March 18th: Supporting NY's Workers, Small Businesses, & Each Other

Community Update, march 18th 2020

Dear Friends, 

I hope you're staying home if you can, exercising safe practices and trying to remain upbeat! This is an incredible challenge, but we will get through it, I’m sure. 

Today, I joined my legislative colleagues in Albany to pass an emergency Paid Sick Leave bill for those required to stay home on account of a quarantine due to COVID-19, the coronavirus.
S. 8091 provides for up to 14 days of paid leave when the employee is subject to an order of quarantine or isolation:

  • Businesses who have 10 or fewer employees as of January 1, 2020, and a net income under $1 million last fiscal year, will have the full cost of employee’s leave provided by New York State insurance programs, capped at benefits coverage equal to annual salaries of $150,000.
  • Businesses who have 11-99 employees as of January 1, 2020, and businesses who have 10 or fewer employees but a net income greater than $1 million last fiscal year, will be required to provide 5 days of paid leave to their employees, and the rest of the required quarantine or isolation days provided by New York State insurance programs, capped at benefits coverage equal to annual salaries of $150,000.
  • Businesses who have 100 or more employees, and all government institutions, will be required to cover up to 14 days of paid leave.

This bill protects all employees--salaried, part-time, and hourly--by ensuring some financial security if they are unable to work due to isolation or quarantine as declared by a government official. State insurance programs will cover the cost of workers' salaries for New York's smallest businesses, and everything following a week of leave for New York's medium sized businesses.
There are a number of issues that have been raised regarding this important bill which will require clarification. I will continue to work to address questions that you, my constituents, have raised and do my best to get you answers.

Statewide School Closings
Effective Wednesday, March 18th, Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the closing of all schools statewide ending Wednesday, April 1st. At that time, the state will reassess whether to extend school closures.
This is a difficult time for many as parents work from home while helping their children with distance learning or alternative instructional materials. Be patient with yourself and your child.
School districts are providing meals to-go for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, and they are also working to provide childcare for healthcare workers and first responders. Please consult with your local school district about these programs. 

#BuyLocal: Supporting Local Restaurants
Restaurants and bars are prohibited from continuing to serve patrons in location, but many continue to deliver and offer takeout. If you are able to, please check-in with your favorite local spot and see if they deliver.
My office would like to help promote establishments in our district that continue to serve the community through delivery or takeout by compiling a list of these restaurants, bars, delis, and cafes in our district. Please take a moment to tell us if your favorite local spot is still delivering or offering take out: let us know here .
Once we have a list, we will promote it on our social media to let each other know where we can still turn to for a great meal.
Loan Assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Thanks to the efforts of Congressmembers Nita Lowey & Eliot Engel and our entire federal delegation, the federal government recently allocated $1billion to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small businesses and nonprofits impacted by financial losses due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Westchester, Putnam & Dutchess Counties are declared disaster areas and small businesses in these counties are eligible to apply for loans today. Applications are available at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Small businesses will need to create an account and complete the application that references the Disaster # CT-00046. Click here for a step-by-step guide for applying. The deadline to apply is December 16, 2020.

Dear Nurses & Doctors: New York Needs You!
Westchester County Executive George Latimer is calling on New York State Licensed Nurses who are retired or currently non-working to consider joining the workforce again during this time of great need.
Retired or non-working nurses who return to work will be asked to cover locations serving vulnerable populations such as nursing homes, child care programs, congregate care facilities, senior buildings. The Westchester County Department of Social Services will coordinate the placements in partnership with the NYS Department of Health. If you are interested in serving the community in this capacity, please contact Lindsay Jackson at lajc@westchestergov.com.
The NYS Department of Health is also asking all recently retired health professionals, including doctors, to volunteer to act as reserve staff. If you are interested, please complete the survey available here.
Our state and our nation are indebted to our dedicated healthcare professionals and first responders for their heroic efforts during this crisis.

Census 2020: Be Counted
Beginning today, Wednesday, March 18th, the U.S. Census Bureau is suspending field operations until Wednesday, April 1st, to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Residents will continue to receive invitations in the mail to complete the survey online or by phone. So far, over eleven million households have already completed the survey.
Look out for an envelope from the Census Bureau in your mailbox and make sure you are counted. If you need help filling out the survey or have questions, please call 1-844-330-2020.
To find a designated Census Hub to fill out the survey online or other help with the census, please contact the Westchester County Complete Count Committee Coordinators, Heriberto Contreras or Ted Leimbach at (914) 995-4406 or (914) 995-2412.
Over 55 federal programs rely on Census data for fund disbursement, including school aid, Medicaid, and transportation funding. Please make sure you're counted!

Volunteer New York!'s Virtual Volunteer Center
Volunteer New York! is operating a Virtual Volunteer Center for those healthy and eager to do more to help our communities through this crisis. Visit the Virtual Volunteer Center by clicking here.
There are many different opportunities available, including those to help our seniors:

  • Checking in on your neighbors, especially the elderly (at home/remote opportunity)
  • Writing letters and cards for seniors (at home/remote opportunity)
  • Driving seniors to their medical appointments
  • Delivering meals to seniors at their homes
  • Leading online classes to socialize with seniors (at-home/remote opportunity)
  • Registering for a virtual training session to volunteer with the American Red Cross (at-home/remote opportunity)

If you think you may be sick, or have been exposed to someone exposed to the coronavirus, please postpone your volunteer activity until a later date and as advised by the NYS Department of Health.

Make an Appointment to Give Blood Today
The outbreak of the coronavirus continues to impact our communities and institutions, especially given the cancellation of over 1,500 blood drives nationwide resulting in approximately 46,000 fewer blood donations.
Emergency Blood Drive
40 Saw Mill River Road, Hawthorne, NY
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Please call 1-800-733-2767 to make an appointment.

The Red Cross encourages New York residents who are healthy, feeling well and eligible to make an appointment to give blood as soon as possible. Donors can use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit www.RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to schedule an appointment now.

Thank you to those who have heeded the warnings of public health officials and implemented the necessary social distancing protocols to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. We will get through this working in coordination with all levels of government and letting science be our guide. 

New Yorkers and our nation are tough and resilient. We will overcome the challenges ahead of us with a steadfast commitment to protect and help each other. Thank you for your trust in me during this difficult time.

In unity,
Shelley B. Mayer

State Senator

37th District