Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move March 20, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Lander Updates on Coronavirus 

City Council Member Brad Lander

Councilmember Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Gowanus) is making people aware of what they might be able to do, help with, or sign up for in this tenuous time of coronavirus outbreaks, and what the facts are. 

“The Census goes on – fill it out online here. The 2020 Census is suspending in-person collection for now, but we still need everyone to get counted so that Brooklyn can get the resources and representation we need,” he writes in his newsletter. 

“The City is asking anyone with medical training to join the relief effort as we work to rapidly surge our hospital capacity (whether or not you are already NYS-State certified)- Learn more and register here

“Masbia Soup Kitchen in Boro Park and Flatbush is in urgent need of volunteers to help package food for delivery. Sign up here

“The Mayor late last night indicated willingness to consider the release of some vulnerable people at Rikers Island Prison, sign here to help keep up the pressure on reducing unnecessary arrests.

“Testing capacity is finally ramping up, and so is the spread of the virus. As of last night, 11 people have died in NYC and there are 1,871 positive cases in NYC. In regards to testing, Our healthcare system is overwhelmed right now, supplies and staff and space are all dangerously limited. Doctors and nurses are pleading with us to stay home if we safely can.    

“Regarding businesses, Governor Cuomo has expanded on business closures. Restaurants, bars and cafes may only serve food take-out and delivery. Gyms, theaters and many other est ablishments have been ordered to close. Gatherings of over 50 people are prohibited. Yesterday, Governor Cuomo ordered that all non-essential businesses reduce their workforce by 50%. He said that essential businesses would include health-care providers, grocery and food production, pharmacies, shipping, media, warehousing, utilities, banks and related financial institutions, and other industries critical to the supply chain. 

“NYC Schools are closed this week as teachers prepare for distance learning. Grab-and-go meals are available for students between 7:30 and 1:30 am at any public school. Next week, some schools will open as enrichment centers to provide childcare, food and support for children of essential workers and those who cannot stay home. Some online learning resources are already available here. NYC is buying and giving out laptops for students who do not have access to technology at home (people can fill out the form to request tech here), and Spectrum is making internet access free for those who do not already have it for the next two months.

“Paid Sick Leave: The State legislature passed legislation yesterday to provide emergency paid sick leave up to two weeks for employees who test positive for the virus or are told to quarantine. While that is a good step, the legislation leaves out hundreds of thousands of workers in NY who are independent contractors, including many misclassified workers like food delivery workers and for hire drivers. I am continuing to push for an expansion of paid sick leave to reach many more people, both now and in the long term.”

Bichotte Passes Paid Sick Leave

Rodneyse Bichotte
Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush, Ditmas Park) announced yesterday the state legislature passed Paid Sick Leave and Governor Cuomo signed into law Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19 employees.

The bill will allow for sick leave and unemployment benefits for workers affected by coronavirus. In addition free coronavirus testing and medical aid available and food. 

Employers with 10 employees or less and net income less than $1 million will see their employees get unpaid sick leave and immediately become eligible for Paid Family Leave and Temporary Disability. Employers with 11-99 employees or net income of $1 million will see their employees get five days paid sick leave then eligible for Paid Family Leave and Temporary Disability. Employers with 100 employees or more and all public employees will get a minimum of 14 days paid sick leave.

BP Adams Calls for Suspension of Tax Collection

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough Eric Adams and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Randy Peers called in a joint statement for a suspension of sales and payroll tax collection due to coronavirus.  

“As leaders at every level of government explore emergency relief investments and legislation, we know that we must fast-track action on the sales tax deadline less than 24 hours away, as well as the payroll tax deadline in the next few weeks. We urge Governor Cuomo to immediately suspend sales and payroll tax collection until, at minimum, the lifting of the state of emergency declared due to the pandemic, and at that time for his administration to review economic conditions in consult with public and private sector leadership.

 “There is much more we must do to support our business community at this critical juncture, but this most timely measure cannot wait another second. We will continue to advance proposals that provide additional relief and security to Brooklynites in need.”

BP Adams Promotes Telemedicine Appointments

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Borough President Eric Adams joined The Brooklyn Hospital Center (TBHC) to promote a new facility within the hospital dedicated to telemedicine appointments amid the outbreak of coronavirus in New York City today.  

“Now more than ever, as our hospitals grapple with the spread of coronavirus, it is imperative that we have an infrastructure set up to pre-screen potential cases of COVID-19 without requiring people to come in. Telemedicine, something I have long advocated for as a way to move our medical system into the 21st century, doesn’t just help reduce the strain on our ERs and hospital system overall – it incentivizes staying home, lessening the risk of spreading the virus. It’s time New York City Health + Hospitals (NYC H+H) scales up this model and conducts comprehensive outreach to vulnerable populations letting them know this resource exists.

I could not be prouder to stand with The Brooklyn Hospital Center in pushing for this technology to be scaled up at private and public hospitals, and I thank them for their forward-thinking efforts to keep New Yorkers safe during this pandemic,” said Adams.

Myrie Updates the Public on COVID-19

State Senator Zellnor Myrie
State Senator Zellnor Myrie

State Senator Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) updated the community yesterday on COVID-19 in NYC. 

The city announced expanded appointment-only COVID-19 testing capacity across 10 acute-care hospitals, seven Gotham Health community-based health centers, and four drive-thru test sites. New Yorkers who have high priority because of age, pre-existing conditions and symptoms should call 1-844-NYC-4NYC for more information. New Yorkers can continue to call 311 to be assessed for risk for COVID.

There are now more than 5,200 cases statewide, with 3,615 confirmed cases in NYC, 1,030 of which are in Brooklyn. 22 deaths have been recorded in NYC. 

The state is ordering 90-day relief on mortgage payments based on financial hardship. This will not affect credit reports and there will be a grace period for loan modification. In addition, the state has ordered banks to waive fees for overdrafts, ATMs, and credit cards. 

The state has expanded the work-from-home order: employers at non-essential businesses must now order at least 75% of workers to work remotely.

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has closed most of its health clinics for all but urgent care. They are posting daily updates here

The U.S. Department of Justice has shut down many of its immigration courts, including in New York. The status of court operations is on this website

PA Williams, Lander, Menchaca Demand Suspension of Construction Work

Jumaane Williams
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams along with City Council Members Brad Lander (D-Park Slope, Kensington, Windsor Terrace, Gowanus) and Carlos Menchaca (D-Red Hook, Sunset Park) yesterday called for Mayor Bill de Blasio to issue a directive to the Department of Buildings to suspend non-essential construction due to the COVID-19 Crisis. 

In a letter, the lawmakers highlighted other cities that have taken similar measures, including Boston and San Francisco, and discussed the need to protect workers, their families, and the general public by halting all but the most critical construction projects. Essential construction includes “work on hospitals and health care facilities, transit, utilities, public infrastructure, supportive housing and homeless shelters, as well as emergency repairs such as heat and hot water in existing residential buildings.”

The elected officials also called for the City to  “work to ensure that construction workers, and especially day laborers who are particularly vulnerable, receive compensation for work they have already performed.” and to ensure that not only would construction workers be including in unemployment insurance relief, but those undocumented workers ineligible for the state’s program are provided an emergency fund during the suspension.

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