COVID-19 Update 05/04/2020

Jessica Ramos
State Sen. Jessica Ramos

Queens State Sen. organizes free food distribution that brings out around 700 families

The line for a Queens food pantry organized by State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D- Jackson Heights, Corona, Astoria, Woodside, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst) spanned more than five city blocks on Friday.

Hundreds of people lined up for the free food distribution in East Elmhurst, where 34,000 pounds of fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy were being given away to people in need free of charge.

Thanks to her connections with upstate farmers, Ramos was able to organize this pantry in conjunction with Kieth Kimball, the owner of  La Casa de Leche, a dairy farm in Groveland, which is near Buffalo.

Due to the economic impacts of the coronavirus on farmers, many upstate farms have an excess of produce and livestock that they don’t know what to do with and can’t make money off of. Due to the economic impacts of the coronavirus on New York City’s low-income and immigrant communities, many people are in dire need of financial assistance and donations.

“We’re really starting to see the effects of the economic crisis with so many people out of work, and little access to fresh food,” Ramos said.

Once upstate farmers learned that so many people needed help getting fresh food to eat in the city, according to Kimball, they wanted to be able to help.

“Everybody pitched in and came to the table and found donated food we could send down to New York City,” he said.

Thus last week’s free food distribution was born. It allowed around 700 Queens residents to get access to farm-fresh foods while also preventing all the farms’ surplus food from going to waste.

“We’re able to help them move product because they’re not able to sell a lot of this product and well here in the epicenter of this pandemic, we need this food,” Ramos said.

Ramos said that she believes the high turnout is proof that the food distribution is really needed.

“I only have $20 a week. With that I can only buy tortillas and maybe even a pack of eggs. Nothing else,” Guadalupe Hernandez, who attended the distribution, said.

The state senator hopes to host one of these distributions every Friday and to distribute hot meals every Saturday during the pandemic.

Read more about this in this article: New York 1

Cuomo announces all NYS schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year

NYS Department of Education: credit Matt H. Wade, Wikimedia Commons

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during his daily press briefing Friday that all schools in New York State will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

This includes all public and private pre-kindergarten centers, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, universities and graduate schools in the state.

“We must protect our students and educators,” Cuomo said. “So, we are going to have the schools remain closed for the rest of the year. We are going to continue the distance learning programs.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his decision to keep the city’s schools through the rest of the school year on March 15, but the governor then said that de Blasio does not have the authority to make that call.

Cuomo said that the state will announce later this month whether or not New York will have in-person summer schooling.

Read more about this in this article: Queens Daily Eagle

Greenwood Cemetery might close its gates as a space for socially distant walks

Brooklyn’s Iconic Greenwood Cemetery. credit: Bestbudbrian, Wikimedia Commons

Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery might close its doors to the public soon due to the bad behavior of some of its visitors, despite trying to remain open to give people a green space to take socially distant walks in.

According to the Sunset Park cemetery’s president, people have been bringing in dogs, riding bikes and allowing children to climb trees, all against the grave yard’s rules. On top of that, flowers have even been stolen off of graves.

“Green-Wood is a cemetery. It is an arboretum and a place of tranquility. Families come to visit the graves of their loved ones. It is not a public park,” cemetery President Richard Moylan wrote in an email. “It is a not a place of recreation. Our rules are clear on what is allowed and what is not.⁠”

Moylan has been trying to keep the cemetery open to give people in the area a green space to get some fresh air in without having to go to a park that may have many people in it. 

Greenwood, which has views of the Manhattan skyline, has been open every day until 7 p.m., though that may be coming to an end soon.

“The conduct of a small percentage of our visitors has created an unacceptable situation. If things don’t change, we may be left with no choice but to close our gates as many other cemeteries have done,” Moylan said.

Other cemeteries in the borough have closed their gates, including the Historic Canarsie Cemetery in Canarsie.

Read more about this in this article: The New York Post

Brooklyn man gives out hair cuts on Brighton Beach sidewalk while barbershops closed

Hair Cut: credit: Screenshot from a VIdeo (Special to Kings County Politics)

A Brooklyn man took it upon himself to make a strip of Ocean Parkway a barbershop yesterday, setting up shop on the sidewalk.

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order back on March 21 to temporarily close all barbershops, hair salons, tattoo and piercing parlors until the end of the COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, pandemic.

The man was giving haircuts to people on the Parkway between Brighton Beach Avenue and Ocean View Avenue in Brighton Beach, which was filmed and put on social media by Lina Gee, who was nearby.

In the video, people are seen standing in line for a cut.

Read more about this in this article: Eyewitness News