Issue 05: April 25 – May 1

May 1, 2020
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Hospitals will be required to provide more detailed information on their COVID-19 patients, including: residential addresses, whether they are essential workers; where they work; how they commute; their sex, age, health status, and other demographic information.
  • K-12 schools and college facilities will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.
  • The decision on whether summer school will be allowed to take place in school buildings or remotely will be made by the end of the month.
  • New 24/7 emotional support service for frontline workers experiencing distress.
  • Direction to insurers to waive all cost sharing/copays/deductibles for mental health services for essential workers through this crisis.
Mayoral Update

During the Mayor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Update on the City’s “Open Streets Plan,” beginning on May 4:
  • Closing 4.5 miles inside parks to ease crowding at Fort Tryon Park, Flushing Meadows, Forest Hill Park, Callahan-Kelly Park, Grant Park, Silver Lake Park.
  • Closing 2.7 miles of streets adjacent to parks at Williamsburg Oval, Court Square, Carl Schurz Park, Highbridge Park, Prospect Park, Stapleton Waterfront Park and Lt. William Tighe Triangle.
April 30, 2020
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • MTA will begin disinfecting all subway cars every 24 hours; train service will stop between 1:00AM and 5:00AM every night throughout the crisis period.
  • An aggressive contact tracing and isolating strategy, in partnership with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg; State is seeking a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people.
  • Launch of the Essential Connector Program – to provide free transportation to essential workers using buses, for-hire vehicles, and compliant “dollar vans.”
  • Renters who can afford to pay rent, should continue paying; for those who cannot pay rent, the eviction moratorium should be sufficient.
Rent Guidelines Board (RGB)

RGB’s second public meeting.

  • RGB presented its Income and Affordability study and its Mortgage Survey Report.
  • During RGB discussion:
  • RGB tenant members argued for a rent rollback.
  • RGB owner members rejected the notion of a freeze on two-year leases, but were softer on their stance on rent freezes for 1-year leases.
  • Some RGB public members voiced support for a rent freeze.
  • Next RGB hearing will be on May 5; RBG preliminary vote on May 7.
  • Politico coverage here.
Mayoral Update

During the Mayor’s press conference, he announced,

  • City will be distributing 100,000 free face coverings in parks, targeting hard-hit communities.
  • Two new community testing sites: Ida G. Israel Clinic in Coney Island and Dyckman-Clinica de Las Americas in Inwood.
  • 30 community testing sites open by May 18, including all 11 H+H hospitals.
  • City will be adding more City workers to patrol parks and public spaces.
  • His support for BP Adams’ call for a bereavement committee to improve communication channels and ensure dignified deaths and burials.
April 29, 2020
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Executive Order to allow, effective immediately, elective outpatient treatment in low-risk counties and hospitals.
  • New testing for transit workers; 1,000 tests conducted this week.
Mayoral Update

During the Mayor’s press conference, he announced,

  • New expanded mental health care resources for health care workers; military trauma specialists from the U.S. Department of Defense will assess the hospital system and implement programs to combat stress management.
  • Antibody tests for over 150,000 health care workers and first responders.
  • DHS will be moving 1,000 people from shelters into hotels; intends to move 1,000 people per week, while the City continues to expand testing.
  • “Project Cupid” – which will make it possible to get married online.
City Council Update

Council Hearing: Committee on Civil Service and Labor

  • Scheduled on May 5, 2020 at 10:00AM; discussing the following bills:
  • Intro 1918: to require large employers (100+ employees) to pay premiums to essential non-salaried workers.
  • Intro 1923: to prohibit the firing of essential workers without just cause.
  • Intro 1926: to amend “employee” in the Earned Safe and Time Act to extend benefits to independent contractors.
City Council Update

Council Hearing: Committee on Small Business and Committee on Consumer Affairs & Business Licensing

  • Joint-committee to discuss two packages of bills:
  1. Bills to regulate third-party food delivery services to reduce the impact on restaurants, including associated fees charged to customers and restaurants.
  2. Bills to provide protections to commercial tenants in the wake of COVID-19.
  • From public testimony:
  • Supporters of third-party food app bills: NY Hospitality Alliance; Downtown Alliance; Small Individual Restaurant Owners; Bronx Chamber of Commerce; Asian American Federation; Street Vendors Project
  • Opponents of third-party food app bills: GrubHub; DoorDash; Postmates; Uber (only in relation to fees)
  • Supporters of commercial tenant bills: Hospitality Alliance
  • Opponents of commercial tenant bills: REBNY
Agency Update- Department of Buildings (DOB)

Essential construction

  • DOB determined that certain construction, previously certified as essential, will have permits revoked due to non-compliance with State rules.
  • Affected applicants may resubmit for approval, but cannot work until re-approved.
  • DOB determined that construction sites previously authorized to continue work for the purposes of shutting sites down safely must stop.
  • Affected applicants may reapply, but cannot work until they receive an extension.
April 28, 2020
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • ‘NY Forward Reopening Advisory Board’ – made up of over 100 business, community, and civic leaders. Full list of the task forcehere, which was announced after the presser.
  • In regions that begin reopening, hospitals should keep hospital capacity below 70% and rate of transmission lower than 1.1.
  • Each region must appoint an oversight institution to monitor regional COVID metrics.
Mayoral Update

During the Mayor’s press conference, he announced,

  • New grading policies for NYC students; new standards include:
  • Grades K-5: students receive either “meets standards” or “needs improvement.”
  • Grades 6-9: students receive either “meets standards,” “needs improvement,” or “course in progress.”
  • Grades 9-12: there will be existing grading scales; students who need more time will receive a “course in progress”; students can also convert a passing grade to a “pass” rating, which would leave their GPA unaffected.
  • All students who receive “course in progress” will be enrolled in summer programming.
  • Calls on the State to allow tenants to cover rent with security deposits and/or to pay back missed rent payments over the period of 12 months following the crisis.
City Council Update

Council Hearing: Committee on Housing and Buildings & Committee on Consumer Affairs

  • Joint-committee discussed two bills:
  • Intro 191 2- bars marshals and City sheriffs from executing evictions and money judgements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Intro 1936 – expands the definition of harassment in the Housing Code to include individuals impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Of those who testified:
  • Supporters of Intros 1912, 1936 included: TenantsPAC, Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, New Economy Project, Met Council on Housing
  • Supporter of Intro 1912 included: Legal Aid Society
  • Supporters of 1936 included: Commission on Human Rights
  • Opponents of 1912, 1936 included: Community Housing Improvement Program, Renaissance Realty Group
  • Opponents of 1912 included: NYC Sheriff’s Department, Marshals’ Association
Agency Update – Housing Preservation & Development (HPD)

Mayor de Blasio cuts HPD’s capital budget in new affordable housing plan

  • Cuts $1.6b combined from HPD’s capital budget in FY20 and FY21.
  • The cuts will limit the number of deals the City can close in June and through the year.
  • Plans to add over $1b in FY22-FY24 to compensate for loss, but will require an economic recovery or a Federal bailout.
  • Council is set to have a hearing on the HPD budget in the coming weeks.
  • See relevant Politico coverage here and here.
April 27, 2020
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • ‘NY on PAUSE’ will be extended for many parts of the State post-May 15 deadline; certain regions upstate may be allowed to begin reopening.
  • State will provide $25m for food banks and providers most impacted by COVID-19.
  • ‘Nourish New York ’- an initiative to purchase food and products from Upstate farms for State food banks.
  • An expansion of antibody surveys to test 1,000 FDNY and 1,000 NYPD officers.
  • His support for NYC to open streets; he is committed to get involved, if necessary.
Mayoral Update

During the Mayor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Agreement with the City Council on closing streets for pedestrian/cyclist-use; City intends to open 40 miles through the month of May; goal of 100 miles during the course of crisis.
  • “Self-swab” testing – new method which allows patients to administer testing themselves.
  • Hiring of 1,000 new contact tracers through the Fund for Public Health.
  • Alternate side parking suspended for the next two weeks.
City Council Update

From a digital Town Hall with Speaker Johnson and Council Member Keith Powers, highlights include:

  • City budget shortfall: $2.5b in FY20, $5-$6b in FY21.
  • Federal funding will be required to consider large-scale rent relief packages.
  • Need for a Commission post-COVID to plan for future pandemics.
  • Support for a repeal of commercial rent taxes that apply below 96th Street.
  • Johnson: focused on legislation for homeless placements in hotels.
Agency Update- Department of Sanitation (DSNY)

DSNY proposed rule to require certain buildings to install and use waste containerization systems.

  • Proposed rule would require the installation of a waste containerization system in:
  • Any new multiple dwelling building that contains 300 or more dwelling units
  • Any commercial building that is altered, enlarged or otherwise modified from its original physical design in order to be newly classified by the DOB as a multiple dwelling building that contains 300 or more dwelling units
  • Any commercial building having 50% or more of its floor area renovated in order to be classified by DOB as a multiple dwelling building that contains 300 or more dwelling units
  • DSNY hearing date and time: May 28 @9:30AM; see here.
April 26, 2020
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • ‘Reopening and reimagining’ New York State – plans to reopen in phases, with regional analysis and determination to monitor each phase.
  • Phase I: Construction and manufacturing with low risk (after May 15).
  • Phase II: Essential businesses that are low-risk (at least two weeks after phase I).
  • Caveat: no reopening can take place that will result in large gatherings.
  • Work with local officials on a plan for downstate, including:
  • Coordination of transportation, parks, schools, beaches, and businesses.
  • Coordination of NYC, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester.
  • Creative ideas for reopening businesses (i.e. drive-in theaters, etc.)
  • Safe summer activities; more food banks & child care services; new philanthropic partnerships.
  • Focus on public housing and low-income communities.
  • Before large-scale business reopening, schools need to be open to provide structure for students; whether or not summer school is held could be a factor in reopening phases.
  • Details on school funding should be released by May 15; schools should expect up to 20% cut.
State Budget Update

NYS DOB released a new financial plan for FY21, amounting to $10.1b in spending cuts:

  • $8.2b cut in local aid to schools, health care programs, municipalities.
  • 10% reduction in State agency operations.
  • Hiring, salary increases, purchasing on hold.
  • Projected $61b deficit over the next four years.
  • Specific program cuts will be released in May; legislature will have 10 days to respond.
  • Politico Pro article here.
Mayoral Update

During the Mayor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Formation of a Task Force on Racial Equity and Inclusion, a Fair Recovery Task Force, a new Charter Revision Commission, and Sector advisory councils.
April 25, 2020
Governor’s Update

During the Governor’s press conference, he announced,

  • Executive Order to allow independent pharmacists to conduct diagnostic coronavirus tests.
  • Expansion of diagnostic testing criteria to include more New Yorkers.
  • Antibody testing for healthcare workers at Montefiore, SUNY Downstate, H+H Bellevue, H+H Elmhurst; also for MTA, Transport Workers Union Local 100, NYS Police, NYPD.