Long Island Main Street News April 14th, 2020

Here is today’s edition of LI Main Street News for day 30 of the Coronavirus shutdown. This issue includes new resources, downtown profile, government news and a new delivery service for take out and donations. The communities helping communities segment covers a fellow who turned his office into a food pantry. Check it out…

presented by Vision Long Island and the Long Island Main Street Alliance


April 14th, 2020


Quotes of Day


“We are forced to make difficult decisions but we are all in this together. We funded the SBA programs to provide relief particularly the EIDL and PPP. There is still money there and we are working to make sure that it gets to the small businesses that need it most.” – US Congresswoman Kathleen Rice

“Businesses and restaurants continue to adapt in order to remain open with some now switching to only curbside pickup. The Chamber continues to provide resources where they can to help businesses try to navigate the SBA loan application process.” – Susan Auriemma, VP, Greater Council of Manhasset Civics

A message from Vision Long Island and
the Long Island Main Street Alliance…

Helping Main Street through the
Coronavirus Shutdown

Day 30 of shutdown – Tuesday April 14, 2020

The Coronavirus economic shutdown is on day 30.

There is still confusion regarding SBA loans and stimulus funds.  Local banks are overwhelmed with applications for the Payroll Protection Program with a number of horror stories of delays due to the backlog. 

More outreach with local officials who know their small business community is starting to happen on the main street level to access these resources.   NYS Senator Anna Kaplan hosted a webinar yesterday and US Representative Kathleen Rice hosted one today with SBA staff. The LI Main Street Alliance will host one with the LI Director of the SBA on Wednesday.  We encourage folks to take advantage of these and other SBA webinars available in the coming days.   

The stories of community level philanthropy are coming from all over heartwarming and we will profile at least one each day.   Today check out an owner of an insurance company transformed his office into a food pantry.

Here are some updates:

US Representative Kathleen Rice held a conference call today with NY SBA representatives.  She fielded questions from local businesses focused on the administration of the relief programs with local banks and SBA staff.

 Governor Cuomo held his daily briefing today and he covered the status of Coronavirus cases in the state and strategies needed to reopen the economy. 

• A new executive order requires Face coverings for employees of essential businesses.

• Over 50 downtowns communities  are participating in this week’s LI Main Street Alliance Nassau & Suffolk Zoom meeting with SBA LI representatives.  Here is a link to the Zoom call

The community profiled today is downtown Manhasset

• The LI Main Street Alliances “We’re Open” Facebook page is now live sharing all of the local businesses still operating in 40 local communities. Like it and share it and most importantly support your Main Street.

• One of the biggest issues is still getting access to the two key SBA programs.   Very little outreach has been done to the small business community to help folks understand the benefits of these programs.    Here is information directly from the SBA:
For detailed information on SBA programs for the coronavirus, please visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus and for information on all federal programs, visit www.usa.gov/coronavirus or www.gobierno.usa.gov/coronavirus (en Español).
We know you are facing challenging times in this current health crisis. The U.S. Small Business Administration is committed to help bring relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the CARES Act, which provided additional assistance for small business owners and non-profits, including the opportunity to get up to a $10,000 Advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This Advance may be available even if your EIDL application was declined or is still pending, and will be forgiven.
If you wish to apply for the Advance on your EIDL, please visit www.SBA.gov/Disaster as soon as possible to fill out a new, streamlined application. In order to qualify for the Advance, you need to submit this new application even if you previously submitted an EIDL application. Applying for the Advance will not impact the status or slow your existing application.
Also, we encourage you to subscribe to our email updates via www.SBA.gov/Updates and follow us on Twitter at @SBAgov for the latest news on available SBA resources and services. If you need additional assistance, you can find your local SBA office and resource partners at www.SBA.gov/LocalAssistance. If you have questions, you may also call 1-800-659-2955.
Here is a direct link to the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program
Folks have been scrambling to see where there bank is regarding the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program – here is a list of the most SBA lenders for LI and the region.

• NYS Senator Anna Kaplan hosted a webinar on Facebook Live to help small business owners to make sense of the different relief programs that now exist to help during this difficult time. If you missed it live, you can watch it here

• NYSERDA and the Business Council are hosting an upcoming webinar for employers to understand different federal and state resources that can assist your business, covering topics like stimulus programs, SBA programs, the CARES Act, and Federal and State Leave Laws and related HR issues. The webinar will take place on April 16 from 9:30 to 10:30 and you can register at this link.

• Unemployment is still one of the most critical issues facing tens of thousands of Long Islanders.  
The State Department of Labor will immediately begin making $600 in additional weekly unemployment benefits available to all New Yorkers from the federal CARES Act. This is significant because New York is the first state to be offering the benefits right away, and many other Americans won’t see these benefits for several weeks. New York is also extending the period covered by unemployment benefits for another 13 weeks, for a total of 39 weeks. A reminder for those who have difficulty enrolling for UI: any claim you file will be backdated to the date you became unemployed. If you are eligible, you will be paid all benefits due.
Here is the latest guidance from the NYS Department of Labor regarding their backlog.

• Support food for front line providers during the night shifts – There are many efforts during the day for food but night shift folks are not getting the meals as readily.  Some Main Street restaurants are stepping up to feed folks after hours – here is one Go Fund Me page from a Main Street business in Patchogue assisting 11 hospitals!

• NY Blood Center and Mt. Sinai are looking for plasma donations from patients who have successfully recovered for COVID-19 for convalescent plasma treatments, here is the information:
NY Blood Center
While COVID has no proven treatment, it is possible that plasma taken from those who have recovered (convalescent plasma), which has antibodies against the virus, could help. If you had a positive test, AND your symptoms have been gone for 14 days, AND you are willing to DONATE, please complete and submit this form.
All information provided will be kept confidential and will only be used to qualify you as a donor.
Mount Sinai COVID-19 Plasma Donation
If you had COVID-19 and have recovered you can help save a life. Your blood may contain antibodies that fight the virus and can help critically ill people. Mount Sinai is looking to screen you as a volunteer. Please fill out this form to see if you are eligible.

• NYS has established a COVID tracker web site that provides data regarding the virus outbreak in the state, including a breakdown of fatalities by age, ethnicity, risk factors, etc.   Here is a link to the web site: 

• Can’t find hand sanitizer and need to make your own?  Here is one recipe.

• Need to boost your immune system? The Long Island Press has some ideas.

• If you like doing yoga:  Girls Inc is hosting Family Virtual yoga on Friday April 17th at 5:30.    

• If you are into civic freedoms and civil liberties the International Center on Not for Profit Law has a global civic freedoms tracker tied to the Coronavirus crisis

• It goes without saying that the front line providers in health care, police, ambulance, food services and many others are working round the clock and are the true heroes through this crisis.

• Our transit workers are also front line providers including those that run our train, bus and ferry systems.   Thursday at 3pm is a “Sound the Horn” tribute to those that keep these modes of travel running through the pandemic.  Check it out.

• Participate in the “Letters to Our Heroes” initiative!  Families can send emails (or scan letters or artwork) to show their support for our first responders, doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who are helping to control the COVID-19 outbreak and keep our communities healthy. You can email them to: LSchaefer@NassauCountyNY.gov   
The SBA sites and webinars and NYS DOL unemployment websites continue to be overloaded with requests.  SBA webinars have been filled to capacity.  The 311 call center in Suffolk, the call lines in Nassau as well and every Town, Village and community organizations are taking enormous amount of calls to answer questions and guide residents to resources where they are available.
For the small businesses that are still open there is a movement to continue to support them and keep them operating.  To their credit that is largely happening in most downtowns across Long Island. 
As we wrap up this through this fourth week of shutdown please think about supporting your local businesses at least once if not multiple times.    We have spoken to over 425 local business in over 45 downtown communities and they need your help.

RECENT NEWS FROM GOVERNMENT

• Senator Schumer’s release on $2 trillion Federal rescue package with $112 billion headed to NYS

• Governor Cuomo’s April 13th message

• Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s April 13th message

• Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s April 13th message

• Lupinacci Orders Flags to Half-Staff to Honor Former Elected Officials, Huntington Hospital Nurse and Other Lives Lost

• Town of Huntington to Close Tennis Courts, Crab Meadow Golf Course Monday

• Town of Hempstead Board Announce Economic Stimulus Plan to Help Workers Recover After COVID-19 Crisis – Pledge $40 Million Investment for Town Road Improvements

• North Hempstead is offering a way to pay taxes online as well as other resources for residents.

• The Village of Farmingdale will hold an online budget meeting tonight at 7:30 pm

• A message from Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro

• The Village of Great Neck Plaza’s most recent newsletter

• Village of Babylon’s Village Hall Offices will be Closed April 6th to April 20th

• The Village of Valley Stream is Supporting Small Business

• Updated NYS guidance document on essential vs nonessential businesses.

• PSEG Long Island is warning you to look out for scams and fraud feeding on the pandemic

• AT&T is providing updates to their COVID-19 response along with resources.

• US Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand urge the Trump administration to protect frontline transit workers and update safety guidelines.

• Senator Schumer proposed a “Heroes Fund” of $25,000 for all first line responders as part of the newest Federal Stimulus package.

RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESS

• US Senator Kristin Gillibrand has provided this thorough Q&A on the CARES Act.

• The US Chamber of Commerce has produced a guide to the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program which is very useful.

• The US Senate has provided this resource guide for small businesses and the CARES act.

• A Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act.

• The Federal Reserve unveiled the details of its Main Street lending program.
Here is a direct link to the Federal Reserve and initial documents.

• The NYS Department of Labor has instituted a new system to spread out applications.  Check out the PSA that explains their new guidelines to get folks their benefits.

• The SBA Paycheck Protection Program is an important program and details are coming forward.

• With the passage last Friday of the CARES Act, small business owners and nonprofits can get up to a $10,000 advance on an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

• Also check the Suffolk Chambers and Nassau Chambers website for important news and links.
Newsday and the LIA hosted a webinar with NYS SBDC and you can check it out here

• The LI Main Street Alliances “We Are Open” Facebook page is now live sharing all of the local businesses still operating in 40 local communities.   Like it and share it and most importantly support your Main Street.

• The Suffolk County online Coronavirus case tracker is back up and running.

• Our friends at LISTnet have a Coronavirus support page.

• National Federation of Independent Businesses is holding webinars on small business loans and has videos of past ones on their site.

• If you are in the construction industry here is a very thoughtful webinar from the KOW consulting group on changes underway.

• Updated information regarding REVISED SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan application can be found here.

• SBA’s Coronavirus landing page has been updated as well, and has important information including on the SBA Bridge Loan Program

• Property and casualty insurance premiums were waived for small business

• The Small Business Association announced an automatic deferment for loans from previous disasters

• All nonessential construction is shutdown

• Updated NYS guidance document on essential vs nonessential businesses

• NYS has developed a Shared Work program for folks to apply for partial unemployment to supplement a reduced work schedule

• Dining Bonds created to help local small businesses

• The free New York State business advisement services of the Small Business Centers at Stony Brook University and Farmingdale are also available to assist

• Facebook has grants for small businesses

• Kiva has grants for small business

• Amazon has a grant fund for small business

• Verizon has set up a small business recovery fund

• If you are at home do you dream about going back to your office or workplace?   If you are a boss or a manager here is what you should know from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration about making your workplace safe upon return.

• National Grid has created a targeted grants to help manufacturers who need assistance to develop new products or implement lean manufacturing, to produce critical items to support the pandemic response.

• Grants for Artists impacted by Coronavirus.

• Grants for Restaurant workers.

• The LI Herald has created a grant program that counts towards 50% discounts on advertising your business.

• SCORE Long Island is available to assist businesses with their SBA applications

• Read the Editorial from Stuart Richner of the Herald calling for a Small Business Stimulus to lead us into the recovery.

• Here is a video with Leg. William Doc Spencer on safely supporting Main Street businesses

• Rose Walker visited local downtowns to remind residents to patronize businesses that are struggling right now.

• Legislator Laura Schaefer has a series of videos on her Facebook page promoting takeout and delivery to independent small businesses.  Here is one for West Hempstead.

 Nassau County Minority Affairs Director Lionel Chitty provides an update on small business disaster loans.

• If you are searching for hand sanitizer for your organization, community or business you can order a batch here at reasonable prices.

• Nassau County and Suffolk County are surveying small businesses: The Nassau County survey is here.  The Suffolk County survey is here.

• LI Business News and Newsday have done a great job reporting on the need to support local businesses.  Here are a couple of recent stories spotlighting downtown businesses and the LI Main Street Alliance members:

Eating on the Run at LIBN
Survey of Downtown Businesses Shows Potential Closurees at Newsday
How to keep the money from the federal small business bailout at Crane’s New York (Subscription required)

RESOURCES FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT / SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS

• Senator Schumer, Gillibrand and Congressional delegation deliver $18 million for housing and community development for Long Island’s Counties and local municipalities.

• The NYS Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has weblinks for assistance here.

• Newsday has set up a page on their website for free messages for community organizations.   

• New grant resource for folks who provide meals to children from No Kid Hungry

• If you are a school providing meals during the Coronavirus crisis grants are available.

BILLS BILLS BILLS

• Some tips on bills you need to pay and some that you don’t as this crisis gets prolonged

• The IRS has created a Q&A page with information on what you need to do with your taxes

• Up to date information in accessing unemployment from NYS DOL

• Status of accessing unemployment with 1000% increase in requests

• If you filed for unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, you do not need to prove you are searching for employment to make a claim. Department of Labor Commissioner Reardon has signed a new order that limits all work search activities for all unemployment claimants. No activities are required during the pandemic to receive unemployment benefits.

• Life Insurance payments deferred – For a 90-day period, New Yorkers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may defer paying life insurance premiums. Late payments will be payable over a one-year period. Additionally, consumers and small businesses experiencing Coronavirus-related financial hardship may defer paying premiums for property and casualty insurance for a 60-day period. This includes auto, homeowners, renters and other kinds of insurance. (No late fees will be assessed and there will be no negative impact to your credit.)

• Pharmacies will now offer free home delivery to New Yorkers. All NYS major pharmacy chains, pharmacies have agreed to offer free home delivery to help reduce long lines for prescriptions at their facilities

• Supervisor Bosworth and the Town of North Hempstead launched a new program to provide our seniors with remote companionship during these isolating times. The “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program matches volunteers with seniors in the Project Independence program, and is designed to provide a sense of reassurance and comfort. To participate or to volunteer, call 311 or 516-869-6311

• Student loan borrowers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 can obtain relief for loans not covered by the CARES Act. Available relief includes 90 days of deferred monthly payments, waived late fees, no negative reporting to credit agencies and enrolling eligible borrowers in available long-term assistance programs. New York student loan borrowers should visit the Department of Financial Services’ website at dfs.ny.gov for more information about available student loan relief.

• Resources for displaced bartenders.

• Resources for displaced hospitality workers.

• If you are an artist the NYS Foundation for the Arts has Emergency Grants.

• If you are a photographer there are small grants available.

• PSEG has a Coronavirus page that is updated regularly

• There is now a 90 day waiver on mortgage payments which is a relief to the thousands of Long Islanders that had those bills hanging over their head during an extended forced shutdown.

• Freddie Mac is prohibiting evictions on properties where their loans are in place

• All NYS Department of Motor Vehicles licenses, ID’s and registrations are extended.   All offices closed and transactions are shifted to online service.

• AT&T suspends collection activities during the Coronavirus crisis

• PSEG Long Island Halts Service Shut Offs

• National Grid Halts Service Shut Offs

• Verizon Suspends Collection Activities

 Geico postponed collectons during Coronavirus shutdown

• Folks can check out this stimulus calculator that tells you what you might receive in the form of a direct payment from the Federal government.

• You may be able to temporarily stop making your student loan payments.

• If you are struggling with various bills to pay and worry about automatic payments from your bank account here is guidance on how to stop them.

• Got credit card debt?  Here is an updated list of banks that are providing relief to customers affected by the Coronavirus.

• Got wireless bills?  AT&T and Verizon have given guidance on how to handle them – here is Sprint’s

• Auto insurance bills?  Many car insurance companies are providing discounts and credits to customers as a result of the dramatic reduction in driving that’s been taking place during the pandemic.  Check with your provider to see if they’re offering one, and if there are any steps you need to take in order to receive the discount.

• National Grid has updated information about their billing.

• Curious about the process for Federal Coronavirus Recovery Checks? The first round of federal relief payments began going out today, so if the federal government had your direct deposit information from a recent income tax filing, you should check your bank account!

• NYS has updated its essential list of businesses again. Check out the latest.

HUMAN NEEDS

• Folks need FoodIf you are in need of food Island Harvest has their food locater and is working round the clock to continue supplies to those in need

• Domestic Violence is up 10%:  Many experts in the area of domestic violence prevention have pointed out lately that Isolation and unemployment are a recipe for disaster in a household with a history of intimate partner violence. If you need help, contact the Safe Center 24/7 at 516-542-0404 or the NY Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline at 800-942-6906. If you are in any personal crisis, you can also call the Long Island Crisis Center 24/7 hotline at 516-679-1111.

• How is your mental health? A mental health hotline is available to New Yorkers who need it. We can’t underestimate the impact this pandemic is having on mental health. Over 6,000 mental health professionals have volunteered their time to help with New York’s Coronavirus response. For free emotional support, consultation and referral to a provider, call 1-844-863-9314

• If you are pregnant?  Many pregnant women and their families are facing uncertainty about what the COVID-19 outbreak means for their ability to have a safe, supported delivery in Nassau County hospitals.   In response to these concerns, Nassau County has launched a hotline: 516-4UR-CARE. Pregnant patients can call this line and get answers and advice about how to have a safe childbirth under COVID-19 conditions.

• Salvation Army has a Coronavirus hotline for their services of food, counseling and other emergency services

• Stay Clean – NYS is supplying their hand sanitizer to front line providers on an as need basis.   Here is the request form.

• New York State has a Coronavirus hotline and website for information or to schedule a test.  Please call 888-364-3065 or navigate here.

• If you lost your health care, NYS has reopened its health exchange.

• If you are a Senior check out the AARP Thursday conference call with info on social security, tax deadlines and other services.

 If you are a Veteran and struggling through these difficult times you can have virtual Coffee with a Veteran each day at noon until Apr 30.   Email Dave-rogers1969@live.com to sign up.

• If you are a senior every Thursday AARP has a live Q and A call to help you manage the Coronavirus crisis.

• If you live in the Huntington area very thorough Coronavirus Resource Guide is available from the Office of Legislator William Doc Spencer.

HELP NEEDED

• Island Harvest is seeking food donations from commercial food establishments impacted by the coronavirus.

• Blood donations are needed: The New York Blood Center said it is in urgent need of donors, since coronavirus concerns have resulted in “critically low blood and platelet appointments” across Long Island. The NYBC has six centers in Nassau and Suffolk and said safety protocols are in place as they urge healthy individuals, who have not been exposed to coronavirus, to donate. The NYBC said if you are unsure if you can donate, you can ask their experts at 800-688-0900 or navigate to their webpage here.

St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center is calling for people to make appointments to donate blood.

• Nassau & Suffolk County need Emergency Personal protective Equipment – Drive is underway.   Info is here.

• New York is calling for qualified health professionals and related professionals to supplement hospital capacity on a temporary basis to help treat seriously ill coronavirus patients.

HELP WANTED

• Tens of thousands of Long Islanders are out of work.   There are many service industry positions seeking temporary or permanent employment.   Here are some:

7-11 (looking to add 20,000 jobs)
Aldi (5,000 open positions)
Amazon (looking to add 100,000 employees)
CVS (looking to hire 50,000 employees)
Dollar Tree/Family Dollar (25,000 full- and part-time associates)
Domino’s (looking to hire up to 10,000 employees)
Pepsi (bring another 6,000 people on board)
Pizza Hut (over 30,000 open positions)
ShopRite
Stop & Shop
Walgreens (fill roughly 9,500 full- and part-time positions)
Walmart (adding 150,000 temporary positions)

General Listings:

Indeed
Long Island’s Craigslist
New York Jobs

Simply Hired

• If someone is looking for a procurement opportunity through the state you can fill out this form here.

• If someone is looking for a procurement opportunity with the federal government check out this source

HOME & STIR CRAZY

• If you are stir crazy with kids at home the Cradle of Aviation uses a video service to bring the museum to residents.

• Bored at home?  East End Arts is providing virtual access to artists.

• The Staller Center for the Arts has a virtual tour of  many instruments and their outreach activities

• Folks are at home with their families and children for extended periods.   It’s important to know how to talk to your kids about Coronavirus so they don’t think we are living in an episode of the Walking Dead.  Here is also some guidance from PBS.

• If you are trying to figure out what to do at home with your kid while they have very limited hours with their teachers online.  Western Suffolk BOCES has produced an online toolkit for learning.

An added bonus to the toolkit is an activity with Mo Willems, Author of “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” and many other cool stories

• If you are home and desperately trying to figure out what to do with your child that is remotely productive here are 16 simple things that count as learning.

 If you are searching for something to do with your kids Chocolate Works has Easter kits.  For every one you buy they will donate one to a local food pantry.

• Turn off your Zoom call once you are done.

• Bored at home – Fifty libraries in Nassau County now offer digital cards, allowing residents to explore their hometown library’s book, music and art collections online from the comfort of their couch.

• How to make your own face mask.

• How to make homemade disinfectant spray and wipes.

• Check out a virtual landscape art exhibit from the Westbury Arts Council

• Always wanted to learn to play guitar but never had time?  Fender is giving free lessons from the next three months.

• Are you and your kids are glued to screens and losing your mind?   Here are 100 non electronic things you can do to keep your kids occupied during the lockdown.

• Do you miss Dinner and a movie?   The Cinema Arts Center offers free cooking videos to pair with your favorite independent films they can virtually screen.  Check out the story.
Here is the direct link.

• Need Chocolate Activity Kits for kids?  Chocolate Works provides Easter Bunny decorating kits, easter oreos and other home kits to make with you kids.   For every one you buy Pink Tie donates one to local food pantries in Hempstead and Medford!

INNOVATION UNDERWAY

• Folks are answering Governor Cuomo’s call for ventilators, masks:

The Business Incubator Association has created an invitation to ventilate.   

The LI Racing Association folks have a go fund me page to increase production of their reusable n95 masks.

A Long Island Distillery is making hand sanitizer.

D’Addario, a Long Island musical instrument maker, pivots from making drumheads to face shields

ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORTATION & SUSTAINABILITY

• SUEZ – who manages Nassau’s major sewage treatment plants in Cedar Creek and Bay Park is urging residents to NOT flush wipes down the toilet but instead place in garbage.  

• One benefit of Coronavirus: traffic is down and more folks walking, biking

• Environmental regulation impacted as EPA Suspended all Environmental Rules

• PSEG Long Island Continues to Storm-Harden the Grid

• MTA Distributes N95 Masks to Heroic Workforce

• MTA Announces Virtual Board Meeting to Be Held on April 22

• LIPA provides update on coordination plan and current projects and initiative

• NICE buses in Nassau County will switch to a reduced schedule. The service will operate on a Saturday schedule from Monday-Saturday, and Sunday service will be unchanged. This does not apply to the Elmont Flexi Shuttle, the Mercy Medical Community Shuttle, the Port Washington Shuttle, and the n19, n57, and n80 routes, which will all continue to run normally

• Good news – in a throwback that was really just 45 days ago – here is a profile on the hamlet of Bay Shore and the benefits of their two decades work of revitalization.

• More Good news – Consensus emerging on the superblock project in the City of Long Beach due to collaboration with a local developer and community organizations.

• A Video session that speaks to Multifamily development weathering the storm better than other forms of development.   

• Alfonso Castillo, Newsday’s transportation reporter did a nice profile on the challenges facing LI’s bus system that has been bringing essential workers to work and residents to health services. 

OTHER NEWS & RESOURCES

• Nassau County Map of updates from Across the County

• Suffolk County Map of confirmed Coronavirus cases

• Thinking Globally?   Here is a website documenting the world impact of Coronavirus.

• Thomas Friedman wrote a thoughtful opinion piece on how to get the economy back on track without sacrificing public health.

• Inspirational op-ed from LIBN editor Joe Dowd

• Gary Labarbara from the NYS Building Trades Council speaks about safety for construction workers.

• Celebrities have time on their hands and are letting us know how they feel including Ben Stiller, Danny Devito, Cardi B, Robert Deniro and Madonna encouraging folks to stay home.  Sean Penn was looking to send in the military.  Arnold Schwartzeneger was telling folks to stay home while smoking a cigar in his hot tub, Neil Diamond even wrote a song called “Hands Washing Hands” sung to the tune of Sweet Caroline.

• Lots of social media chatter and online bullying regarding social distancing.  According to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, NCPD received 700 calls with only 12 unfounded or easily resolved with a warning.   In Huntington Inspector William Scrima, commander of the Suffolk County Police Second Precinct said “We have gotten a number of calls about people and businesses who are not following social distancing guidelines. Many of the calls are unfounded, others are at businesses that people mistakenly believe are not designated essential.  We have encountered a few non-essential businesses that are open and a few gatherings of people in public areas. All have complied with the guidelines, when notified by our officers.”

• The Tourism industry has been severely impacted.  Here is a video with Kevin Wood from the Village of Port Jeff interviewing a representative from Danfords hotel.

• Do you care about your grocery store worker?   Check out RWDSU President Stuart Applebaum interviewed at the AFLCIO podcast on conditions for workers.

HOW CAN I HELP?

There are hundreds of thousands unemployed in NY but there are many more as folks can’t or haven’t navigated the system for benefits to date.

That is not simply an eye catching statistic but real people with lives upended.

For the folks that are still working I hope you are:

1) humble, sober and aware of the fact that right now millions of americans are in pain,
2) if you have resources to help local folks – patronize open small businesses to limit further job loss,
3) donate to local food pantries,
4) donate other resources directly to real people you may know in need and
5) if you have resources to give to groups make it very local groups who are on the ground and getting them needed help in this time.

CORPORATE PHILANTHROPY

• We are starting to see some Corporate Philanthropy develop that has been missing through this crisis.   Stay tuned for a more thorough report.

Locally
– The Long Island Community Foundation has set up a Coronavirus fund for community services and organizations.
– Pink Tie and the LI Nets have developed a Pink Tie delivers program – more on that in the coming days.
– Trader Joe’s has been making donations to local food pantries
– The Long Island East End Group purchased 15,000 masks for distribution to front line providers.
– The Estée Lauder Companies provided 10,000 hand sanitizer bottles (8 ounces each) per week for 4-5 weeks
– Owners of Shinn Estate Vineyards donate $100,000 to Eastern Long Island Hospitals
– LI Jobs with Justice Solidarity Fund
– Long Island Ambulatory Surgery Center donated a Ventilator
– In addition the United Way, The Townwide Fund of Huntington and the 1763 Foundation are all raising money to distribute to folks that meet their guidelines.  
– The Long Island Chinese American Association volunteers, donated 10,000 masks and delivered lunch to first responders.
– Jim Hagedorn from Scotts Miracle-Gro donated $110,000 worth of protective equipment for first responders. 

• The United Way has a fund to assist low income wage earners who were either (1) laid off or (2) furloughed from their jobs due to COVID-19.  People can search for assistance here.

Nationally
– JP Morgan Chase has committed $50 million
– Lowes has announced $25 million in grants and in-kind donations
– Citi Foundation has announced a $15 million fund
– Google has announced $15 million in cash grants
– Citizens Bank has announced $5 million
– Anna Wintour has set up a fund for folks in the fashion industry who are displaced.
– A number of grants for displaced local artists are starting to emerge
– Bank of America has dedicated a $100 million fund nationwide.
– Verizon has set up a small business recovery fund.

There is still a dearth of real community level information and tons of questions from folks stay tuned daily for updates on the range of actions taken to get us through this public health and economic crisis. 

We need you out there to tell is what is happening and what resources are available.   No matter what please join the LI Main Street Alliance by emailing us at ea@visionlongisland.org or call 631-804-9128.  

You can read previous editions of Long Island Main Street News here.

IMPORTANT WEBSITES TO TRACK:

Northwell Health Digital Resource Center

The US Small Business Administration

New York State Department of Labor

NYS Department of Health

CDC Website

Occupational Safety and Health

New York City

Nassau County

Suffolk County

Town of Hempstead

Town of North Hempstead

Town of Oyster Bay

Town of Babylon

Town of Brookhaven

Town of East Hampton

Town of Huntington

Town of Islip

Town of Riverhead

Town of Shelter Island

Town of Smithtown

Town of Southampton

Town of Southold

City of Glen Cove

City of Long Beach

MTA Information

School Closings

AARP’s Updates on the Coronavirus

Island Harvest’s Food Pantry Tracker

Suffolk County Alliance of Chamber’s Disaster Relief Information

Global Dashboard of Infection Data

Worldometers Coronavirus totals in the US

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At this time of uncertainty, we are beginning to see a number of downtowns being shuttered as bars, restaurants, and any place where multiple people congregate are running up against fears of and caution at spreading the Coronavirus. While this is a socially responsible action that will help to save lives, in the short term these actions are having a number of adverse effects on our local communities.

Vision Long Island and Long Island Main Street Alliance members have collected a number of experiences from local restaurants and service businesses, but before we go into that we would like to encourage everyone reading this to find a way to responsibly patronize local establishments. Many stores are offering curbside pickup or online shopping to help them get through this difficult time. And your favorite restaurants are also currently open for business with takeout available.

We also urge you to consider gift cards in order to purchase something at a later date for yourself, or perhaps to give as a present.

Local shops are in a capable position to provide you with what you need in the short-term. Many will also be willing to accommodate you if you contact them ahead of time with requests that will minimize contact and help to lower the spread of this virus.

Vision has connected to over 425 small businesses in over 45 downtowns as they weather the economic storm through the Coronavirus. We encourage people to responsibly patronize these and other open establishments who need your help in this time of crisis.

Many of these businesses have been there for local organizations and philanthropy – they now need our support.

In the meantime, here is the featured downtown for today.

For a complete list of downtowns profiles, please check out our website here.

Manhasset

Day 29 of the Coronavirus economic shutdown brings us to the hamlet of Manhasset.

Possibly the most jarring sight in the downtown during this shut down is to drive past their train station parking lot and see literally two or three cars in the middle of a business day.   In a community that prides itself on a short commute to New York City, this is unheard of even compared to the days following 9/11 and Sandy.   

Manhasset residents and business owners have been focused on charitable endeavors during this time.  The Manhasset Community Fund has announced a Special Drive to provide immediate support for our local charities that are straining under unprecedented need.

John Morse, Fund President, released the following statement: “The COVID-19 virus has impacted many families in Manhasset and has hit those least able to cope the hardest.”

“Families that lost paychecks have a dire need to purchase food, medicine, and the basics for their kids.  Funds raised will be used to help,” indicated Diana Holden, Executive Director of Adventures in Learning.”

Since 1946, The Manhasset Community Fund, staffed entirely by non-paid volunteers, has supported people who have significant challenges in our community.

In addition to helping their neighbors some businesses are still functioning and community spirit comes through.

“Businesses and restaurants continue to adapt in order to remain open with some now switching to only curbside pickup. The Chamber continues to provide resources where they can to help businesses try to navigate the SBA loan application process.

On our residential streets, families have moved their backyard chairs to the front yard so they can take advantage of the good weather days and socialize from a distance with neighbors who walk and bike past. The sense of community remains strong even as we follow the guidelines and practice social distancing. “
Susan Auriemma, VP, Greater Coalition of Manhasset Civic Associations

Despite the shutdown the following Manhasset independent restaurants and are open for takeout or delivery…..

A&F Market

Barrel of Grapes

BLVD 25 www.blvd25ny.com

Buttercooky Bakery wwwbuttercookybakery.com

Café Continental www.cafecontinentalmanhasset.com

For Five Coffee www.forfivecoffee.com

Gino’s Manhasset www.ginosofmanhasset

Green’s Irish Pub www.greensirishpub.com

Herb & Olive Marketa www.herbandolive.com

Louie’s Manhasset Restaurant www.louiesmanhassetrestaurant.com

Manhasset Bagels www.manhassetbagels.com

Manhasset Deli www.manhassetdeli.com

Manhasset Park Drug

MacLennan Pharmacy

Orlando’s Deli www.orlandosdeli.com

Pet Boutique

Pita Station

Pearl East

Publicans www.publicansmanhasset.com

Raindew Stores www.raindew.com +1 516-627-8666

Randazzo’s Pizza

Schout Bay Tavern www.schoutbaytavern.com

Stella Binaris flowers

Stresa www.stresa-restaurant.com

The Flower Shoppe

Umberto’s Manhasset www.umbertosfamily.com

Villa Milano www.villamilanomanhasset.com

West Babylon Good News

“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.” – Tia Walker

In late March, four friends, four Town of Babylon business owners, joined forces to create a safe situation for seniors 65+ to obtain food and healthcare supplies. The goal was to try and help the elderly from having to shop in crowds and offer them these necessities for free.

The friends, Danny Walsh (East Neck Insurance), Michael Maxwell (Green Metro Restoration), Ryan Sullivan (Sci-Unison Fitness), and Matt O’Keefe (Deer Park Wholesale Kitchens) started by setting up a fundraiser, with 100% of the donations used to buy supplies and food, which were purchased directly from wholesalers to limit the risk of cross contamination.

Then East Neck Insurance, 421 Great East Neck Road, West Babylon, was transformed into a market. Curbside pickup and delivery were set up. The market was a huge success.

“To see these people so thankful who were petrified to leave home to shop and scared for their life was a humbling experience,” says Danny Walsh, owner of East Neck Insurance. “Almost every single delivery there were tears and most had a follow up phone call with a senior brought to tears calling to say how grateful they were. I never do anything like this for any other reason than to help those in need. This was a real eye opener on how scared these seniors are and how little they have right now to eat and get by.”

The community was grateful too. “Love seeing local businesses step up and support those most in need.” “So inspired by what you and your friends are doing. Absolutely incredible!” “Thank you and your team for providing this service!” “We will get through this by sticking together.” These are just some of the comments left by those who donated to this cause.

Actions like this again highlights the generosity, resourcefulness and humanity of the residents and businesses on Long Island. Admiration and appreciation to all who made this market a success.

Governor Cuomo Briefs on Progress in fight against Coronavirus, Plans to Re-Open Economy

Governor Cuomo’s hit a few key points in his briefing earlier today:

• Hospitalizations have ticked down a very small amount, which is a good sign but too early to declare the state at the apex of infections.

• Net change in ICU admissions have also fallen while intubations remain in the negative.

• Hospitalizations by region have remained steady with hot spots located in NYC and surrounding counties, including Long Island.

• Percentage of loss of lives in nursing homes has ticked up.

• 778 New Yorkers lost their lives yesterday, a number that ticked up versus the previous day’s numbers.

• Total loss of lives in the state is now up to 10,834.

• Projection models have slowly come down and the governor is confident that our actions have changed the curve for the state.

• We have demonstrated that we can control the spread of the virus, even if the methods were tremendous.

• Reopening is being discussed in a multi-state council that includes seven states.

• New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware are all coordinating on when and how to reopen the local economy.

• Will need to learn the lessons of other countries that tried to reopen too soon only to see infection levels rise.

• Governments must be smart because they have the power of life and death where this virus is concerned.

• Federal-state relations must respected during this time and it is important we retain our rights delegated to us by the federalist model adopted by the states.

• We will need to work together as a country to get this under control and the economy running again.

• Will need to create a new testing system quickly that is accurate and feasible.

• New York remains resilient in all of this, but it’s one of the most complex and unprecedented situations ever faced by the state.

You can watch the full press conference here.

Here is Governor Cuomo’s message from yesterday, printed from his official website:

Recognizing that their states have one integrated regional economy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Delaware Governor John Carney and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo today announced the creation of a multi-state council to restore the economy and get people back to work. This announcement builds on the states’ ongoing regional approach to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The coordinating group – comprised of one health expert, one economic development expert and the respective Chief of Staff from each state — will work together to develop a fully integrated regional framework to gradually lift the states’ stay at home orders while minimizing the risk of increased spread of the virus.

The council will create this framework using every tool available to accomplish the goal of easing social isolation without triggering renewed spread – including testing, contact tracing, treatment and social distancing – and will rely on the best available scientific, statistical, social and economic information to manage and evaluate those tools.

“We have been collaborating closely with our neighboring states to combat this pandemic through a uniform approach to social distancing and density reduction and it has been working well. Now it is time to start opening the valve slowly and carefully while watching the infection rate meter so we don’t trigger a second wave of new infections,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is not a light switch that we can just flick on and everything goes back to normal – we have to come up with a smart, consistent strategy to restart the systems we shut down and get people back to work, and to the extent possible we want to do that through a regional approach because we are a regional economy. New York is partnering with these five states to create a multi-state council that will come up with a framework based on science and data to gradually ease the stay at home restrictions and get our economy back up and running.”

Governor Phil Murphy said, “No one has given more thought or is more eager to restart our economy than I am, but if we don’t get the sequencing right, we put more lives at risk. The only path to a sustainable economic recovery is through a strong healthcare recovery. Then, and only then, do we position ourselves to fully ignite our economy and get the residents of our state back to work while minimizing the danger of this disease. A coordinated, regional approach, informed by a multi-state council of experts, will help us avoid a major setback with potentially disastrous consequences. I look forward to the day when the facts on the ground allow us to ease our restrictions and move our regional economy forward.”

Governor Ned Lamont said, “One thing that’s undeniable is that this virus does not stop at the border of any county, state, or country, but the impact is the same when it comes to our respective economies and healthcare systems. Working as a regional coalition to make the right decisions will lead to the best public health results for all of our residents. We must solve these problems together.” 

Governor Tom Wolf said, “Our highest priority remains protecting the health and safety of Pennsylvanians. While my administration continues to take critical steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, I also recognize that we must look ahead and take a measured, careful approach to prepare for the future while ensuring that we don’t undo all of our efforts. Pennsylvania will work collaboratively with our partners both in state and in surrounding states to develop a comprehensive strategy that first focuses on health but also addresses the need to gradually restore our economy.”  

Governor John Carney said, “We still have a situation in Delaware that is getting worse. Infections of COVID-19 and hospitalizations are rising. Delawareans should stay home. Don’t go out in public unnecessarily. Don’t visit Delaware unless you need to see a doctor, or care for a family member. You’ll only increase everyone’s risk. At the same time, we need to look forward. We need a consistent approach for moving our states out of this crisis, when that day comes. I’m grateful for the partnership of my fellow Governors in the region. They are all working around-the-clock to prevent surges in COVID-19 cases, protect hospital capacity for the most critically-ill patients, and save lives. We’ll get through this by working together.” 

Governor Gina Raimondo said, “States are taking the lead as we fight to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives. I’m proud of the steps we’ve taken, and I’m constantly thinking about what it will take to safely reopen our economy. But we know that this virus does not recognize borders, and it’s clear we need a strong, coordinated regional approach to avoid a second wave of this disease. I’m grateful to my fellow governors for their leadership during this crisis and I’m confident that this new partnership will support our efforts to get Rhode Islanders — and all Americans — back to work safely.”

PinkTie.org Launches Service to Pick up Food for Donations

Melville-based PinkTie.org has officially launched a pick-up and delivery service that will help to keep food pantries stocked during the ongoing health crisis.

With the help of the limo company Late Night Chauffers, PinkTie volunteers will pick up food donations from people’s doorsteps and deliver them to food pantries across Long Island.  The service will pick up donations in Woodbury, Syosset, Bethpage, Hicksville, Melville, Huntington, and Farmingdale.  The locations that will receive food include Pastor Roger Blackmore of Genesis Church Food Pantry, Pastor Charles Roberts of Salvation Army Nassau, Mastic Beach Food Pantry, and the Babylon Food Pantry.

The donations must be a minimum of one bag and include non-perishable food items and cleaning supplies.  Pick-ups will only be made Monday through Friday from noon to 4 pm.

If you are interested in participating please text your name, location, and pick-up time to 631-397-1234.
You can read more at litimes.org.

Paycheck Protection Program for Small Businesses Goes into Effect

The US Department of Treasury has released guidelines for small businesses seeking relief from payroll costs during the Coronavirus pandemic.  This program called the Paycheck Protection Program, will provide small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.

Funds are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.  All loans under this program will have an interest rate of 0.5%, maturity of 2 years, be 100% guaranteed by the SBA, and the first payment will be deferred for 6 months.

Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors— are eligible. Businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries.  Maximum loan amounts will be up to $10 million.
Qualifying small businesses and sole proprietorships will be apply to apply beginning this Friday, April 3rd.  Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply beginning April 10th.  People are encouraged to apply as quickly as possible as there is a funding cap in place.

People can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating. All loans will have the same terms regardless of lender or borrower. A list of participating lenders as well as additional information and full terms can be found at www.sba.gov.

You can find more information on the loans here. You can read more at Long Island Business News.

Small Businesses Urged to Apply for SBA Loans

There are still a lot of questions in regards to the impact of the Federal aid package on small businesses.

Here is the latest fact sheets from US Congresswoman Kathleen Rice that outlines the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (here) and the SBA’s Paycheck Program Loan with the updated guidelines (here).  Congressman Lee Zeldin recently had an SBA representative encourage folks to apply for loans no matter what.

In the meantime, there has been an effort to encourage small businesses to work to apply for loans asap.  The LI Main Street Alliance and the Nassau & Suffolk Chambers are working to get information out to the small business community to help as much as possible.

Newsday and the LIA are both hosting, and will continue to host, video conferences on a range of business resources as well.

This past Friday morning, the Queens Chamber of Commerce hosted a webinar for businesses to learn how to apply for SBA loans.  Man-Li Lin, from the New York District office of the U.S. Small Business Administration presented information to explain how to apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).  This information is subject to change as the situation remains fluid. The local Small Business Development Centers at Farmingdale State College (here) and Stony Brook University (here) will have new information as updates occur.

While SBA loans are typically only available for small businesses, during a declared national disaster, they are also available for private not for profit entities as well.  Most small businesses and non-profits are eligible except for businesses relating to gambling, religious organizations, investment or lending companies, charitable organizations, speculative activities, or agricultural enterprises. 

Loans of up to $2 million are available with no payments for 12 months.  They can be used to pay expenses such as fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, or other bills affected by the disaster.  Interest rates are 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for private non-profits and long term repayments for COVID crisis will be 30 years.  Loans cannot be used for lost revenue, just for expenses.  Typically, businesses are not eligible if they are able to secure credit elsewhere.  However, they are currently allowing applications without denial letters from other lenders.

There is no cost to apply and no obligation to take the loan if it is offered.  The amount of the loan application should reflect six months of operating expenses.  Documentation of a typical months expenses is required.  Businesses are eligible even if they already have a previous SBA loan, disaster loan or other types of SBA loans.  Loans over $25000 require collateral, but won’t be denied simply for lack of collateral, they will require a pledge of what is available.  Criteria for approval will include eligibility, credit history and the ability to repay.
The application forms can be downloaded here.  Once the forms have been completed, they can be uploaded to the site or hardcopies mailed to:

US Small Business Administration

Processing and Disbursement Center
14925 Kingsport Road
Ft. Worth, TX 76155-2243

You can also contact the SBA disaster customer service center at 1-800-659-2955, disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or TTY:1-800-877-8339.  They recommend email as the best way to get in touch with someone.  If applicants are receiving a 404 error, they recommend clearing your cache and trying again.

Support our Main Street businesses and each other

The following op-ed was written by Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander and originally appeared in Long Island Business News.

The real experiences downtown small business owners, their staff and local communities face from the Coronavirus shutdown range from miserable to catastrophic.

The major focus of our national media coverage has been – correctly – the health impacts of the virus and things we can do to limit its spread. When it has veered into economics it’s been a discussion of Wall Street.
What hasn’t been covered is the economic impact to real people on Main Street of the shutdown efforts to date.

The world has changed radically in a little over two months. The LI Main Street Alliance meeting in late January provided updates from 20 communities that were experiencing or looking forward to investments in their downtowns. The local businesses were functioning well even through the winter which is a tough time for any business.

With the advent of Coronavirus the world turned upside down. We surveyed over 400 independent small businesses and the results to date were miserable. A 40-50% reduction in most restaurants, bars and local services in the weeks leading up to the shutdown. After the closure the business that remained open business are down 80-90%. One third of all business told us they are considering permanent closure depending on the type, and expediency, of federal loans and grants, support they are able to muster if they are still open from the community and the timeframe of when the shutdown ends.

The grocery store and pharmacies may be mobbed but the independent small businesses you love, and donates to sports teams and community organizations, may not be there or radically restructured in the coming months.

Thankfully the federal government has stepped in to provide $112 billion to individuals, small businesses, local government and service organizations. Hopefully they will fast-track these SBA disaster loans and aid without red tape. Town and Village governments, who know their local businesses have been assisting in the outreach to get these resources to as many businesses as possible. It will be important to for municipalities to be ready for assistance in the form of federal Main Street grant programs that may be approved to aid in the economic recovery.

Beyond supporting our Main Streets we need to support each other. Most Long Islander’s live paycheck to paycheck and a shutdown created dire conditions for real working- and middle-class people. Nationally, over 10 million applied for unemployment over the last week including nearly 400,000 in New York but there are many more as folks haven’t yet navigated the application process.

That is not simply an eye-catching statistic but real people with lives upended.

For the folks that are still working we hope you are humble, sober and aware of the fact that right now your neighbors are in pain. If you have resources to help:

Patronize open independent small businesses to limit further job losses with take out or delivery services. Patronize other Main Street businesses that are still open and where possible order services or products by phone or electronically.

Purchase gift certificates from your local stores or restaurants in order to get them needed cash now to help them reopen in the future.

Donate to local food pantries, help rustle up personal protective gear for front line providers

Donate other resources directly to real people you may know in need

If you have resources to give to groups make it very local groups who are on the ground and getting them needed help during this time.

We have all been a part of the stories – community by community, local restaurants feeding hospital workers, donation drives to the local food pantry, neighbors helping each other with critical cleaning supplies, gloves and masks, and other heartwarming efforts. Virtual and zoom meetings of local government, community and business leaders collaborating on the response to this crisis that is emerging will need to pivot into a Main Street level economic recovery.

We will get through this together, but it will require our collective support from the community level on up to partner with the guidance, regulations and government assistance coming from the top down. Together we can work to ensure the impact of this crisis to our local downtowns is minimized and resources emerge to help Main Street businesses and each other.

Upcoming Webinars for Small Businesses Seeking Relief Loans

While this process is still evolving, businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible and provide all required documentationfor relief loans from the Small Business Administration. Representatives from the SBA will follow up with questions.

Webinars will be held to help guide businesses through the application process, the times are as follows:

April 15th, 9:30 am to 11:30 am. Zoom link here. Phone number: 1-929-436-2866

MTA, Amtrak, NJ Transit, Port Authority and Regional Transit Agencies Launch April 16 #SoundTheHorn Campaign

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), together with Amtrak, NJ TRANSIT, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NYC Ferry and other regional bus and ferry operators today launched a coordinated day of action to simultaneously sound their fleets of train, bus and boat horns on April 16 to honor heroic transportation workers across the region. As a tribute to #HeroesMovingHeroes on the front lines of this public health crisis, all trains and buses running in service will give two one-second horn blasts at 3:00 p.m. in solidarity with partner agencies. Heroic transportation workers continue to provide critical service for healthcare workers, first responders, childcare workers, grocery store employees and other heroes who are performing critically essential work during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The sounding of horns advances the MTA’s #HeroesMovingHeroes campaign, which is dedicated to honoring the agency’s employees. The campaign was first launched on April 6 and features heroic frontline transportation workers who continue to go above and beyond the call of duty during this challenging time. The coalition of agencies invites transit agencies across the country to participate in the day of action.   

“Our employees are heroes,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye. “They are courageously coming to work each day to perform their essential duties, which are critically important to this region during the pandemic. We hope this action will draw attention to their efforts and help further our employees’ spirit of solidarity with all New Yorkers.”  

“Every hero deserves to be recognized and thanked for their courage, selflessness and the help they are providing to this country during this time,” said Amtrak Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating and Commercial Officer Stephen Gardner. “We are proud to participate with our partners and ‘sound our horns’ by honoring and thanking all of the heroes in the New York metropolitan area and across the nation who continue their essential and heroic service.” 

The partner agencies expect that there will be nearly 4,400 trains, buses and ferries in service on Thursday afternoon to participate in the coordinated sounding of horns. The entire family of MTA agencies will participate, including New York City Transit’s subways and buses, the Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad. MTA Bridges and Tunnels crew members operating maintenance vehicles will also participate. 

Anyone who sees or hears trains, buses or ferries sounding their horns at 3 p.m. on Thursday is encouraged to use the #SoundTheHorn hashtag to post audio and video, and tag the agency on the platform of their choice. 

Jack Khzouz, Chief Executive Officer, NICE Bus said: “We’re transporting real-life heroes every day on NICE Bus. Nassau County residents depend on essential employees in healthcare, supermarkets, and other services to do their jobs so we can all be safe. Likewise, I couldn’t be prouder of our NICE Bus employees for their extraordinary efforts to keep the buses moving reliably and safely. It’s our honor at NICE Bus to sound the horn in solidarity to support our heroes.” 

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said: “As we support our courageous first responders with this united tribute, let’s also recognize our transit workers, the unsung heroes keeping society running and safely getting our first responders and essential workers to the front lines. I hope everyone hears these sirens — our way to communicate our solidarity and appreciation.” 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said: “Everyday our Suffolk County Transit workers help ensure their fellow essential workers make it to work safe and sound to help us fight this crisis,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “Just like we have done for our healthcare workers and first responders, we are standing together in solidarity with our transportation workers across the region and our 190 buses in service on Thursday we will be sounding their horns loud and proud to thank their counterparts for their brave efforts.”  

CDC Guidelines on Coronavirus Prevention

As concern about the ever-expanding impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) grows, we can minimize or prevent the spread of coronavirus by taking these steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.  Wash or sanitize your hands thoroughly.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or antiseptic wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

For more information see the CDC website or call the NY State Coronavirus hotline to speak with a representative 888-364-3065

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Their purpose is to provide personalized, outstanding financial and investment services, while maintaining the highest level of service and care. Their clients have come to trust us to provide expert and objective information, and they treat their clients with care, respect and sensitivity to each client’s needs and goals. They seek to empower their clients, and communicate in a language that is easy to understand. While the clients’ financial goals come first, they’re one of the few firms that respect and can incorporate clients’ environmental and social concerns and values.

They know how important it is to be responsive to their clients’ unique social and financial objectives, investment time lines and tolerance for risk.

Smart Talk

Contributors:
Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Elissa Kyle, Placemaking Director; Jon Siebert, Administrative Director

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to info@visionlongisland.org for consideration.

If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.

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Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.
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