MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Sep. 10, 2020

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De Blasio Cautiously Optimistic About Return of Indoor Dining

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: William Alatriste)
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) released a statement yesterday following news that indoor dining will soon return to the City.

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced earlier that NYC restaurants will be able to reopen indoor dining starting on Sep. 30. However, the announcement came with several caveats; restaurants must operate at a maximum of 25 percent capacity, check patrons’ temperatures at the door, and offer PPE for employees.

“We are continuing New York City’s economic recovery by bringing back indoor dining,” said de Blasio. “Working with the state and public health officials, we’ve achieved a plan that puts health and safety first by including strict capacity limits, a close monitoring of citywide positive testing rates and a coordinated inspection regimen. Science will guide our decision-making as we continue to monitor progress and health care indicators over the next three weeks to ensure a safe reopening. This may not look like the indoor dining that we all know and love, but it is progress for restaurant workers and all New Yorkers.”

Brewer, Krueger Join Call to Use Cultural Institutions as Polling Sites

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (Photo source: US Departmetn of Labor, CC BY 2.0)
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Yesterday, State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Upper East Side, Lenox Hill) and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D) joined Common Cause/NY in an open call for publicly funded cultural institutions to serve as polling sites for early voting.

As of now, there are a few cultural centers that already serve as poll sites, such as the Brooklyn Museum and the 92Y. Recently, both Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center also agreed to accommodate voters this election season. However, the electeds maintained that we need to accrue as much polling space as possible this year, due to the stakes of this election and the threat posed by COVID-19.

“Cultural institutions are part of the fabric of our city’s past, present, and future, and it makes perfect sense that the Board of Elections should work with them to play a significant role in our democracy,” said Brewer. “I call on our museums, concert halls, theaters, and other venues who have the capacity and are accessible to help set the stage for a safe election process for their neighborhoods.”

“It is critical that New Yorkers be able to safely exercise their right to vote,” said Krueger. “Ensuring we have enough polling places, and that those locations are large enough to follow COVID safety protocols, is a necessary step to make polling places accessible to anyone who chooses to use them.”

Schumer, Reps Say No to McConnell’s Inadequate Relief Bill

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (Photo credit:
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D) stood with U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn), Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx), Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens), Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens) and Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) in publicly refusing to support any COVID-19 relief bill that fails to include funding for local aid and mass transit.

The announcement came shortly after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) put forth a proposal for a scaled-down COVID-19 bill. The bill includes funding for schools, the U.S. Postal Service, a small business loan program and unemployment insurance. However, it fails to include any funds for state and local aid or mass transit funds, both of which are critical to New York’s economic recovery.

“While the folks beside me today worked darn hard to pass the Heroes Act—more than three months ago—the Senate, under Leader McConnell and the White House under President Trump, has used that time to sit on their hands—doing absolutely nothing for the benefit of the American people in the ongoing battle against the coronavirus,” said Schumer. “Now, to add insult to injury, when forced to act because the American people are demanding they do, Leader McConnell and President Trump hand in an assignment that is incomplete, emaciated and unacceptable—it’s an ‘F.’ And we are here today to make it very clear: this will not stand.”