Services:
      • Individuals living in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared with individuals and families who are not part of your household
      • Individuals working (paid or unpaid) in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared by individuals and families who are not part of the same household, in a position where there is potential for interaction with shelter residents
    • Funeral, Coroner and Medical Examiner Staff:
      • County Coroner or Medical Examiner, or employer or contractor thereof who is exposed to infectious material or bodily fluids.
      • Licensed funeral director, or owner, operator, employee, or contractor of a funeral firm licensed and registered in New York State, who is exposed to infectious material or bodily fluids.
  • Making a Vaccination Appointment in Nassau: Please note that due to high demand, NY State’s registration system may not be displaying available appointments at this time.  Appointments are constantly added on a rolling basis. Please come back later if you do not see available times when you first check.

    • Click here for appointments at Walgreens (65+ priority group)

    • Click here for appointments at Northwell Health

    • Click here for appointments at CVS (65+ priority group

  • Enlist to Become a Vaccinator (HERE): The State is encouraging eligible New Yorkers to take the required trainings to become vaccinators and support the State's COVID-19 vaccination program. Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order expanding the eligible pool of trainees who can administer vaccinations at a "POD site" (flexible vaccination sites that can be set up in any community). These include:

    • Licensed practical nurses (LPNs)
    • Pharmacists who are not certified to administer immunizations by SED
    • Midwives who are not certified to administer immunizations by SED
    • Dentists
    • Dental hygienists (*must have been issued a dental hygiene restricted local infiltration anesthesia/nitrous oxide analgesia certificate)
    • Podiatrists
    • Emergency Medical Technicians
    • Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians
    • Students in eligible programs (medicine, nursing, PA, pharmacy, dentistry, podiatry, and midwifery)
  • If you know someone who:

Testing & Health Care (Updated 2/11) Read More

Testing & Health Care

Concerned you might need a test? You don’t need to have symptoms.  You don’t need to be near someone sick.  GET TESTED: Call 1-888-364-3065, or visit the NYSDOH website here. (If you're looking for information on the vaccine, click here, or see the tab selection above this one.)

  • COVID-19 testing is available Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:30pm-8:30pm at the Westbury Health Center (682 Union Avenue, Westbury) and Elmont Health Center (161 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont) by appointment. **All are welcome to call regardless of insurance or immigration status.** 

    • Appointments can be made through the Nassau COVID-19 hotline at 516-396-7500 between 8AM-4PM, Monday through Friday. Service is provided as a partnership between Nassau County and Long Island FQHC.

  • New York State is still operating a drive-through coronavirus test site at Jones Beach State Park (1 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh). Make an appointment by calling the NYS Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

    • CityMD: Uninsured New Yorkers can get a free diagnostic COVID-19 test at any of their urgent care facility. All CityMD locations are offering nasal swab tests seven days a week, and walk-ins are accepted.

    • CVS is also offering self-administered testing at their drive-through locations in Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Mineola, and Westbury. Schedule an appointment online by clicking here.

    • Want to find a test site on your own? New York State has partnered with Google Maps to display testing site results when you search "COVID testing near me" on Google Maps.

    • Please note: If you go to a test site run by New York State, there is never any charge for your test (If you go to a test site operated by local governments, private companies - including pharmacies and medical practices, or not-for-profit organizations, you are advised to check with the testing site and your insurer before being tested to confirm you will not be responsible for any fees associated with your test).

 

  • Remember: Please do not go to your primary care provider’s office, an urgent care center, or to an emergency room without calling first -- unless you are experiencing a medical emergency. This is important in order to protect the safety of health care providers and other patients. 
  • If you have questions about symptoms you are experiencing, or about getting tested for COVID-19, please call your primary care provider or an urgent care center to discuss your situation. If you do not have a primary care provider, please call the 24-hour state hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or 311 to receive assistance.
  • As directed by Governor Cuomo, all New York insurers will waive cost-sharing for coronavirus testing. If you have questions or concerns about health insurance costs related to Coronavirus tests or care, please call the Office of the Attorney General’s Health Care hotline: 1-800-428-9071.
  • PMIS: New York State took the lead by being the first state in the US to issue a formal health advisory defining the criteria for what is now being officially referred to as Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS).  If your child is experiencing symptoms such as prolonged fever, severe abdominal pain, change in skin color, racing heart and chest pain, make sure you call your doctor.  For more information, click here.

 

  • Be an informed participant in your own health care! Review The 5 Steps to Safer Health Care, a helpful resource for individuals and their families who are preparing to navigate the healthcare system. 

 

  • Mammograms and Breast Cancer Support: Amid reports that many people have chosen to postpone preventative cancer screenings and mammograms during the pandemic, we remind residents of safety measures that are in place to protect patients during screenings, and urging residents in Nassau County to continue to receive their annual, potentially life-saving mammograms:

    • The Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program: The NYS Cancer Services Program is still open and providing free or low-cost cancer screening services for anyone who is worried about breast cancer, or who needs support, referrals, information, or other related services.

      • If someone you know feels a lump or a mass and need someone to talk to, please contact Angelica Medina at 516-877-4331 or via email at amedina@adelphi.edu.
      • The Adelphi Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program also has numerous virtual breast cancer support groups available to residents in our community. Read more and pre-register at: https://breast-cancer.adelphi.edu/we-can-help/support-groups/
    • Cancer Services Program of Nassau County provides breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screenings at no cost to men and women who do not have health insurance, and people whose health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of these screenings, regardless of immigration status.  Staying healthy right now doesn’t just mean from coronavirus: please consider getting a cancer screening today in a safe environment with all necessary precautions being taken to protect your health.  For more information, call 516-470-4165, email csp@northwell.edu, or check “Cancer Services Program of Nassau County” on Facebook.

 

  • The Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) Education Center website at https://www.dpcedcenter.org/ is a helpful resource dedicated to improving kidney patients’ quality of life and reducing the impact of End Stage Renal Disease through education and awareness of dialysis and kidney disease issues.  While the website can be translated into multiple languages via Google Translation, there is also a dedicated Spanish language section (https://www.dpcedcenter.org/resources/spanish/) for those who prefer to read content in Spanish.

Housing (Updated 1/2) Read More

Housing (Updated 1/2)

Reminder: The Nassau County Sheriff has been directed to stop all eviction proceedings, and now Governor Cuomo has signed into law the State Legislature's bill to freeze all eviction and foreclosure proceedings until May 1, 2021.  If you are experiencing eviction or harassment, call the Nassau Sheriff's Department at 516-571-2120.

  • NEW for Homeowners, Renters, & Landlords: The COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020

    • On December 28, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed into law the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 (L. 2020, c. 381; “Act”).  The Act provides immediate relief to respondents and defendants in residential eviction proceedings and foreclosure actions in New York State, including, among other things:

      • Staying (freezing) pending residential eviction proceedings (“Proceedings”) and residential real property mortgage foreclosure actions (“Actions”) for sixty days, as well as staying Proceedings and Actions filed within thirty days of December 28, 2020 for sixty days.

      • Publishing “Hardship Declaration" forms to be used by tenant-respondents in eviction matters and defendant-mortgagors in residential foreclosure actions in reporting financial hardship during or due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

        • Renters/Tenants: Hardship Declaration in Eviction Matters: English, and Español (Declaración de Penuria).

        • Homeowners with a Mortgage: Hardship Declaration in Foreclosure Matters: English, and Español (Declaración del Deudor Hipotecario de Penuria Debida al COVID-19).

  • NEW for Renters: New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) announced the COVID Rent Relief Program will be reopened for application with expanded eligibility criteria in an effort to serve New Yorkers who may have not had the opportunity to initially apply and those who may have been previously ineligible. 

    • HCR will accept online applications from households through Monday, February 1, 2021.
    • Throughout the application period, residents who need help or have questions about their application can contact HCR’s COVID Rent Relief Program Call Center for assistance at 1-833-499-0318 or email: covidrentrelief@hcr.ny.gov. Call Center representatives are available Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

    • HCR will also allow to applicants who are unable or uncomfortable applying online to do so over the phone rather than by mail. More information on this assistance and expanded language support on the hotline and will be available on HCR’s website in the coming days.

    • Program eligibility has been changed to no longer require households to have been considered “rent burdened” prior to the pandemic in order to qualify. Rent burden is defined as paying more than 30 percent of monthly gross income towards rent.
    • Residents that previously applied for COVID Rent Relief will not have to reapply to be reconsidered. HCR will re-evaluate all applications that were denied according to the new criteria and issue revised determination letters to applicants.

    • To qualify, renters impacted by the pandemic must meet ALL of the following criteria:

      • Must be a renter and have a primary residence in New York State;

      • Applicants must have lost income during the period of April 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020;

      • Before March 7, 2020, household income must have been at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, adjusted for household size; and

      • Households must be “rent burdened” during the months they are applying for assistance between April 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020. 

      • For the purposes of assessing applicant income, cash benefits and unemployment benefits are both included in the calculation.

  • Homeowners: The State Department of Financial Services has issued a new directive to New York mortgage servicers to provide 90-day mortgage relief (forbearance) to mortgage borrowers impacted by the coronavirus.  Click here for more information.
    • The Federal Housing Finance Agency has also released a new mortgage directive in the wake of coronavirus.  If your ability to pay your mortgage is impacted, and your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you may be eligible to delay making your monthly mortgage payments for a temporary period. Click here for more information.
  • Renters & Landlords: The Governor has issued an executive order putting in place a rent freeze to prohibit rent prices from rising during the coronavirus crisis.  Please contact the Attorney General’s office for more information and to file a report.

Travel Restrictions Read More

Interim Guidance for Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State Following Out of State Travel
(updated 11/19/20)

  • Quarantine Criteria for Travel
    • Generally, all travelers entering New York from a state that is not a contiguous state* (see below), or from a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice country, shall quarantine for a period of 14 days, consistent with Department of Health regulations for quarantine. There is now a two-step exception for travelers who obtain timely testing:

      • For travelers who traveled outside of New York for more than 24 hours, such travelers must
        • (1) obtain testing within 72 hours prior to arrival in New York, AND
        • (2) upon arrival in New York, quarantine according to Department of Health guidelines, for a minimum of 3 days, measured from time of arrival, and on day 4 may seek a diagnostic test to exit quarantine.
        • For travelers that meet the criteria above, the traveler may exit quarantine upon receipt of the second negative test result.
      • *"Contiguous states" are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. Travelers from these states are not subject to this guidance because of the nature of cross-border commerce and activity.
      • Travelers who leave New York State for less than 24 hours do not need to obtain a diagnostic test before departing and do not need to quarantine upon return. However, such travelers must fill out the traveler form upon entry and must obtain a diagnostic test on the fourth day after arrival in New York.
  • Travel Advisory Exceptions for First Responders and Essential Workers​​Exceptions to the travel advisory are permitted for essential workers traveling from a noncontiguous state or Level 2 or Level 3 country and are limited based on the duration of time in New York.
    • Short Term – for first responders and essential workers traveling to New York State for a period of less than 12 hours.
      • This includes instances such as an essential worker passing through New York, delivering goods, awaiting flight layovers, and other short duration activities.
      • Essential workers must stay in their vehicle and/or limit personal exposure by avoiding public spaces as much as possible.
      • Essential workers must monitor temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distance, and clean and disinfect workspaces.
      • Essential workers are required, to the extent possible, to avoid extended periods in public, contact with strangers, and large congregate settings.
    • Medium Term – for first responders and essential workers traveling to New York State for a period of less than 36 hours, requiring them to stay overnight.
      • This includes instances such as an essential worker delivering multiple goods in New York, awaiting longer flight layover, and other medium duration activities.
      • Essential workers must monitor temperature and signs of symptoms, wear a face covering when in public, maintain social distance, and clean and disinfect workspaces.
      • Essential workers are required, to the extent possible, to avoid extended periods in public, contact with strangers, and large congregate settings.
    • Long Term – for first responders and essential workers traveling to New York State for a period
      of greater than 36 hours, requiring them to stay several days.
      • This includes instances such as an essential worker working on longer projects, fulfilling extended employment obligations, and other longer duration activities.
      • Essential workers must seek diagnostic testing for COVID-19 on day 4 after arriving.
      • First responders and essential workers and their employers are expected to comply with previously issued DOH guidance regarding return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the employee had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID19.
      • Additionally, this guidance may be superseded by more specific industry guidance for a particular industry (e.g., for nursing home and adult care facility staff, a negative PCR test result is required before returning to work).
      • Teachers, school employees, and child care workers must quarantine for a minimum of 3 days after returning to New York from a designated state or country due to the nature of education and child care services and the risk and difficulty of adherence to the guidelines that govern such exemptions, and must be tested on day 4 after arriving, pursuant to EO 205.2.
      • Although such workers are essential, the travel advisory exemption for essential workers does not apply to teachers, school employees, or child care workers, due to the sensitivity of these congregate settings.
      • As always, please consult the NYS DOH website and resources for additional details and information regarding isolation procedures for when a person under quarantine is diagnosed with COVID-19 or
        develops symptoms.
         
  • Medical Appointments or Procedures: If you have a health care procedure or appointment scheduled in New York that cannot be postponed, you (and your support person/companion) may travel to the extent necessary to maintain that appointment but must otherwise remain quarantined. For further information, see the Department’s guidance on this topic.
     

DMV Reopening, Licenses & Inspections Read More

Updates from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and changes that impact drivers, are found on the DMV's Reopening Guidance page:

  • Reminder: All driver licenses and permits that expired March 1, 2020, or after continue to be extended by Executive Order at least through January 1, 2021. In addition, the federal REAL ID enforcement deadline has been extended until October 1, 2021. To renew your driver license, please see the DMV's How to Renew a License page.
  • Please Note: December 1, 2020 was the deadline to get your car inspected if it expired earlier during the pandemic. Vehicle registrations - including temporary auto dealer registrations and non-driver identification cards that expired March 1, 2020, or after - and vehicle inspections that expired March 31, 2020 or after, are no longer valid. After that, the NYS DMV reminds that it is illegal to drive with an expired inspection: find an inspection facility near you, or see below for further information on contacting your local DMV.
  • You can make reservations for limited in-person transactions at state-run DMV offices. Reservations will be required and will only be offered for a limited number of critical services that cannot be done online, by mail, or dropbox.
    • DMV offices in the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, and the five boroughs of New York City will continue to process registrations and other transactions by mail, and secure drop boxes located at each office.
    • To make a reservation at state-run DMV offices like those in Nassau County, or for more information about services offered at county-operated offices visit our Office Locations and Reservations page. Many transactions are online.
  • Safety Requirements for State-run DMV offices
    • Only the customer will be allowed in the office unless another person is needed to complete the transaction, for example, a parent/guardian of a minor or an interpreter. All others will be required to wait outside of the office.
    • You must always wear a face covering and maintain 6 feet from others in the office whenever possible. Acceptable face coverings include cloth or surgical masks, N-95 respirators, and face shields.
    • You should not visit a DMV office if you have traveled within 14-days of your visit to a state with significant community spread of COVID-19, as outlined in the travel advisory.  
    • For a current list of restricted states, please see the NYS Department of Health COVID-19 Travel Advisory site.  
  • Updating to REAL ID or Enhanced licenses
    • Limited appointments are now available in state-run DMV offices to upgrade your Standard license or non-driver identification card to a REAL or Enhanced ID when it is due for renewal. You can also renew your current license or non-driver ID online now and upgrade to a REAL ID or an EDL in a DMV office when we resume those services. The federal REAL ID enforcement deadline has been extended one year until October 1, 2021.

Business Resources: COVID-19 & Beyond Read More

 

 

  • New York Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is offering free remote counseling sessions with business advisers. Get assistance with how to start a business, the small-business loan application process and more. You must schedule an appointment, and you can do so by calling at 800-732-7232, or visiting nysbdc.org/appointment.html  

    • ​In addition to business advising, New York SBDCs provide business training to startups, entrepreneurs and small business owners across New York State. Most of their business training is free and focuses on starting or growing an existing small business. Upcoming training topics range from business plan writing, crowdfunding, startup tips, preparing to sell a business, to digital marketing and more.
    • The SBDC has a newsletter highlighting these resources and more, including webinars, the Empire State Digital, National Veterans Small Business Week, and COVID-19 Tax Assistance.
       
  • PSEG-LI is launching a Small Business First program to provide upwards of $2,500 in rebates to upgrade on items like HVAC systems (important for COVID-19 safety) or more efficient lighting, which can help lower electric bills. Learn more about the program and how to apply.
  • If you were unable to attend my recent webinar, “Reinventing Your Small Business in a Reopened Community,” don't worry: you can catch a replay anytime at facebook.com/annamkaplanThe event featured practical advice and a thought-provoking discussion with experts from the US Small Business Administration, the Farmingdale Small Business Development Center, and Empire State Development.  
  • Long Island SCORE in Hauppauge is a nonprofit organization offering free mentoring and educational workshops for entrepreneurs/small business owners. For more information, visit http://longisland.score.org/ or call 631-454-0771 .
  • Unfortunately, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance Program has exhausted its funding, and the SBA will no longer take applications for the $10,000 grants. 
  • The New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership is holding a series of webinars to help Manufacturing Businesses survive our present situation. Check out their archive https://newyorkmep.org/covid19-webinars/
  • Earlier this year, the State launched the New York Forward Loan Fund: a $100 million to provide flexible and affordable loans to help our small businesses, especially MWBEs (Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises) that did not receive federal COVID-19 assistance. 
    • The program is intended to take a smart, targeted approach for distributing these loans, focusing on truly small businesses, with 20 or fewer employees and less than $3 million in gross revenues. 
      • If you’re a small business who did not get federal assistance, you should learn more about this program: esd.ny.gov/nyforwardloans
  • Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth and the entire Town Board unanimously approved resolutions designed to help businesses impacted by COVID-19: The package of legislation will be eligible for a vote on June 18th and includes proposals like refunds for certain building department fees, extended hours for commercial construction, local preference in contracting, and expanded opportunity for outdoor seating for restaurantsFor more information, click here. 
  • The National SBDC (Small Business Development Center) Information Clearing House has extensive, industry-specific resources to help your small business weather the coronavirus outbreak and navigate a safe reopening.  There’s information, guidance, tools, and support for a wide variety of businesses, from restaurants, to retailers, to service businesses, manufacturers, and so much more.  Check it out here.
  • This office has held two webinars of our own on Facebook Live to help local small business owners make sense of the different relief programs that exist to help during this difficult time.  You can watch the replays here.
  • Newsday also hosted a webinar on Helping Long Island Businesses Survive Coronavirus: the latest on the paycheck protection program and economic injury disaster loans.  Click here to watch the webinar.
  • Guidance for determining whether a business enterprise is subject to a workforce reduction under recent executive orders
  • The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) held a webinar on the topic of “Small Business and COVID-19: PPP Loan Forgiveness Explained and Other Questions Answered.  To watch, click here.
  • The US Small Business Administration (SBA) customer service center can be contacted with any questions about SBA disaster assistance by calling 800-659-2955.
  • Hofstra University’s Business Development Center provides education and support to business owners through seminars, workshops, boot camps, and its Entrepreneurship Assistance Center. For more information, visit http://www.hofstra.edu/community/bdc/index.html or contact bdc@hofstra.edu or call 516-463-7214.
  • The Farmingdale Small Business Development Center provides education and support to business owners in Nassau and Suffolk.  Visit farmingdale.edu/sbdc for more information, or call 934-420-2765
  • La Fuerza Unida Community Development Corp. provides economic growth opportunities to low-income, minority and women owned enterprises. It serves Nassau and Suffolk counties. For information about SBA disaster relief, visit https://lafuerzacdc.org/ or call or text 516-666-5071, or email Covid19@Lafuerzacdc.org
  • Long Island Development Corporation in Hauppauge provides low cost loans and technical assistance to help small businesses grow.  For more information, visit www.lidc.org or call 516-433-5000
  • The Main Street Lending Program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is intended to enhance support for small and mid-sized businesses by offering 4-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers or with revenues of less than $2.5 billion.  For more information, visit http://www.uschamber.com/report/guide-the-main-street-lending-program

COVID-19 Moratorium on Utility Shutoffs Read More

  • Has COVID-19 affected your utility payments? A new law provides temporary protections for residential customers, and there are immediate steps you can take to protect your utility service. To learn more, visit NYS Division of Consumer Protection’s website for more information.

  • New York State Public Service Law provides temporary protections for essential utility and municipal services during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you experienced a change of financial circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, utilities and municipalities may not shut off your service for nonpayment, must reconnect your service within 48 hours, and must offer you a deferred payment agreement to pay any balance due.  
  • There are immediate steps you can take to protect your utility service:
    • Contact your service provider:  
      Your first step is always to contact your utility or municipality. Some utilities and municipalities may require you to self-certify that you’ve experienced a change in financial circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect your account from shutoff.
    • Ask for a deferred payment agreement:
      A deferred payment agreement allows you to pay your balance due in affordable, installment payments. Until March 31, 2021, utilities and municipalities are required to offer deferred payment agreements with no money down, late fees or penalties. You may be required to submit a financial statement or documentation to your service provider. You are still responsible for paying your utility or municipality bill during and after the moratorium period.
    • Pay what you can:  
      While your account may be protected from shutoff, you will still be responsible for the charges for service. Paying what you can now will help you avoid a larger bill later. 
    • Don’t wait until it’s too late.  
      These temporary protections are only available until March 31, 2021. The sooner you contact your utility, the sooner your account will be protected from shutoff.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    • Q: Who is eligible for these protections?
      A: Residential customers.

    • Q: What about small business and commercial customers?
      A: The new law does not cover small businesses and commercial customers. However, many utilities are offering assistance to their small businesses and other commercial customers. Contact your utility to inquire.

    • Q: What utility and municipal services are covered?
      A: Electricity, natural gas, steam, landline telephone, and water.

    • Q: Which water systems are covered?
      A: These protections are available to residential customers of private water companies and municipal (water districts, city, town, village) water systems.

    • Q: What about cable, internet, and cell phone service?
      A: These services are not covered by the law. However, you provider may be offering other, similar protections. Contact your provider to inquire.

    • Q: How do I certify to my utility or municipality that I’ve been financially impacted by COVID?
      A: Contact your utility or municipality and explain that you’ve experienced a change in financial circumstances since March 7, 2020 due to COVID-19. Your utility or municipality must accept your self-certification and cannot require you document a job loss, pay cut, unemployment filing or other change in your finances as part of the self-certification.

    • Q: What can I do if my service was shutoff for nonpayment?
      A: Contact your utility or municipality and ask for your service to be turned on. By law, utilities and municipalities must reconnect you within 48 hours until the moratorium expires on March 31, 2021. You can also ask for a deferred payment agreement to help you keep current on your bills.

    • Q: I need help paying my heating bill this winter.
      A: Eligible customers should apply to the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) for help paying their winter heating bills. HEAP opens in November and covers utility and municipal electric and heating services as well as heating oil, propane, and wood. Contact your local Department of Social Services or otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/ for more info.

    • Q: What can I do if my utility does not protect my account?
      A: Your first step is always to contact your utility and try to work it out with them. If you still need help after speaking with your utility, contact the Department of Public Service Helpline at 1-800-342-3377 (Monday-Friday, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm) or www.dps.ny.gov/complaints.

  • For more specific questions and concerns, contact them by email: utility.moratorium@dps.ny.gov

Colleges & Universities Read More

Colleges & Universities

  • The SUNY and CUNY systems have gone to all-remote learning until a DELAYED start to the Spring 2021 semester in February. SUNY adopted a system-wide policy requiring all on-campus students to be tested for COVID-19 prior to Thanksgiving Break. Students had to test negative for COVID-19 within the 10 days prior to leaving campus.

    • Please note: while most of the guidance provided by NYS is dominated by SUNY requirements, private colleges in the state are being strongly encouraged to pattern their plans on the SUNY system.

  • SUNY Comprehensive Plan to Expand Access to Mental Health Services to Every Student
    • The App: Thriving Campus is a HIPAA-compliant web app that is meant to bridge the gap between campus counseling services and local mental health and wellness service providers.
    • Seeing the value of Thriving Campus at Purchase College and SUNY Oswego, SUNY administration has secured funding to expand it system-wide.
    • When campus counseling centers determine that a student needs more specialized, long-term care, the easy-to-access, mobile-friendly Thriving Campus App is meant to facilitate the handoff to a licensed local provider.
    • Providers manage their own profiles, posting up-to-date information on their specializations and time availability. Their profiles are hidden if they are not accepting new patients, breaking down a frequent barrier to services by preventing students from reaching out, being turned down, getting frustrated, and ultimately abandoning their search.
       
  • NYS has launched a SUNY Campus COVID-19 Case Tracker for every campus and community college. 
  • The federal government has announced they will waive the interest on all federal student loans, but this does not mean federal and private student loan payments are being stopped. Please continue to check with your individual lender/school.
  • If you have student loans and need guidance, the Community Service Society EDCAP program is providing remote counseling services to help you.
    • The helpline is available Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm at 1-888-614-5004. You can also visit edcapny.org for more info.

Movie Theaters Read More

Movie Theaters on Long Island Were Able to Open Again as of October 23, 2020, but with new safety rules. What are the details?

Movie theaters in counties outside of New York City that have a COVID-19 positivity rate below 2% on a 14-day rolling average and that do not currently contain any cluster zones may reopen in accordance with New York State guidance.

Many of you may have questions about the reopening requirements for theaters. The following is a summary of newly issued New York State regulations and guidelines. For further information, Governor Cuomo's office has provided a checklist.

Mandatory Movie Theatre Guidelines for Employers and Employees from the State:

  • Physical Distancing, including:
    • “Ensure that the workforce and patron presence in any movie theater is limited to no more than 25% of the maximum capacity, inclusive of employees and patrons, both of whom must only be permitted entry into the movie theater if they wear an acceptable face covering at all times (except while eating or drinking, during which time they must be seated), provided that they are over age 2 and able to medically tolerate such covering.”
    • “Limit the capacity of any individual movie showing or screening to the lesser of 25% of the maximum occupancy or 50 people, as of October 19, 2020.”
    • “For any food services, operate in accordance with DOH’s ‘Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Food Services,’ and discontinue food/beverage self-service (e.g., condiments, soda) and only allow employee served food/beverages at concessions areas.”

 

  • Protective Equipment, including:
    • “Ensure that employees and patrons are only permitted entry into the movie theater (both the overall facility and individual theaters) if they wear an acceptable face covering, provided that they are over age 2 and able to medically tolerate such covering.”
    • “Ensure that individuals wear a face covering at all times, except when eating or drinking, during which time they must be seated.”
    • Provide employees with an acceptable face covering at no cost to the employee.
    • Acceptable face coverings include, but are not limited to, cloth (e.g., homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana), surgical masks, N95 respirators, and face shields.

 

  • Air Filtration and Building Systems, including:
    • “Ensure central HVAC system filtration meets the highest rated filtration compatible with the currently installed filter rack and air handling systems, at a minimum MERV-13, or equivalent or greater (e.g. HEPA), as applicable, and as documented by a certified HVAC technician, professional, or company, ASHRAE-certified professional, certified retro-commissioning professional, or New York licensed professional building engineer.”

 

  • Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfection, including:
    • Adhere to hygiene and sanitation requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH); maintain logs that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.
    • Provide and maintain hand hygiene stations on site, including handwashing with soap, running warm water, and paper towels, as well as an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol for areas where handwashing is not feasible.

 

  • Communication, including:
    • Post signage inside and outside of the movie theater to remind employees and patrons to adhere to proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate use of PPE, and cleaning and disinfection protocols.

 

  • Screening, including:
    • Implement mandatory health screening practices for employees and, where practicable, contractors and vendors, but such screening shall not be mandated for patrons and delivery personnel.

 

Best Practices Recommended by the State of New York include:

  • Where possible, minimize the number of groups seated in each row to avoid close contact when individuals leave to use the restroom or go to the concession area.
  • Have employees direct or guide patrons to their seats to ensure adherence to social distancing requirements and avoid any unnecessary congestion.
  • Leave the lights on in the theater for as long as possible before the showing/screening so that patrons can be seated according to social distancing requirements.
  • Close common seating areas (e.g., in lobbies) that are not within the theater.
  • Minimize the handling of cash, credit cards, reward cards, and mobile devices, where possible.
  • Encourage patrons to purchase tickets in advance online or through mobile application, as applicable and practicable.
  • Modify the use and/or restrict the number of workstations and employee seating areas to maintain 6 ft. of distance in all directions. If not feasible, enact physical barriers (e.g. plastic shielding walls), in accordance with OSHA guidelines, in areas where they would not impair air flow, heating, cooling, or ventilation.
  • Clearly designate separate entrances and exits, where possible.
  • Place signage near hand sanitizer stations indicating that visibly soiled hands should be washed with soap and water; hand sanitizer is not effective on visibly soiled hands.
  • Place receptacles around the movie theater for disposal of soiled items, including PPE.
  • Perform screening remotely (e.g. by telephone or electronic survey), before individuals report to the movie theater, to the extent possible. Temperature checks may also be conducted per U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission or DOH guidelines.

 

See: "Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Movie Theaters" for further details on specific regulations and best practices.

Please note:

  • These guidelines apply to all movie theaters permitted to operate; these guidelines do not apply to drive-in movie theaters, live performances, or performing arts venues.
  • During the COVID-19 public health emergency, all owners and operators of movie theaters should stay up to date with any changes to state and federal requirements related to movie theater activities and incorporate those changes into their operations.
  • This guidance is not intended to replace any existing applicable local, state, and federal laws, regulations, and standards.

Child Care Providers Read More

Child Care Providers

Resources for Parents and Expecting Parents Read More

Resources for Parents and Expecting Parents

  • Adelphi University has an Institute for Parenting "Warmline" (calls are returned Mondays & Thursdays) for parents, caregivers, and educators of young children (ages 0-6) who have questions regarding babies' and young children's development and wellbeing, especially in times of heightened stress. Your call will be returned by an infant and early childhood specialist from the Institute for Parenting at Adelphi University. Contact: 516-515-1948. 
  • Expecting mothers understandably are experiencing a lot of fear and concern right now, and to help address their concerns and get answers to their questions, Northwell Health has set up a hotline for expecting parents. If you’ve got questions, call: 833-487-2273.
  • New York State will provide child care scholarships to essential workers. Child care costs will be covered for essential staff whose income is less than 300% of the federal poverty level — or $78,600 for a family of four. Essential workers (including health care providers, law enforcement, food delivery workers, grocery store employees and others) can use these scholarships to pay for their existing care arrangement.If an essential worker needs child care, they can use the below link to begin the application process (select by language spoken)

 

Below, you can find some helpful Online Education Resources to supplement your child's online learning: 

 

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Resources Read More

Mental Health° and Substance Abuse* Resources

The outbreak of the coronavirus is a source of significant stress, anxiety and fear for many people, potentially causing overwhelming emotions in adults and children. If you begin to feel these or related emotions, please reach out to friends, family, or the resources below. We are all in this together.

  • LICADD 24/7 Substance Use Hotline*: 516-747-2606 or 631-979-1700 (secure video sessions available), 
  • Long Island Crisis Center 24/7 Crisis Hotline°: 516-679-1111, 
  • Family & Children's Association°*: 516-746-0350
  • RESPONSE Suffolk Crisis Hotline°: 631-751-7500
  • Central Nassau Guidance & Counseling Services°*: 516-822-6111
  • DASH (Diagnostic Assessment and Stabilization Hub)°*: 631-952-3333
  • Mobile Crisis Intervention Team for Adults and Children°: 516-227-8255
  • Phone and Online AA Meetings*
  • SMART Recovery Online Community*
  • NA Meetings Online*
  • The State’s volunteer mental health hotline° is available for anyone who wants to call and make an appointment to talk to a professional, free of charge. We’re all going through a lot right now, and there are people who are standing by to help you through it. Call 844-863-9314
  • In order to ensure New Yorkers have equitable access to critical mental health and substance abuse treatment, Governor Cuomo and the NY Department of Financial Services issued proposed regulations that would improve access to coverage for services and safeguard all New Yorkers rights under state and federal parity laws. For more information, visit Governor Cuomo’s website.  
  • Headspace has teamed up with the New York Governor’s Office to offer free meditation and mindfulness content, curated specifically for the people of New York. To access this offering, please simply visit headspace.com/ny.
  • Long Island’s two leading, county-based mental health organizations have begun offering online bereavement support groups designed to provide comfort, support, and “grief tools” to those who have lost loved ones to the COVID-19 virus. For more information and to register, go to www.bereavement.mhaw.org.
  • Opioid overdoses have skyrocketed since the pandemic began, so knowing how to stop an overdose and save a life is more important than ever.  While in-person opioid overdose prevention trainings may be on pause for a while, you can now do it remotely just like everything else these days. Check out the NYS Community Calendar of Opioid Overdose Prevention Trainings to learn more: https://nyoverdose.org/Home/Calendar

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Read More

Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault

Amid an uptick in domestic violence incidents, NYS has launched a new 24/7 texting program and confidential online service to help abuse victims safely interact with the Domestic Violence hotline without being overheard by their abuser. If you’re in an unsafe situation, know that you’re not alone, and you’re not trapped. There is help—text 844-997-2121 or visit opdv.ny.gov.  

The Safe Center LI provides the following services to anyone in need:

  • 24/7 Hotline for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, always operational and answered by a live person at 516-542-0404
  • Ongoing Legal, Counseling, Advocacy, and Case Management (services will be continue remotely)
  • The Child Advocacy Center is always operational to assist children and families
  • As Nassau County’s only domestic violence shelter, it will remain open during the pandemic.
  • For more information on The Safe Center, please visit:  http://www.tscli.org/
  • Thanks to the support of Uber, Nassau County residents who need to escape a dangerous situation, or access support services, will have one less thing to worry about when seeking help:
    • Anyone in need can call The Safe Center’s 24/7 hotline at 516-542-0404, and operators will deploy an Uber to their location to bring them to a safe shelter or someplace else in order to access services, and the caller’s privacy will always be protected by personnel at the hotline.

Consumer Protection Tips Read More

Consumer Protection Tips 

Price Gouging

  • If you become aware of any stores that may be price gouging on items such as cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer, please call the State Division of Consumer Protection at 1-800-697-1220 or call 311 to file a complaint. Report incidents of price gouging in Nassau County by email to: pricegouging@nassaucountyny.gov
  • New York Attorney General Leticia James has created a dedicated price gouging complaint form specifically for offenses related to coronavirus.  

 

Scams

Unfortunately, there are people who are seeking to exploit our crisis in order to scam people in our community.  Please be vigilant and visit the following resources to learn more about the types of scams that exist, and how to avoid them.

Employment Protections and Assistance Read More

Employment Protections and Assistance

The New York State Department of Labor administers unemployment insurance benefits for New York State, and their website is a great first-stop if you're looking for answers to questions about unemployment benefits.

As Long Island continues to reopen, the New York State Department of Labor Jobs Express Website has a growing number of positions available in our region, with over thousands of jobs available in a number of different fields from businesses looking to hire immediately. Visit the Jobs Express website at jobs.ny.gov to check out what’s available. 

The CARES/HEROES Act

 

  • HEROES ACT: The House of Representatives has passed a COVID-19 stimulus bill called the HEROES Act. This proposal calls for more than $3 trillion in aid to state and local governments, increases testing, extends unemployment insurance and provides for expansion of voting by mail.

    • The bill also proposes to give Americans another $1,200 in direct payments and additional mortgage relief. While the bill will likely pass the House, it will have an uphill battle in the US Senate. However, it is vital that state and local governments which have been devastated by the effects of this virus be given financial assistance in order for them to continue to fund basic public services including education, police and fire departments, road maintenance and sanitation services. I am hopeful that reason prevails, and this bill does not fall victim to another series of partisan divides. New York cannot wait any longer!
  • The federal CARES Act was signed into law March 27, 2020 after passing both houses of Congress.
    • The Act provides enhanced UI benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for New Yorkers. 
      • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides payment to workers not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (including people who are self-employed, independent contractors, workers with limited work history and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus emergency.  For more information, click here.
         

Coronavirus Emergency Paid Sick Leave Bill 

  • On March 19, 2020, the State Legislature passed an emergency bill to enact paid sick leave for New Yorkers facing quarantine due to exposure to the virus, and waiving the 7-day waiting period for unemployment insurance. Effective immediately, employees in New York subjected to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation are eligible for some form of paid leave. Sick leave for coronavirus will not be charged against existing accrued sick leave. 

 

​Who does this apply to? 

  • Employers with 10 or fewer workers - unpaid sick leave until the termination of the emergency order. Eligible for paid family leave program ($840.70 per week) with any difference made up by disability insurance program (up to $2,043 per week). 
  • Employers with between 11 and 99 employees, also includes high earning small employers - 5 days paid sick leave 
  • Employers with 100 or more employees and all public employers - 14 days of paid sick leave during the order.  

To find out if you are eligible, and to apply for paid quarantine leave if you are, call 1-888-364-3065 or visit https://www.governor.ny.gov/programs/paid-sick-leave-covid-19-impacted-new-yorkers
 

Additional Employment Protections and Resources: 

  • NYS is waiving the 7-Day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to Coronavirus closures or quarantines. You can apply for UI benefits here
  • The legislature passed a new law to provide death benefits for public frontline workers who died from COVID-19 during the state of emergency: See the bill here.
  • Workers in New York State have up to 10 weeks of paid leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition. This leave may not be used for your own health condition. For more information, please visit the NYS Paid Family Leave resource site or call the Paid Family Leave toll-free helpline at (844)337-6303. 
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if you have a serious health condition or are caring for a family member with a serious health condition. You must have worked for your employer for a year and your employer must have 50 or more employees. For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • If you are sick, you may also be able to request unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation under laws that prohibit disability discrimination. For more information, please visit the NYS Division of Human Rights
  • If you have questions about your rights in the workplace or if you believe your employment protections have been violated, including violations of workforce reduction mandates and essential business guidance, please contact the OAG’s Labor Bureau: 212-416-8700.
  • Short term disability insurance is potentially available to workers who take time off due to illness. For more information, please visit the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board
  • Attorney General Letitia James’ office is closely monitoring the treatment of employees across the state as the workforce reduction mandates go into effect, and she’s publicized a hotline and email address for anyone to report a violation of existing state labor laws or any recent executive orders that are potentially putting workers in harm's way. Her office can be reached is 212-416-8700 or by email at labor.bureau@ag.ny.gov

Student and Medical Debt Relief Read More

Student and Medical Debt Relief

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James has temporarily suspended medical and student debt collections referred to her office amid the coronavirus crisis for at least 30 days.
  • New Yorkers with non-medical or non-student debt owed to the State of New York and referred to the OAG, may also apply to temporarily halt the collection of state debt. Individuals seeking to apply for this temporary relief can fill out an application online or visit the OAG's coronavirus website to learn more about the suspension of payments. If an individual is unable to fill out the online form, they can also call the OAG hotline at 1-800-771-7755 to learn more.

Food Assistance, Local Restaurant and Supermarket Promotions Read More

Food Assistance, Local Restaurant and Supermarket Promotions

Utilities Read More

Utilities

  • The governor has announced that more than $328 million in home heating aid is now available for low- and middle-income New Yorkers who need assistance keeping their homes warm during the coming winter season.
    • Applications are now being accepted for the Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides federal funding to assist homeowners and renters with their heating costs during the cold weather months. HEAP may be able to help you if you heat your home with: oil, natural gas, electricity, or propane.  Find out more or apply online: here.
    • Eligible homeowners and renters may receive assistance of up to $741 from HEAP, overseen by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, depending on income, household size and how they heat their home. A family of four may have a maximum gross monthly income of $5,019 or an annual gross income of $60,226 and still qualify for benefits, which is a modest increase from the previous year's threshold. 
    • If you'd rather not apply online, applications for assistance are accepted at local departments of social services in person or by telephone, with funding provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The following are Nassau County HEAP contacts:
      • Nassau County Department of Social Services
        60 Charles Lindbergh Boulevard
        Uniondale, NY 11553
        Phone: (516) 227-8519
        Days Open: Monday - Friday
      • Nassau County Office for the Aging
        60 Charles Lindbergh Boulevard
        Uniondale, NY 11553
        Phone: (516) 227-7386
        Days Open: Monday - Friday
      • EAC (Education & Assistance Corp.)
        175 Fulton Avenue, 4th floor
        Hempstead, NY 11550
        Phone: (516) 565-4327
        Days Open: Monday - Friday
         
  • New York State Public Service Law provides temporary protections for essential utility and municipal services during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you experienced a change of financial circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, utilities and municipalities may not shut off your service for nonpayment, must reconnect your service within 48 hours, and must offer you a deferred payment agreement to pay any balance due.
  • There are immediate steps you can take to protect your utility service:
    • Contact your service provider: Your first step is always to contact your utility or municipality. Some utilities and municipalities may require you to self-certify that you’ve experienced a change in financial circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect your account from shutoff.
    • Ask for a deferred payment agreement: A deferred payment agreement allows you to pay your balance due in affordable, installment payments. Until March 31, 2021, utilities and municipalities are required to offer deferred payment agreements with no money down, late fees or penalties. You may be required to submit a financial statement or documentation to your service provider. You are still responsible for paying your utility or municipality bill during and after the moratorium period.
    • Pay what you can: While your account may be protected from shutoff, you will still be responsible for the charges for service. Paying what you can now will help you avoid a larger bill later.
    • Don’t wait until it’s too late. These temporary protections are only available until March 31, 2021. The sooner you contact your utility, the sooner your account will be protected from shutoff.
       
  • Utility companies (PSEG LI, National Grid, and local water authorities) have been ordered to maintain service - even if an account becomes delinquent. Additionally, there is a moratorium on all new rate increases during the crisis.  An explanation of your rights under the Executive Order can be found here.
    • If you experience a service shut-off, please let my office know by calling 516-746-5924 or emailing kaplan@nysenate.gov, and contact the Department of Public Services (DPS) here.

Public Transportation Read More

Public Transportation

  • Nassau Inter-County Express / NICE Bus: Per Governor Cuomo's order: Passengers are REQUIRED to wear a face mask or face covering while on the bus for the safety of other riders and operators.  Any passenger not wearing a mask may be refused service. NICE has provided their updated cleaning, precautions, and response policy online.

    • NEW: The NICE GoMobile app allows you to buy tickets anywhere, anytime in just seconds, without having to touch more than your phone. It's the quick and easy way to pay your fare, while reducing contact with public surfaces.
    • UPDATE: The Shore Road Shuttle pilot service is now known as the Port Washington Shuttle, offering weekday commuter service for Soundview and W. Shore Road to/from the Port Washington LIRR station. 
      • This innovative pilot service provides morning and evening PEAK commuter service for Soundview area residents to the Port Washington LIRR. The shuttle then continues its mid-day service along West Shore Road servicing Roslyn businesses surrounding the Clock Tower, Industrial Park and Fairway Drive, among other established stops.
  • The Long Island Rail Road has resumed regular service, except on weekends for Third Rail Project construction. Please see the MTA's "Traveling safely during the coronavirus pandemic" page for further information on COVID-19 precautions.

Resources for Frontline Healthcare Professionals Read More

Resources for Frontline Healthcare Professionals

  • Health care workers can text “NYFRONTLINE” to 741-741 for access to 24/7 emotional support services from NYS.
  • Hotels in our area are offering discounting rates for healthcare professionals during the coronavirus crisis.  Click here for more information.
  • And most of all, our community says "THANK YOU!" for your work during this difficult year.

Nursing Homes, Long Term Care, & Senior Centers Read More

Nursing Homes, Long Term Care Facilities, & Senior Centers

  • The State Health Department has concluded an in-depth analysis of Covid-19 data from the state’s nursing homes in an effort to learn for the future from what took place during the earliest days of the pandemic.  ­­The study demonstrated that Covid fatalities in nursing homes were related to infected nursing home staff, and that, like in other congregate settings such as workplaces, hospitals, and houses of worship, asymptomatic carriers helped the virus to spread quickly throughout the facilities.  The report details extensive findings with significant supporting data, and I can’t do it justice by summarizing it in just one paragraph, so if you’re interested in learning more about this topic, I strongly encourage you to learn more about the study and its findings or read the report it in its entirety.

  • Starting July 20th, New York began to allow visits to nursing homes and long-term care facilities on a limited basis. Visits will be allowed at facilities that have been free of new Covid-19 cases for at least 28 days in alignment with CDC guidance. There will be a limit of two visitors able to visit a resident at a time, with one of them being at least 18 years old, and all visitors must undergo a temperature check upon entry, wear a mask, and practice social distancing.   

On March 20, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced Matilda's Law to protect NYers aged 70+ and those with compromised immune systems. The guidelines are as follows: 

  • Do not go to the homes of your relatives or homes with multiple people in them.
  • Limit visits in your own home to immediate family members or close friends for emergency purposes only. 
  • Any visitors to your home should be screened for fever before being allowed to enter.
  • Everyone in the home of a senior or vulnerable person (including the vulnerable person themselves) should wear a mask for the duration of the visit.
  • Engage only in solitary outdoor exercise activities (taking a walk, etc.)
  • Stay home unless necessary to obtain supplies, medical care, or emergency services.

Additionally, please find the below resources for Seniors: 

  • LICC Senior Helpline: 516-679-0000
  • RSVP Suffolk Senior Reassurance Line: 631-979-9490
  • Circulo de la Hispanidad, Inc – Project SALVA 24/7 Billingual Domestic Violence Hotline: (516) 889-2849
  • Nassau County Department of Senior Citizen Affairs Senior HELP-LINE Available Monday-Friday 9am-5pm: (516) 227-8900
  • Supervisor Bosworth and the Town of North Hempstead launched a new program to provide our seniors with remote companionship during these isolating times.  The “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program matches volunteers with seniors in the Project Independence program, and is designed to provide a sense of reassurance and comfort.  To participate or to volunteer, call 311 or 516-869-6311.​
  • The Alzheimer's Association is running support groups via telephone/webinar, as well as a 24/7 hotline for those in need.  For more information, call (800) 272-3900 or click here.

 

Governor Cuomo announced efforts to provide further oversight of the conditions inside New York’s nursing homes. The State DOH and Attorney General Tish James will be reviewing compliance with all DOH directives, CDC directives, and executive orders, and will inspect any facilities found out of compliance with any of these rules, including staffing policies, family/resident notification policies, staff safety provisions, and policies around usage of PPE.

  • Are you concerned that a family member of yours isn't getting proper care in a nursing home? If so, we encourage you to file a complaint by calling 833-249-8499 or by visiting www.ag.ny.gov/nursinghomes.

 

Island Harvest has launched a free food package distribution program specifically to help out our seniors in need.  Food packages include items like cereal, rice, pasta, beans, canned vegetables and fruits, canned proteins, cheese, shelf-stable milk, juice, peanut butter, and soup.  To qualify, you must be 60 or over, a NY State resident (US & Non-US citizens are eligible) and verify your income.  To see if you qualify, contact marilyn@islandharvest.org or call 631-873-4775

In order to help our seniors during this difficult time, the Town of North Hempstead has waived all Project Independence taxi ride fees for regular food shopping, medical appointments, and COVID testing during the pandemic, and they have expanded the shopping program to seven days per week, town-wide. TONH Residents can call 311 to make an appointment.

Veterans Read More

Veterans 

  • New York State Division of Veterans' Services (DVS) offices are re-opening across the state. For the safety of all involved, they have new operating procedures in place, including:

    • Create an appointment for an online consultation (though in-person can be done upon request)
    • Wear PPE or face coverings during in-person visits, maintain social distancing, and be ready for temperature checks
    • You can contact DVS in the following ways:
      • Send an email with your name, county, contact information, and brief description of your concern to DVSInfo@veterans.ny.gov
      • Call 888.838.7697 to speak to a representative to assist you
      • Contact your Veterans Benefits Advisor by phone or email, if you are already working with one, or
      • You can always call our District Office at 516-746-5924 for further guidance or assistance.
  • The Nassau County Veterans Services Agency is continuing to provide critical services to our county's heroes.  If you are a Vet in need, please do not hesitate to call the VSA at 516-572-6565. 

    • Counseling services for veterans will take place over the phone
    • Transportation services will continue to drive Veterans to important medical procedures.
      • Vehicles are thoroughly cleaned before and after each trip. 
  • Nassau County's "Vet Mart" food pantry is open to vets in need, and now has a drive-up program. If you can't pick up, volunteers can come to you. The pantry is located at 2201 Hempstead Turnpike, Building Q, on the campus of Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, and is open Monday-Friday from 9 AM to 12 PM. Contact: 516-572-6526

How You Can Help Read More

How You Can Help

  • The Nassau Veterans Association is in need of drivers to help with deliveries and transportation services. Call 516-572-6565 for more info. 
  • New York State is seeking highly trained technologists to assist with our Covid-19 Technology SWAT team. Individuals from leading global technology companies are being deployed across high-impact and urgent coronavirus response activities across a range of functions, including Web/Mobile Development, Data Science/Analytics, End User Support and Digital Content Strategy. Individuals, technology companies, universities, nonprofits, research labs, and other organizations with technology expertise are invited to submit an expression of interest. Learn more at https://www.ny.gov/programs/new-york-state-covid-19-technology-swat-team
  • In order to help research effective treatments for Coronavirus, plasma donations are needed from people who tested positive for coronavirus but have since resolved and gotten better. Your plasma will be used to help save lives of ill patients using the convalescent plasma method, and you can learn more and donate by visiting https://www.nybc.org/donate-blood/convalescent-plasma/
  • The State established a new partnership with the New York State Court System to create a pro bono network of volunteer lawyers to provide New Yorkers in need with free legal assistance. Volunteers will begin to receive training and start offering assistance next week. Lawyers interested in volunteering can sign up at www.nysba.org/covidvolunteer
  • To help support our First Responders, New York created the First Responders Fund. The fund will assist COVID-19 health care workers and first responders with expenses and costs, including child care. The State Department of Health is accepting donations for the fund, and received an anchor $10 million contribution from Blackstone. Donations can be made electronically at www.healthresearch.org/donation-form.
  • If you see people putting themselves and others at risk of infection by defying the Governor’s executive orders, the Nassau Police urge you to contact shutdownenforcement@nassaucountyny.gov or call Nassau County Fire Communications - Firecom on their 24/7 hotline at 516-742-3170 for a more urgent situation.
    • The Governor increased the maximum fine for violations of the state’s social distancing protocols from $500 to $1,000.  If you would like to report a violation of social distancing protocols, call 1-833-789-0470.
  • Amid a shortage of personal protective equipment — or PPE — products in the state, including gloves, masks and gowns, the Governor is asking all PPE product providers to sell to the state any products that are not essential or not currently being used. Businesses interested in selling products to the state should contact Simonida Subotic at 646-522-8477 or covid19supplies@exec.ny.gov.
  • The Governor is encouraging any company with the proper equipment or personnel to begin to manufacture PPE products if possible. The state is willing to provide funding to any company to obtain the proper equipment and personnel. Businesses interested in receiving state funding to manufacture PPE products should contact Eric Gertler at 212-803-3100 or covid19supplies@exec.ny.gov.
  • NYS is accepting donations of essential goods, services, and spaces to support New York’s response to the coronavirus public health emergency. For more information, click here.
  • New York Blood Center is reporting critical shortages of donated blood, which is becoming even more important during this national emergency. If you are unsure if you can donate, but would like to, call the NYBC experts at 800-688-0900 or visit nybloodcenter.org for more information.
  • RXR Realty has created a platform called RXR Volunteer, where accountants, attorneys, consultants and others with important skill sets, can offer their services to small business owners, non-profit leaders and others trying to navigate through our present crisis.  The site is currently open to volunteers and those seeking help.  Click here for more information.
  • Frontline Foods is now in Nassau County and they need donations to do their great work supporting our local restaurants and our healthcare heroes. This innovative nonprofit organization takes your 100% tax-deductible donation, uses it to purchase food at local restaurants in our community, and brings the food to our healthcare heroes in local hospitals. Visit https://www.frontlinefoods.org/nassaucounty to learn more and make a donation.
  • The Village of Flower Hill has established a Volunteer Corps with the goal of identifying village residents who may not be able to get their own food, supplies, or need other assistance during the crisis, and to help them. For any Flower Hill resident in need of assistance, or any resident interested in volunteering, contact 516-627-5000 or email them: volunteer@villageflowerhill.org .

Stay Connected Read More

Stay Connected

While we are all doing our best to ensure that we practice effective physical distancing, it's important that we remain socially connected. Below are some virtual activities for you to engage in to keep healthy both physically and mentally during this difficult time.

 

  • Organize weekly virtual hangout sessions with family and friends where you watch a movie, drink tea, talk about life and helpful coping mechanisms, play games and enjoy each others’ company!
  • Sign up for Senator Anna M. Kaplan’s Coronavirus Update Emails here.
  • Remember to virtually celebrate important milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, test grades and more.
  • The Adelphi Breast Cancer Program is hosting numerous online self-help programs, including a four-week Paths To Wellness Online Series and a six-week Art Therapy Support Group.  For more information, visit the Adelphi Breast Cancer Program website here.
  • Subscribe to one (or more) of our fabulous local news publications.  For a list of community newspapers serving our area, click here
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is hosting weekly Virtual Creativity Exhibits. To learn more and to participate, click here.
  • The Herstory Writers Workshop is offering free community workshops in English and Spanish for students, as well as parents, grandparents, and guardians, helping empower you to find your voice and raise it up. If you’re already an avid writer, or you’ve never taken the journey on your own, now is a great time to explore your story. Learn more at http://www.herstorywriters.org/online-workshops-for-our-time.

Pet and Animal Care Read More

Pet and Animal Care

Below are some helpful tips and information for keeping your fur-family members healthy and safe during this time. 

  • Please refer to the Interim Guidance for Animal Care Operations for important information regarding essential animal care services
  • Veterinarian practices are allowed to resume full operations statewide.
  • North Shore Animal League: Temporarily closed to the public but accepting pre-approved adoptions on an appointment basis. The Veterinary Medical Center remains open for sick and emergency patients only. All routine check-ups will be postponed/rescheduled.
  • Ensure you have enough food and treats for your four-legged family member! Online distributors and pet retailers remain open for these needs.
  • Have an emergency plan in place in case you can no longer care for your animal at this time. This includes stocking a bag with food, medicine/chip information, a picture of your animal, contact information for yourself and who your designated caregiver is.
  • Consider fostering an animal! Contact your local shelter to see if they are in need of foster homes during this difficult time.  To find animal shelters in your area, click here.
  • The Nassau County SPCA has launched a Coronavirus Hotline for Pet owners. The hotline will help pet owners get information they need, as well as help find important resources for their pets, including accessing pet food, medical services, temporary shelter, and supplemental care. Call 516-843-7722 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for assistance.

 

​Considerations for coronavirus patients under home care and isolation who have pets or other animals: 

  • Let your public health point of contact know that you have pets or other animals in your home.
  • Limit interaction with pets and other animals. Specifically, while symptomatic, maintain separation from pets as you would with other household members.
  • Service animals are permitted to remain with their handlers. 
  • Designate another household member to care for pets in the home. If this is not possible, ensure good hand washing before and after caring for pets.