A statement made on March 16th, 2020, regarding District 10 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates from uptown NYC Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez:
Dear friends and neighbors,
As part of our efforts to battle this health crisis, our office continues working alongside City and State officials, as well as City agencies, to ensure we relay the most up to date information on the coronavirus front.It is imperative that we reject any false information circulating the internet and certain media outlets. During these uncertain times, it is vital that we work together and do our part to reduce the impact of this health crisis. That starts with staying in and keeping informed.
The City has recently taken a number of serious decisions in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. These measures include:
- Temporary closing of Public Schools and educational Institution and transitioning to online classes
- Temporary closure of bars, restaurants, social clubs, and gyms by 8:00 PM
- Temporary closure of theaters, Broadway performances,
- New York Court postponement (eviction proceedings and pending eviction orders will be suspended statewide)
- College classes have been moved online or are in recess while professors and administrations transition to online platforms
- New York City is adding over 8,000 additional hospital beds
- New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are banning all gatherings larger than 50
It is important to emphasize that during this time we keep calm and stay home, as social distancing has proven to slow the spread of contagion. If you have related symptoms, please contact your doctor or 311 for information on how to proceed to get the help you need.
Overburdening our health system could have major implications for all New Yorkers, including those who are at greater risk. People who are among the most vulnerable include older New Yorkers and people suffering from unrelated health conditions.
Be aware that many neighbors have begun forming support groups to help one another. One of these newly formed groups is COVID Care. The network is connecting volunteers with isolated New Yorkers who need additional support. We have also seen many efforts led by tenants within residential buildings to provide help to those who are currently unable to run errands and/or get the resources they need.
As the Chair of the Transportation Committee, I am calling on the City to temporary cancel parking meters, as people are being asked to stay in and distance themselves socially, they are spending less time driving and more time home. This measure would only temporarily suspend parking meters and the issuance of parking tickets correlated to parking meters. New Yorkers should not have to face fines or costs associated with parking meters during this time.
Additionally, I am joining my colleagues at the Council as we call for a moratorium on food delivery workers’ fines and bike confiscations. I am proud to have joined Council Member Carlos Menchaca in sending this letter to Mayor de Blasio, calling on the decriminalization of e-bikes delivery workers.
Since the City has called for restaurants to only provide take-out and delivery options for New Yorkers, an increase in home deliveries should be expected. We need to support New York’s delivery workers now, as we continue our fight to expand their rights moving forward.
Public Education Institutions
The City has also made the difficult decision to temporarily close our SUNY, CUNY, and public schools in New York City. Given that currently, a large percentage of public school students heavily rely on school lunches as their main source of nutrition, this decision was not made lightly.
More than 100,000 New York City students are currently experiencing housing and food insecurity and over 40% of all New Yorkers are living “under 150% of NYCgov poverty threshold”. With these facts in mind, the City has developed a plan to ensure all public schools students receive the meals they rely on to stay healthy.
New York City Schools have pledged to ensure that every school offers meals from 7:30 AM – 1:00 PM. Children can access these meals in ANY SCHOOL. Children do not have to attend that school in order to receive a free meal. We will keep working to ensure everyone is being supported during these difficult times, teachers, students, and parents must receive all the support and resources they require.
Lastly, schools have either canceled or transitioned online any non-essential, non-instructional activities. These can include but are not limited to:
- PSAL activities (games, practices),
- Parent-teacher conferences,
- PTA meetings,
- School plays, and recitals.
Incredibly difficult decisions have been made in order to ensure that all New Yorkers are kept safe. They include the closure of bars, restaurants, theatres, and social locations that normally bring people in close proximity. While we remain mindful of the impact on business owners, we have to put New Yorkers’ wellbeing above financial considerations for the time being.
As part of the efforts to protect our business owners,
In order to protect our employees, I have sent a letter to Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio calling on them to ensure that all employees are covered by the paid-sick time during this pandemic. Council Members Alan Maisel, Barry Grodenchik, Adrienne Adams, Margaret Chin, Helen Rosenthal, and Antonio Reynoso have all supported the letter.
We need to ensure that everyone is covered and that no employee has to make the harrowing decision between losing a paycheck or putting themselves or their loved ones at risk by going to work.
Free Internet access
During this time we are seeing increasing support from many corporations in the private sector. One of those efforts includes the offer of free Internet and phone service access to New Yorkers from various companies. Many children living in underserved immigrant and poor communities lack or have limited access to internet services. By facilitating these services, they will be able to continue their education and complete their school assignments. Below are some companies offering connectivity relief for students:
“Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.”
“To sign up, applicants can simply visit www.internetessentials.com. The accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. There are also two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.”
Pledged to, “Keep our public Wi-Fi hotspots open for any American who needs them. The coronavirus pandemic is causing many hardships. If you find yourself in financial trouble and unable to pay your bill, we’re here to help you. Please contact us at 800-288-2020 for AT&T broadband, residential wireless or small business services and 611 from your AT&T device for wireless”
As mentioned before if you have any questions please feel free to call our offices or 311 for more information. To receive free real-time updates about COVID-19 text COVID to 692-692.
We advise everyone to:
- Stay home if you are sick
- Always cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
- Do not touch your face with unwashed hands
- Avoid shaking hands
- Consider telecommuting, biking or walking to work if possible
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
If you have family or friends who are elderly, have compromised immune systems, chronic respiratory, or coronary issues, do not visit them if you feel sick.
If you or somebody you know is in need of support, you are not alone call 1-888-NYC-Well or text WELL to 65173.