Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, Apr. 16, 2020

COVID-19 molecule
COVID-19 (Credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS)

Brewer Plan to Close Broadway to Traffic Gains Traction

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Numerous community boards and business improvement districts (BIDs) have endorsed Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s (D) proposal to limit access to Broadway from Union Square to Central Park to pedestrians, Patch reported Wednesday. 

The development comes after Mayor Bill De Blasio (D) dismissed Brewer’s proposal to better promote social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic last week, claiming it would be unenforceable.

“In Oakland, as I understand it, they said that streets were closed off, but they didn’t put up any barricades. They didn’t have any enforcement,” de Blasio said in a briefing. “They just depended on drivers to not go on those streets and everyone to look out and be careful and that’s, you know, noble and hopefully that would happen anytime, particularly in a crisis, but we are not comfortable saying that we are going to just assume that people are going to be safe because that’s our good intention.”

Regardless, Brewer’s plan has still amassed the support of four City Council representatives and Manhattan’s Community Board 5, among others.

Nadler Proposes Expansion of Benefits for First Responders

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) proposed growing a federal program to better support public safety officers affected by the coronavirus Tuesday, Politico reported. 

The bill would provide benefits for firefighters, police officers, and other such figures permanently disabled by the virus or their families if they lose their lives to it. The proposed expansion mirrors an older Nadler-authored law for firefighters, police officers, and other such public safety officers who were disabled or killed addressing the attacks of September 11, 2001. 

“During this time of crisis, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, public safety officers remain on call 24-7, which puts them at serious risk for exposure,” Nadler declared in a statement. “As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I will do everything in my power to ensure this becomes law.”

Rosenthal Joins Call to End Wet Markets

Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal
Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal (D-Hell’s Kitchen, Upper West Side, Central Park) has joined the call to outlaw live animal markets in New York, ABC7 reported Wednesday.

New York City is home to roughly 80 live animal markets. Despite laws banning slaughterhouses from opening within 1,500 feet of residences, many operate near them, parks, and schools. Many, including Rosenthal, have argued that they constitute a public health hazard – especially after early cases of COVID-19 were traced back to wet markets in Wuhan.

“The whole industry needs to be re-evaluated,” said New York State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, who is examining new state legislation in response to the current pandemic. “I don’t think it’s the proper place in a densely populated city like New York to have these slaughterhouses.”

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