I hope you and your family enjoy a happy and safe July 4th weekend. As we continue to control the spread of the coronavirus, please continue to wear a mask over your nose and mouth when you are out in public. Though we have tamed the spread of the virus in the state, another outbreak is still possible if we are not cautious. Please remember to continue following best practices as you enjoy additional activities that have reopened in Phase 3.
I recognize how challenging the coronavirus pandemic has been on individuals, families, people with disabilities, and seniors. For many, the Coronavirus Pandemic and its effects have meant financial hardship, economic insecurity, and loneliness for months on end. Our summer plans will not look like they normally do, or how we would like them to. And with the infection rate increasing throughout much of the nation, we don't see an end in sight to our new way of life until there is a scientific breakthrough. Throughout all of this, bright moments of hope come from neighbors in our community who run to help where help is needed. Thank you to all who are volunteering to sew masks, delivering meals to those in need, and raising funds for local nonprofits working to meet heightened community needs.
We must remember that there is always beauty around us if we look for it. In an effort to showcase the beauty in our community during a challenging time, I am sponsoring a Garden Contest. Residents of the 37th Senate District who tend to their own home gardens or work on a community garden plot can email me pictures of their gardens at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 31, 2020. Check the section below for more details about this contest.
NEW YORK FORWARD
- This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that a total of 16 states meet the metrics to qualify for the travel advisory requiring individuals who travel to New York from those states to quarantine for 14 days. The full list of states on the travel advisory: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah.
- Large malls that are reopening are required to use air conditioning filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating capable of filtering coronavirus particles. This directive is highly encouraged for all business reopenings and offices. Filters with a high MERV, such as High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, have been shown to help reduce the presence of the coronavirus in air filtration systems.
- The Mid-Hudson Region and Westchester are on track to begin Phase Four of reopening on Tuesday, July 7th. Phase Four includes Higher Education, Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment, Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment, Media Production, and Professional Sports Competitions With No Fans. Click here for Phase Four industry guidance.
REOPENING WESTCHESTER COUNTY
Out of an abundance of caution for public health concerns, County Executive George Latimer has announced that the amusement park at Playland Park in Rye will remain closed for the 2020 season. Read more about this decision here. If you and your family are looking for recreation, two county pools are currently open and two more will open on Friday, July 3rd. Saxon Woods Pool in White Plains and Sprain Ridge Pool in Yonkers are now open daily to Westchester County residents. Tibbets Brook Pool and Wilson Woods Pool will open on Friday, July 3. For more information & schedules, visit the Westchester County Parks Department website.
STANDING UP FOR OPWDD CLIENTS & SERVICE PROVIDERS
On Monday, June 29th, I signed on to a letter sent to the Commissioner of the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Dr. Theodore Kastner, urging the office to reverse over $200 million in proposed cuts to voluntary not-for-profit residential service providers throughout the state which take care of some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. During the Coronavirus Pandemic, these providers have gone to heroic efforts to keep the over 29,000 individuals in their facilities safe and healthy.
The letter states: “There is little doubt these proposed cuts will lead to further institutionalization, longer delays in individuals and families to receive services and higher costs to the state as providers will not be able to attract and retain staff or serve more complex individuals who seek to leave an institutional setting. Therefore, we urge you to reverse these unsupportable cuts and to work with providers on a plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic and develop a rational cost-based reimbursement methodology based upon real world practices.” Click here to read the full letter.
SHOWING APPRECIATION FOR HEALTHCARE HEROES AT LAWRENCE HOSPITAL
On Tuesday, June 30th, I was glad to stand with 1199 SEIU healthcare heroes at Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville to show appreciation for the endless sacrifices healthcare workers have made during the Coronavirus Pandemic. They continue to put the interests of patients and our communities ahead of their own—and for that we owe them forever.
THE CATALYST: SUPPORTING WESTCHESTER'S SMALL BUSINESSES
Westchester County's economic development hub, The Catalyst, is hosting and promoting a number of virtual events in the coming weeks to support small business development in the county, including, How to Protect & Grow the Value of Your Business During a Pandemic, Learn the Basics of Google Ads, and Best Practices for Reopening Westchester Part IV. Click here for the list of events and how to sign-up.
$65 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR CHILDCARE PROVIDERS:
July 15th Deadline to Apply
$65 million in federal CARES Act funding is available for child care providers statewide through the New York Forward Child Care Expansion Incentive program. The application process is noncompetitive, meaning programs that meet the requirements and submit an application will receive at least a portion of their maximum grant amount. Click here to apply and scroll down to the New York Forward Child Care Expansion Incentive and Temporary Operating Assistance Application. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15, 2020.
NYS SENATE 2020 SUMMER READING PROGRAM
Summer reading is more important than ever for children. I am glad to sponsor the New York State Senate 2020 Summer Reading Program to encourage children to lose themselves in books and explore new ideas. Children who participate by reading at least three books this summer will receive a Certificate of Achievement from my office. Parents and guardians can submit their child's information at nysenate.gov/nyread. The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2020.
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES WITH THE WESTCHESTER PARKS FOUNDATION
The Westchester Parks Foundation (WPF) has announced several volunteer opportunities for the month of July. Volunteers must bring their own masks and practice social distancing at all times. Tools and work gloves will be provided by WPF. Pre-registration is required for all volunteers. Click here to see the full list of events and to pre-register on Eventbrite.
NEW YORK STATE PARKS EXPLORER FREE MOBILE APPLICATION
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) launched a new mobile application to provide prospective visitors information about the variety of destinations and activities available at state parks and historic sites. The app offers access to park information, including directions, hours, amenities, fees and rates, and trail maps. The New York State Parks Explorer mobile app is free for download for iOS and Android devices.
As always, feel free to contact my office at (914) 934-5250 or email@example.com if there is an issue with which we can offer assistance or if you have questions about reopening for yourself or your business.
Shelley B. Mayer