COVID-19 Community Resource Page

Senator Kevin Thomas

March 26, 2020

COVID-19 Community Resource Page

Dear Neighbor,

Welcome to my COVID-19 Community Resource Page. Simply click the name of the topic you are interested in below, and you will find a drop-down of updated information, links, and resources related to that topic.

If you cannot find what you are looking for, please get in touch with my Office by emailing thomas@nysenate.gov, or calling 516-739-1700. My staff and I are here to help! 

We will get through this together, and I am with you every step of the way. 

Stay safe and be well, 

Senator Kevin Thomas 

Latest Updates Read More

LAST UPDATED: 3/30/2020 1:00 PM

New York State

  • New York State on PAUSE: 100% of the workforce must stay home, excluding essential services. Exemptions from the order include shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions. For guidance on whether your business is subject to this workforce reduction order, or to request designation as an essential business, please go to ESD Guidance on Essential Businesses (esd.ny.gov). 
  • The presidential primary election will move from April 28 to June 23rd, aligning it with the congressional and legislative primaries in New York.
  • The USNS Comfort has arrived in New York, bringing a capacity of 1,000 hospital beds and 1,200 personnel to help increase hospital capacity in New York City. 
  • Pharmacies have agreed to offer free home delivery to help reduce long lines for prescriptions at their facilities.
  • Statewide school closures are extended by two weeks until April 15.
  • The commissioner of the NYS Department of Labor signed an order that limits all work search activities for claimants of unemployment insurance. No work search activities will be required during the pandemic. For more info, and to apply for unemployment insurance benefits, visit labor.ny.gov
  • All non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason are temporarily banned.
  • Department of Motor Vehicles offices are temporarily closed for in-office visits. Online transactions, including for license renewals, are still be available. License and permit expirations will be extended. 
  •  Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo moved the deadline to file state income tax returns to July 15 from April 15 to ease the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak on New Yorkers. 
  • Casinos, gyms, theaters, retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys are closed until further notice. Bars and restaurants are closed, but takeout can be ordered during the period of closure.
  • Extra precautions are in place for New Yorkers aged 70+ and those who are immunocompromised. These individuals are advised to remain indoors, pre-screen all visitors by taking their temperature, wear a mask in the company of others, stay at least 6 feet from others, refrain from taking public transportation unless urgent and absolutely necessary. 
  • More than 10,000 professional Mental Health Volunteers have signed up to provide free online mental health services.
  • 62,000 healthcare workers, including retirees and students, have signed up to volunteer to work as part of the state's surge healthcare force during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Federal Action 

  • The US Senate passed a financial relief bill totaling over $2 trillion that will include expanded unemployment benefits, small business job retention loans, direct payments to individuals, and more.
  • How much will you get under the federal stimulus plan? (Calculator from Newsday)
  • President Trump announced Thursday that the USNS Comfort Hospital Ship, which has 1,000 beds, is heading to New York weeks earlier than anticipated, and is expected to arrive in New York harbor on Sunday. The ship will not be used to treat people diagnosed with COVID-19. Instead, it will relieve the burden on city hospitals by taking in patients requiring surgeries and other critical care.
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the deadline for acquiring a Real ID by one year, to Oct. 1, 2021, The previous deadline for acquiring the secure identification had been the beginning of this October, but the closing of Department of Motor Vehicle offices in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic led DHS to extend the deadline.

General Information, FAQs, and Hotlines Read More

Testing and Health Care Read More

The following are guidelines that are important to follow in order to help prevent further spread of the coronavirus:

If you have questions about symptoms you are experiencing, or about getting tested for the coronavirus, 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 of March 17, 2020, a drive-through COVID-19 test site has been opened at Jones Beach State Park. In order to get tested, you must have an appointment. For more information, please call the New York State Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

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. 

As directed by Governor Cuomo, all New York insurers will waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing. If you have questions or concerns about health insurance costs related to COVID-19 tests or care, please call the Office of the Attorney General’s Health Care hotline: 1-800-428-9071.

On March 16, 2020, New York State Department of Financial Services announced a special healthcare enrollment period for uninsured New Yorkers. Read more at https://on.ny.gov/2Uej4fU.  For more information about the NY State of Health Marketplace, please visit: https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/  or call Customer Service at 1-855-355-5777, TTY: 1-800-662-1220 or find an enrollment assistor.

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. 

Schools and Child Care Programs Read More

Pre-K - 12 Schools

Beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, schools in Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk will close for at least two weeks. Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order that eliminates the aid penalty for schools directed to close by state or local officials or those closed under a state or local declaration of emergency that do not meet 180-day requirements if they are unable to make up school days. On March 27, Governor Cuomo announced that date will be moved back to April 15th. 

​Colleges

State University of New York and the City University of New York will implement plans to maximize distance learning and reduce in-person classes, beginning March 19, 2020, for the remainder of the Spring semester in light of the evolving novel coronavirus situation in New York. 

  • All campuses will develop plans catered to the campus and curriculum-specific needs while reducing density in the campus environment to help slow possibility for exposures to novel coronavirus. Distance learning and other options will be developed by individual campuses.  
  • In response to growing financial impairments resulting from the spread of COVID-19, the New York State Attorney General will temporarily halt the collection of medical and student debts that are owed to the State of New York and that have been referred to the OAG for collection for at least a 30-day period, from March 16, 2020 through April 15, 2020. After this 30-day period, the OAG will reassess the needs of state residents for a possible extension. It is important to point out that this relief only applies to students that owe student debt to the State of New York -- this does not apply to federal or private student loans. President Trump announced that he would waive the interest on all federal student loans, but this does not mean federal and private student loan payments are being stopped as of this time. 
  • 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 M-F, 9am-4pm at 1-888-614-5004. You can also visit edcapny.org for more info.

Child Care Providers

The Office of Children and Family Services is working closely with the New York State Department of Health to provide child care providers with the most up-to-date information regarding the novel coronavirus:

Employment Protections and Assistance Read More

Paid Quarantine Leave

 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 COVID-19 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 emergency order. Eligible for paid family leave program ($840.70 per week) with any difference make 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. 

Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment Insurance is temporary income:

  • For eligible workers
  • Who lose their jobs
  • Through no fault of their own

 

Governor Cuomo has waived the seven-day waiting period for New Yorkers seeking UI benefits to provide relief during the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, the federal CARES Act, which was signed into law March 27, 2020, provides enhanced UI benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for New Yorkers. To learn more and to file a claim, go to: http://labor.ny.gov/ui/cares-act.shtm

 

NYS Paid Family Leave & Worker's Compensation

  • 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.
  • 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.

Family and Medical Leave Act (Federal) 

  • 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.

Filing Complaints Related to COVID-19 Regulations

Governor Cuomo enacted a law that provides benefits - including sick leave, paid family leave, and disability benefits - to New York employees impacted by mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. If your employer does not comply with this law, you have the right to file a complaint. If you work for a non-essential business, you may not be forced to go to the worksite or otherwise threatened if you do not work at a place other than your home.

You may file a complaint for any of the following reasons:

  • You qualify for COVID-19 paid sick leave and your employer refuses to pay it
  • You are being directed to work at a non-essential business
  • Your employer has failed to pay your earned sick pay or paid time off
  • Your employer has failed to pay your earned wages or pay for all of the hours you worked
  • Your employer has threatened or fired you for reasons related to COVID-19
  • Your employer is forcing you to work when you are sick
  • You know about a business that is non-essential and is operating

 

For more information and to file a complaint, go to https://www.labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/coronavirus-complaints.shtm

If you have questions about your rights in the workplace or if you believe your employment protections have been violated, please contact the OAG’s Labor Bureau: 212-416-8700.

Small Businesses Guidance & Loan Resources Read More

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.

Under this program: 

  • Eligible recipients may qualify for a loan up to $10 million determined by 8 weeks of prior average payroll plus an additional 25% of that amount.
  • Loan payments will be deferred for six months.
  • If you maintain your workforce, SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first 8 weeks of payroll and certain other expenses following loan origination.

Click here to learn more. 

Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, click here.

SBA Debt Relief

The SBA Debt Relief program will provide a reprieve to small businesses as they overcome the challenges created by this health crisis.

Under this program:

  • The SBA will also pay the principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020.
  • The SBA will pay the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months.

 

SBA Express Bridge Loans

Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

Terms:

  • Up to $25,000
  • Fast turnaround
  • Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan

Find an Express Bridge Loan Lender by connecting with your local SBA District Office.

Access to Capitol 

SBA provides a number of loan resources for small businesses to utilize when operating their business. For more information on loans or how to connect with a lender, visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans.

  • 7(a) program offers loan amounts up to $5,000,000 and is an all-inclusive loan program deployed by lending partners for eligible small businesses within the U.S. States and its territories. The uses of proceeds include: working capital; expansion/renovation; new construction; purchase of land or buildings; purchase of equipment, fixtures; lease-hold improvements; refinancing debt for compelling reasons; seasonal line of credit; inventory; or starting a business.
  • Express loan program provides loans up to $350,000 for no more than 7 years with an option to revolve. There is a turnaround time of 36 hours for approval or denial of a completed application. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
  • Community Advantage loan pilot program allows mission-based lenders to assist small businesses in underserved markets with a maximum loan size of $250,000. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
  • 504 loan program is designed to foster economic development and job creation and/or retention. The eligible use of proceeds is limited to the acquisition or eligible refinance of fixed assets.
  • Microloan program involves making loans through nonprofit lending organizations to underserved markets. Authorized use of loan proceeds includes working capital, supplies, machinery & equipment, and fixtures (does not include real estate). The maximum loan amount is $50,000 with the average loan size of $14,000.

 

Local SBA Assistance 

When faced with a business need, use the SBA’s Local Assistance Directory to locate the office nearest you. For the disaster assistance program, contact disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or call 1-800-659-2955 for assistance and more information.  

Business Interruption Insurance FAQs (from NYS DFS) 

The Novel Coronavirus and Business Interruption Insurance – FAQs

Seniors and Veterans Read More

Seniors

Older adults are one of the most vulnerable populations for contracting a severe case of the coronavirus. Out of an abundance of caution, the State has issued a directive, effective Friday, March 13th at 5 p.m., prohibiting non-medical visits at nursing homes and long term care facilities until further notice. If your family member is currently at a nursing home, you can inquire about the possibility of setting up a Skype or other type of virtual visit. Staff will be screened and will be required to wear face masks to help prevent any spread of the virus.

New Yorkers Aged 70+, and those with Compromised Immune Systems are advised to follow these guidelines: 

  1. Remain indoors -- solitary exercise outdoors is OK, as long as social distancing rules are followed
  2. Pre-screen visitors by taking temperature
  3. Visitors must wear masks
  4. Stay 6 feet away from others 

 

Additional Resources for Seniors:

  • Nassau County Department of Senior Citizen Affairs Senior HELP-LINE Available Monday-Friday 9am-5pm: (516) 227-8900
  • LICC Senior Helpline: 516-679-0000
  • RSVP Suffolk Senior Reassurance Line: 631-979-9490

​Veterans

  • Counseling is a critical service offered to our Veterans. The Nassau County Veterans Services Agency will continue to offer this service over the phone. Transportation services will continue to drive Veterans to important medical procedures. Vehicles are throughly cleaned before and after each trip. If you are a Vet in need, please call the VSA to see how they can help at 516-572-6565.
  • 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, East Meadow, NY and is open Monday-Friday from 9 AM to 12 PM. Contact: 516-572-6526. 

 

Help Our Community Read More

There are a number of opportunities available to help our community in this difficult time: 

  • NYS is calling on Health, Mental Health, and Related Professionals to sign up to be part of a reserve staff if the need arises. Enlist today: http://health.ny.gov/assistance
  • If you had COVID-19 and have recovered you can help save a life. Your blood may contain antibodies that fight the virus and can help critically ill people. Mount Sinai is looking to screen you as a volunteer. For more information, please fill out this form to see if you are eligible
  • The Nassau Veteran's Association is in need of drivers to help with deliveries and transportation services. Call 516-572-6565 for more info. 
  • Nassau County has begun to accept donations of unopened medical supplies during this unprecedented National State of Emergency. The County has created a drive-up collection point at Field 3, Park Blvd, Eisenhower Park. Collections will take place 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM on the following days: Tuesday - Friday, March 24 to 27, and Monday -  Friday, March 30 to April 3. The following supplies are needed: 
    • N95 Surgical Masks in unopened container/boxes
    • Eye protection such as goggles and face shields
    • Nitrile Gloves in unopened boxes which have not expired
    • Disposable medical gowns (paper which are fluid resistant or plastic)
    • Shoe cover/booties
    • No-Touch thermometers
    • Thermometer probe covers
    • HEPA filters for Ventilators / Anesthesia Machines
    • Antibacterial and disinfecting wipes – typically alcohol or bleach based
    • Disinfecting wipes (Clorox/Lysol)
    • Hand Sanitizer

 

  • 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 EricGertler at 212-803-3100 or COVID19supplies@esd.ny.gov.
  • NYS is accepting donations of essential goods, services, and spaces to support New York’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. For more information, click here. 

 

Our local food banks are working hard to support Long Islanders with critical food and resources during this public health emergency. You can support their work with a donation*: 

 

**Remember to use caution whenever making charitable donations, and never make donations in cash, by gift card, or by money wire. For more guidance, visit the NYS Attorney General's website at https://ag.ny.gov/coronavirus. 

Food Assistance, Housing/Utilities, & Mental Health Resources Read More

Food Assistance

  • Local school districts are distributing grab-n-go meals to students. You can access a list of locations/times here
  • Island Harvest is presently working closely with state and local authorities, member agencies, commercial food donors/suppliers, local school officials, and others to provide supplemental food support to people affected by the coronavirus. For those in need of food assistance, please call 631-873-4775. 
  • Long Island Cares provides several mobile outreach programs that deliver emergency food to seniors, veterans, children and the homeless. A list of mobile events can be found on their Facebook page. If you are unable to get to any of these locations and are in need of immediate help or you know of someone, please call them at 631-582-FOOD (3663) ext. 109 or email emergencyresponse@licares.org.

​Housing

EvictionNew York State is working hard to protect New Yorkers during this difficult time. Effective March 16 at 5 p.m., eviction proceedings and pending orders in housing court are suspended statewide until further notice. 

Utilities: Utility companies PSEGLI, National Grid, and local water authorities have been ordered to maintain service even if an account becomes delinquent. If you experience a shut-off, please let my office know by calling 516-739-1700 and emailing thomas@nysenate.govOn March 25, the Public Service Commission approved orders postponing rate increases for nearly 2 million customers of New York American Water and National Grid upstate that were scheduled to go into effect on April 1st. 

Mortgage Relief: Governor Cuomo issued an emergency regulation requiring financial institutions to give mortgage borrowers forbearance of at least 90 days if they apply for assistance due to job loss or other issues brought on by COVID-19. It also requires those financial institutions to waive ATM fees and late payment fees on credit cards for the same reason.For additional DFS regulatory actions on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit www.dfs.ny.gov/industry/coronavirus

Additional Housing Resources: 

  • Emergency Housing Directory - Lists shelters for women, men, and families by city and state.  Please see website for most up to date information. 

Mental Health Resources

  • The NYS Office of Mental Health Emotional Support Line provides free and confidential support, helping callers experiencing increased anxiety due to the coronavirus emergency. The Help Line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals, who have received training in crisis counseling.  OMH Emotional Support Line: 1-844-863-9314
  • Adelphi University's Institute for Parenting Warmline (calls are returned Mondays & Thursdays) is 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.
  • Full list of Mental Health Resources available to New Yorkers During a State of Emergency

Report Scams, Price Gouging, or Hate Crimes Read More

Price Gouging: If you become aware of any stores that may be price gouging 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 to pricegouging@nassaucountyny.gov.

Scams: Visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Information on Coronavirus web page to learn about coronavirus scams and how the FTC is addressing them: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing. Visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Look Out for Coronavirus-Related Investment Scams – Investor Alert web page: https://www.sec.gov/oiea/investor-alerts-and-bulletins/ia_coronavirus.

New York Office of the Attorney General Guidance on Coronavirus Resources and Warnings about Consumer Scams web page: https://ag.ny.gov/coronavirus

Reporting Hate Crimes: The OAG has launched a hotline for New Yorkers to report hate crimes and bias-based incidents. The hotline, which will continue indefinitely, comes in the wake of rising reports of harassment and assaults, as well as rhetoric against Asian Americans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The OAG urges anyone experiencing hate crimes and bias incidences to report them by emailing the OAG’s Civil Rights Bureau at civil.rights@ag.ny.gov or by calling 1-800-771-7755.