Long Island Main Street News April 20th, 2020

Folks can check out today’s edition of LI Main Street News for day 36 of the Coronavirus shutdown. This issue covers new grant resources, the latest on unemployment, community updates, the Community Helping Communities segment and more. Check it out…..

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


April 20th, 2020


Quotes of Day


“We’re the ones getting the telephone calls. We’re hearing from small businesses who own their buildings, from residents who lost someone to the virus, or who have lost their jobs. They’re saying, ‘We can’t afford to pay [property taxes].'” – Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer

“It is vitally important that we support our local businesses now more than ever.  These businesses are the ones that support our many community organizations and youth sports teams and now they need our support.” – Beth Wahl, President, Chamber of Commerce of the Mastic’s and Shirley

“[Local Healthcare workers] are risking their families’ lives and their lives everyday. That’s why it is very important that every one remember the sacrifices they are making for all of us.” – Jeffrey Erath, President, Amityville Chamber of Commerce

“I have been unemployed before myself, and I understand the pain, fear and anxiety New Yorkers are facing. The DOL’s mission is to help our neighbors through some of their toughest days, and in the last week we have made great strides in updating our systems. While it appears the coronavirus pandemic is beginning to stabilize — at least from the public health perspective — we know that many New Yorkers are still facing an uncertain economic future, and the Department of Labor will continue to dedicate every resource available to helping New Yorkers weather this storm.” – NYS Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon

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

Helping Main Street through the
Coronavirus Shutdown

Day 36 of shutdown – Monday April 20, 2020

The Coronavirus economic shutdown is on day 36. 

The news that a bulk of very large businesses accessing SBA programs ahead of the many small businesses applying and in need of support dominated the news this weekend.   Pending agreement in Washington adding funds to the programs is hopeful and maybe smaller businesses will start to access these resources.  NYS Department of Labor spoke about their efforts to clear a number of back logs in their system which was welcome news.

Today’s communities profiled are the neighborhoods of Mastic and Shirley.  Our Communities Helping Communities segment brought us to the Village of Amityville.

Here are some updates:

• The US Chamber of Commerce has a small grant program for small businesses empoying between 3-30 people. Check it out

• 10 Town Supervisors are urging NYS to push back the property tax deadline

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

• The NYS Department of Labor has addressed their massive backlog to move over $2 billion of benefits to New Yorkers.

 NYS Senator Todd Kaminsky introduced a bill supported by US Congresswoman Kathleen Rice for mortgage relief for homeowners. 

• There is a pending agreement in Washington for Small Business funding.

• NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has developed a Covid-19 Financial Survival Toolkit for New Yorkers with links and resources for residents, government entities, nonprofits and businesses. Check it out here.

• Nassau County Executive Laura Curran will host a Coronavirus State of the County on News 12 Long Island Thursday, April 23, 6:30 PM

• More outreach with local officials who know their small businesses is starting to happen on the community level to access these resources. 
The LI Main Street Alliance hosted one with 100 participants from over 50 communities with the SBA NY Office yesterday – check out Facebook page for a full write up.  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 local efforts in the Village of Amityville that support front line providers and local businesses.

• Pink Tie has set up a Pink Tie Delivers system to bring food to local pantries across Long Island.   The launch started this week bringing food to the Salvation Army in Hempstead.   Check out how you can help.

• The LI Main Street Alliance’s “We’re Open” Facebook page is 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 SBA programs is changing their rules again.
After promising borrowers up to $2 million in loans—including an immediate grant of $10,000—the SBA has pulled back and changed the terms of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. It capped the loans between $25,000 and $35,000 and changed the immediate grant to $1,000 for each small-business employee, not to exceed 10 employees. Demand has been overwhelming, with one report pegging loan requests at more than 3 million applications.

• 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.

• 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.

• Island Harvest provides free referrals and free assistance for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) over the phone, and you do not have to go to the Department of Social Services. Island Harvest can walk you through the online application by telephone or complete a short intake and submit the online application for you. Give them a call at 631-873-4775 for assistance.

• Check on the status of your IRS Economic Impact Payment.

• Walking is important during this shutdown and is a form of self care.

• The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation has grants for to nonprofit organizations serving low-income individuals, families and communities in New York State.

• The American Heart Association is holding a call to help reduce the impact of Coronavirus

• The Alzheimer’s Association is hosting a Free Legal & Financial Planning Webinar that covers changes to Medicaid, the Cares act and other info.  Check it out.

• The State established a new partnership with the New York State Court System to create a pro bono network of volunteer lawyers to provide New Yorkers in need with free legal assistance. Volunteers will begin to receive training and start offering assistance next week. Lawyers interested in volunteering can sign up at www.nysba.org/covidvolunteer

 Pet ownership is up – here is a piece on how pet ownership helps address isolation particularly for older adults.

• A proposal to remove local zoning and hand it over to Albany has been floated in Newsday and LI Business News.   It is unclear to date who is behind this effort presented in the middle of a pandemic with real people focused on human needs.   LI Builders Institute is quoted on the record opposed to this measure along with countless municipal leaders, chambers and community organizations.  Stay tuned for more on this.

• 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.

• 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!https://www.gofundme.com/f/feed-the-nurses-pm-shift

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 520 local businesses in over 45 downtown communities and they need your help.

RECENT NEWS FROM GOVERNMENT

• NYS Department of Labor Launches New Streamlined Application for New Yorkers to Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Without Having to First Apply for Unemployment Insurance

• US Senator Schumer previewed his efforts at a new round of federal stimulus funding to focus on smaller businesses and community relief in a Newsday live presentation Friday.  Check out the story for a summary.

• US Senator Kirstin Gillibrand sent out a memo outlining some cases of fraud concerning SBA applications – please review and report and suspicious activity:
1)     Emails impersonating SBA to a borrower regarding PPP loan applications. SBA DOES NOT communicate with borrowers regarding specific PPP loan applications. All PPP loan correspondence should be between the lender and the borrower. 
2)     Emails impersonating SBA asking for borrowers to complete and sign attached documents to “complete” their disaster “Grant Application.” SBA does not process grants. All EIDL loan processing now occurs through the EIDL portal, and legitimate loan approval emails clearly reference the original confirmation #. If additional documentation is required (95% of loans do not require more documentation), it is electronically handled in the portal. EIDL Advances process with NO action required on the part of the applicant.
3)     These phishing emails are sophisticated, with SBA logos and styling consistent with legitimate SBA communications. If in doubt, the borrower may contact our office. 
Report any suspected fraud to OIG’s Hotline at 800-767-0385 or online here.

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

• 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.

• Governor Cuomo’s April 20th message

• Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s April 20th message

• Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s April 20th message

• 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

• Here is the executive order from the Governor on compliance for face coverings.

• NYS is coordinating over 300 private labs to prioritize virology testing.

• Updated NYS guidance document on essential vs nonessential businesses.

• Nassau County will delay collection of licensing fees from some contractors whose licenses have expired. 

• Town of Huntington Marinas to Open TuesdayChanges to Yard Waste Collection

• Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin Announces Re-Opening of Town Marinas and Unveils New Safety Guidelines for Boating Season During COVID-19 Pandemic

• 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 provides an update on their efforts against COVID-19

• Here is the latest news from the Village of Farmingdale

• A message from Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro

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

• The Village of Valley Stream is Supporting Small Business

• 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.

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.

• 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

• 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

• 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.

• 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

 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.

• 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

• 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.

• 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.

• If you need some info on how to make your own mask.

• 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. 

• 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.

• 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

• 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 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

• The MTA has announced partnership with Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgents Care to provide COVID-19 Testing for Heroic MTA workers.

• 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

• NYS has an established 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.

• 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.

• 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

Vision Long Island Director wrote an op-ed in LIBN about the importance of supporting Main Street businesses and each other.

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. 
– $250,000 New York Jets for direct worker assistance
– $250,000 Bank of America for direct worker assistance
– The Knapp Swezey Foundation has donated $500,000 to Patchogue charities.

• 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 520 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.

Mastic-Shirley

Thursday April 15th day 32 of the Coronavirus economic shutdown took us to the communities of the Mastic’s and Shirley.

Over 45,000 residents are in the Mastic/Shirley peninsula that includes Mastic Beach and a number of smaller communities and neighborhoods.  This peninsula has access to beaches, parks, a commercial business district and strong library, schools and emergency providers.   The William Floyd Estate provides a strong sense of history for this diverse community. 

The William Floyd Community Summit, the Chamber of Commerce of the Mastic’s and Shirley and a range of organizations help plan, promote and bring together these neighborhoods under one banner.  As part of their revitalization efforts Vision has worked with these communities for many years to redevelop their commercial districts and bring sewers into the area where funding was finally secured.

Through this shutdown many initiatives were underway to help local residents and first responders.  The William Floyd High School technology teachers have teamed up to help fulfill a critical need — creating face shields for healthcare workers on the front lines at Long Island Community Hospital in Brookhaven.

The educators are made 500 face shields using their two full spectrum laser cutters  printed about 15 to 20 masks per hour to meet their goal.

The William Floyd Community Summit and chamber have stepped in also to raise money for a local food pantry that had been stretched thin due to high demand operating out of the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association.  They have also been working to support local businesses through this crisis. 

“It is vitally important that we support our local businesses now more than ever.  These businesses are the ones that support our many community organizations and youth sports teams and now they need our support.”
Beth Wahl, President, Chamber of Commerce of the Mastic’s and Shirley

Here are a number of independent local businesses that are open for takeout, curbside or delivery:

Bernie’s Pizza 631 878 9571

Carlo’s 631 924 8760

China Star 631 772 8800

Chun Bo 631 399 5292

Di Jamaican Docbird 631 772 1544

Empanadaville 631 399 3526

Foo Sing 631 281 6138

Freshy Fresh Bagel 631 281 2243

Giacalone’s Deli 631 281 7929

Gerardos Pizza 631 399 2700

Greek Bites 631 874 0700

Happy Steer 631 281 3939

Hero Haven 631 399 3802

Jing Garden 631 281 0033

Joe’s Pizza 631 281 7277

John’s Pizza 631 281 9828

La Buena Vida 631 909 1985

Manhattan Bagel 631 281 7204

Mercedes Meat Market 631 772 6330

Mike’s Place Too 631 772 4680

Mama Lisa’s 631 395 4600

Mediterranean Kitchen 631 399 8832

Moriches Bay Diner 631 878 6827

New Rooster Kitchen 631 395 8838

Nino’s 631 399 0950

Onofrio’s 631 395 3332

Pizza Time 631 395 0479

RG Wings 631 395 9464

Romano’s Pizza 631 288 5211

Savaronas 631 395 0707

Strathmore Bagels 631 281 1476

Sweet Garden 631 399 4828

Subway, Shirley 631 399 5502

Tend Coffee. 631 772 4707

Tony’s Sushi 631 281 0009

TJ’s Hero’s 631 395 4396

Tung Hoi 631 281 0560

Vincent’s 631 318 0012

William Floyd Diner 631 399 4388

Amityville

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” Henri Frederic Amiel

Residents, government officials and businesses of the beautiful Village of Amityville not only strive to preserve the Village’s charm and historical character, they come together to support and lift each other up, especially in times of adversity.

In an effort to show its sense of community and support for local COVID 19 heroes, Mayor Dennis Siry and the Amityville Chamber of Commerce, President Jeffrey Erath, have been collaborating on ways to thank those who are giving so greatly of themselves to help others at this difficult time.

On Monday, April 20th, a car parade of thanks was held to express support for all the workers at Brunswick Hospital Center, Massapequa Center and South Oaks Hospital. Organized by the Amityville Chamber, participants included Mayor Siry, Village Trustees, Bay Village Civic Association, Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, Amityville PBA, VFW Post #7223, Historical Society, Women’s Club, Junior League, Massapequa Center, and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Kelly.

Speaking about local healthcare workers during the parade, Chamber President Jeffrey Erath explained, “They are risking their families’ lives and their lives everyday. That’s why it is very important that every one remember the sacrifices they are making for all of us.”

The Village and Chamber also teamed up to create “Thank You” signs honoring front line heroes during the COVID 19 crisis. A banner has been displayed at the Village entrance and several signs strategically placed throughout the Village to thank first responders, along with healthcare workers and other essential personnel who are working to keep Village residents safe and sound.

The Village of Amityville is a community that knows and exemplifies true altruism. Our admiration is enormous.

Governor Cuomo Calls for Hazard Pay for Essential Health Workers and Announces Statewide Antibody Testing Survey

The following is an update from the Governor’s website:

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today called on the federal government to provide hazard pay for essential public workers on the front lines, proposing a 50 percent bonus for these workers. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 41 percent of frontline workers are people of color. Of those frontline workers, 45 percent of public transit workers, 57 percent of building cleaning service workers and 40 percent of healthcare workers are people of color. People of color are also disproportionately represented in delivery and childcare services, and approximately one third of frontline workers are members of low-income households.

Governor Cuomo also announced the state is launching a new partnership with Ready Responders to bring health care services, including COVID-19 diagnostic testing, to residents of public housing in New York City. The state will also partner with Representative Greg Meeks, Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Attorney General Letitia James, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. on this effort. An initial pilot program will begin this week at locations across New York City, including Highbridge Houses, Edenwald Houses, Washington Houses and Andrew Jackson Houses in the Bronx; Queensbridge Houses and Brevoort Houses in Queens; and Red Fern Houses and Hammel Houses in Brooklyn.

The Governor also announced the state will deliver 500,000 cloth masks and 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to public housing communities.

The Governor also announced the creation of the Reimagine NY Task Force to improve systems in downstate New York once the state is no longer on pause. The Task Force will be led by the state and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and will be comprised of other local elected officials and housing and transportation experts.

The Governor also announced that SUNY is distributing more than 8,800 laptops and Chromebooks to students in need who are currently completing their spring semester coursework online amid the COVID-19 health crisis. As SUNY and campuses began planning the shift to distance learning in March, SUNY System Administration surveyed all 64 campuses and colleges to gauge student technology needs, and is providing the laptops and Chromebooks based on those findings. SUNY will continue to monitor and fulfill technology needs while remote learning continues.

“Essential public workers are the ones on the front lines every day carrying us through this crisis, and we must ensure their efforts and sacrifice are appropriately recognized,” Governor Cuomo said. “This crisis is not over yet, and as long as these workers continue to work and expose themselves to the virus, they should be properly compensated. I am calling on the federal government to provide hazard pay to these frontline workers and give them a 50 percent bonus because they are the true heroes in this crisis.”

You can watch the full press briefing here.

Here is the Governor’s message from the past weekend:

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the State Department of Health will begin to conduct a statewide antibody testing survey tomorrow. The testing survey will sample 3,000 people for a population of 19.5 million people – for context Germany performed a 3,000-person sample with a population of 83 million. Large-scale antibody testing will help determine the percentage of the population that is now immune to the virus, allowing more individuals to safely return to work.

Governor Cuomo also announced the state will continue working with the federal government to assist with the supply chain and coordinate private labs to ramp up diagnostic testing, another key component of getting people back to work and restarting the economy.

The Governor also announced the state is ready to transport 400 ventilators to Massachusetts within 24 hours if they are needed.

The Governor also will sign an Executive Order allowing any authorized officiant to perform marriage ceremonies using online video technology. Yesterday, the Governor issued an Executive Order allowing New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely and allowing clerks to perform ceremonies via video conference, a practice that is banned under current law. Many marriage bureaus have temporarily closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing New Yorkers from getting a marriage license during the current health emergency; yesterday’s Executive Order temporarily suspends a provision of law that requires in-person visits. 

“Any plan to start to reopen the economy has to be based on data and testing, and we have to make sure our antibody and diagnostic testing is up to the scale we need so we can safely get people back to work,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are going to start antibody testing across the state tomorrow – and we are going to do that in the most aggressive way in the nation. This will be the first true snapshot of exactly how many people were infected by COVID-19 and where we are as a population and will help us to reopen and rebuild without jeopardizing what we’ve already accomplished.”

You can watch the full briefing from yesterday here.

Department of Labor Provides Updated Application for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The New York State Department of Labor today announced the launch of a new application for New Yorkers to apply for traditional Unemployment Insurance or the new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This one-stop-shop for unemployment benefits will connect New Yorkers with the benefits they deserve faster, without requiring them to call the Department of Labor.

Prior to today, due to cumbersome federal guidelines, New Yorkers were required to apply for regular Unemployment Insurance and be rejected before applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. With this new application, which aligns with updated federal policy, New Yorkers will be able to simply fill out one form to get the correct benefits.

In conjunction with this morning’s rollout of the improved application, DOL has been deploying over 3,100 representatives solely dedicated to answering unemployment benefit needs seven days a week. This is up from 400 who previously manned the DOL call center prior to the pandemic.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, DOL has paid approximately $2.2 billion in Unemployment Insurance benefits to 1.1 million New Yorkers. The application call backlog prior to April 8 has been reduced to 4,305 from 275,000.

“I have been unemployed before myself, and I understand the pain, fear and anxiety New Yorkers are facing. The DOL’s mission is to help our neighbors through some of their toughest days, and in the last week we have made great strides in updating our systems,” NYS Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said. “While it appears the coronavirus pandemic is beginning to stabilize — at least from the public health perspective — we know that many New Yorkers are still facing an uncertain economic future, and the Department of Labor will continue to dedicate every resource available to helping New Yorkers weather this storm.”

The updated unemployment benefits application system, available here, will determine which unemployment program — unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance — New Yorkers should apply for and then prompt them to answer a specific set of questions. The application builds on the new online system the department rolled out on Friday, April 10th, in partnership with the State Office of Information Technology Services and Google Cloud, to help manage the exponential and unprecedented increase in new claims resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which was included in the Federal CARES Act, provides unemployment benefits for individuals who are ineligible for traditional unemployment insurance. Examples of those covered by PUA include:

  • Self-employed New Yorkers;
  • Independent contractors;
  • New Yorkers who worked for an app-based company (i.e. “gig workers”)
  • Farmers;
  • Those diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have COVD-19 symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis;
  • Those living with a household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Those providing care for a family or household member diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • A primary caregiver for a child unable to attend school or another facility due to COVID-19;
  • Those unable to reach their place of employment due to an imposed quarantine or because they have been advised by a medical provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;
  • Those scheduled to commence new employment that cannot reach their workplace as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • Those who became a major breadwinner because the head of their household died from COVID-19;
  • Those who quit their job as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • Those whose place of employment closed as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • Those with insufficient work history and affected by COVID-19; and
  • New Yorkers otherwise not qualified for regular or extended UI benefits and affected by COVID-19

In addition, New Yorkers concerned about food insecurity are reminded that resources are available across the state. Anyone looking for assistance can find a local food bank, including those supported by New York State, by visiting Feeding America’s website here.

The New York State Department of Labor is dedicated to ensuring that every New Yorker who is entitled to unemployment insurance benefits will receive all benefits due. New Yorkers seeking to file an unemployment insurance claim should visit labor.ny.gov or call the Telephone Claim Center at (888) 209-8124. Below are some resources that will assist New Yorkers in filing their claims:

Fact sheet on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

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

Our Daily Sponsor


PSEG Long Island

PSEG Long Island is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PEG), a publicly traded diversified energy company with annual revenues of $10.4 billion and operates the Long Island Power Authority’s transmission and distribution system under a 12-year contract.

They have pledged to build a Long Island utility with PSEG’s same record of service, reliability and customer satisfaction. It will take some time to make all the improvements they’re planning, but in the end, they will create a utility of which Long Islanders can be proud. Keeping the lights on isn’t just a job: It’s their mission. 

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.

Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.
Email: info@visionlongisland.org

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