Schumer Announces Save Our Stages Act
Yesterday, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D) announced that the newly passed COVID relief package includes the Save Our Stages Act, which includes funding for independent entertainment venues.
The act allocates $15 billion for the funding of live venues, movie theaters performing arts organizations and museums. Schumer assured the public that New York would receive a hefty portion of that money, and also pointed out that the money would provide relief to not just the venues themselves, but also to their performers, employees, promoters and managers.
“Independent venues, like theaters and concert halls, are the beating heart of New York’s cultural life and a driving force in the Upstate economy,” said Schumer. “These local businesses were among the first to shut down at the start of the pandemic, are struggling to stay afloat, and will be among the last to reopen. The COVID package that I helped negotiate, prioritizes the venues and everyone who supports them as the critical cultural hubs that they are.”
James Issues Alert to Protect New Yorkers from Vaccine Scams
Yesterday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) issued an alert warning New Yorkers about potential scammers promising early access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
New York has already begun to deploy the vaccine, giving it to high-risk medical workers and nursing home residents and staff. However, the vaccine will not become available to the public for at least a few months. James warned New Yorkers to be wary of anyone who promises them early access to the vaccine – even those who claim to be from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO).
“We must remain vigilant about potential scams,” said James. “At this time, there is no government-authorized vaccine available to the general population in New York. Throughout this pandemic, scammers have found ways to victimize the public, with the vaccine distribution process being their latest method for fraud. My office remains committed to rooting out COVID-19 scams, and I encourage the public to report suspected illegal activity to my office.”
State Senate Passes Eviction Moratorium Bill
Yesterday, State Senator José Serrano (D-Manhattan, Bronx) and the Senate Majority called a Special Session to pass the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act.
The bill, which is sponsored by State Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-Lower East Side), effectively instates a two-month moratorium on evictions. Specifically, it gives tenants facing eviction 60 days to submit a “Standardized Hardship Declaration Form” to the landlord or the court. The form would allow tenants to declare financial hardship if they have suffered substantial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Millions of New Yorkers are experiencing unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19— housing insecurity should not be one of them,” said Serrano. “Today’s actions will ensure that tenants, homeowners, and small landlords are able to keep their homes as we face the economic crisis caused by this pandemic, and will provide relief for so many New Yorkers in my district as we continue to combat this disease.”