Mayor de Blasio Provides Updates On New York City’s COVID-19 Response

March 14, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced new updates on New York City’s response to COVID-19. These updates include new social distancing guidance for schools and a temporary moratorium on evictions.

“As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we are asking New Yorkers to come together and do what they can to curb this pandemic,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “To those who are understandably feeling anxious: your City has your back and will continue to do everything within our power to keep you safe.”

Updated Social Distancing Guidance for Schools:

To effectively implement social distancing, the Department of Education will cancel extracurricular activities such as athletic games and practices, school-wide assemblies, school plays, and recitals until further notice. Domestic travel is canceled, and field trips are suspended until further notice. Internships are canceled and SAT administration within DOE sites is postponed, and exam dates will be scheduled for later this month. Parent teacher conferences will be available via phone or video. After school programs, including DYCD and CBO-run programs, will still serve students, with the exception of some extended use permits that primarily serve adults. The City will also be adding an additional deep-cleaning day, in order to sanitize facilities three times per week.

The DOE is assessing other social distancing methods including:

• Moving to an in-classroom breakfast and lunch option if implementing distancing measures in cafeterias is not possible;

• Expanding our Move-to-Improve program, that will help us reduce large groups of kids in physical education and recess;

• Directing afterschool programs to avoid all large congregate activities, and spread children out in classrooms, gyms, and cafeterias as much as possible.

Evictions Moratorium:

This Administration is focused on preventing the displacement of New Yorkers facing sudden financial hardship due to Covid-19. The Courts are critical partners in this work, and today they announced a temporary moratorium on evictions in New York City and suspended the issuance of new eviction warrants when a tenant fails to appear in court. This means that more people will be able to remain in their homes during this health emergency.

City’s Mask Supply:

The City has over 500,000 N-95 masks currently on hand. This supply includes stockpiles from agencies like NYC Health & Hospitals, the Department of Corrections and the Fire Department. The City has asked the FDA for 2.2 million additional N-95 masks, but have only been approved for 76,000. However, the CDC and WHO have also said that surgical masks are acceptable replacements for N-95s. The Department of Health has 16 million surgical masks on hand and will receive an additional 25 million over the next two weeks. The NYPD received an additional 250,000 masks today. The Health Department will prioritize requests for allocation and distribution based on need.

Expanding City’s Healthcare Workforce:

The City is exploring all ways to expand its healthcare workforce, beginning with City workers. H+H hospitals will divert more staff and resources towards emergency services and away from elective surgeries and non-essential functions. Additionally, the City will expedite credentialing for City doctors, nurses, and other volunteer healthcare workers, including retirees, across other City agencies who may be needed in an emergency to work at H+H.

New Telework Guidance for City Employees:

DCAS has sent out a Temporary Citywide Telework Policy to all agencies to encourage social distancing strategies in the workplace. In order to allow for at least 10% of the workforce to telework, agency heads will immediately work to implement a plan that identifies appropriate staff to work from home while keeping all city services running.

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