Long Island Main Street News April 21st, 2020

Here is today’s edition of LI Main Street News for day 37 of the Coronavirus shutdown. This issue covers the updated grant resources, community profiles, community helping communities segment and other items. Check it out……

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

April 21st, 2020

Quotes of Day

“You’ve got to have optimism during a crisis like this. You’ve got to communicate with your staff on an ongoing basis. You’ve got to stay calm and you’ve got to make sure people understand that. You’ve got to be creative and adaptable because the way you normally do business goes out the window. Be creative every single day. And that’s what leadership does.” – Michael Dowling, Northwell Health, recently appointed to the multi-state economic council
“I started this account to help feed families that have been laid off due to the business shut down and also for the nurses, EMS, EMTs, volunteer fire fighters, sanitation workers, grocery workers and anyone else who is fighting on the front line of the COVID-19 virus,” – Kevin Arburto of Valley Stream talking about how he’s helping those on the healthcare frontlines

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

Helping Main Street through the
Coronavirus Shutdown

Day 37 of shutdown – Tuesday April 21, 2020

The Coronavirus economic shutdown is on day 37. 

The debate is ensuing over when and how to reopen shuttered small businesses and schools post May 15th. Is it a multi state plan, a state plan or a region by region opening.   An agreement in Washington adding funds to the programs is hopeful and maybe smaller businesses will start to access these resources.  Today’s communities profiled are the neighborhood of Wyandanch.  Our Communities Helping Communities segment brought us to the Village of Valley Stream.

Here are some updates:

• An agreement has been reached on replenishing SBA lending programs

• The US Chamber of Commerce has a small grant program for small businesses employing between 3-20 people is already oversubscribed after a few hours open. Check it out

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

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

•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 Valley Stream to feed local hospital workers and front line providers.

• 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.

• 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 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 American Heart Association has grants for efforts to access healthy food and active living.

• 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

• 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.


• 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 21st message

• Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s April 21st message

• Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s April 21st message

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

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

• 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.

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

• 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

• Farmingdale has released its latest list of open businesses

• 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.


• 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)


• 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.

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


• 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.


• 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.


• 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.


• 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)
Stop & Shop
Walgreens (fill roughly 9,500 full- and part-time positions)
Walmart (adding 150,000 temporary positions)

General Listings:

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


• 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

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

• 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!


• 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


• 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. 


• 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.


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.


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

– 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.

– 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.


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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In Memoriam

Michael Talbert, Wyandanch Pastor

Wyandanch community pastor Michael V. Talbert, who served his community faithfully for 28 years, has passed away at the age of 63 years.

Originally born in Louisiana, Talbert came to Wyandanch in 1992 when an acquaintance alerted him to the First Baptist Church’s search for a new pastor.  While there he became a pillar of his community and served many functions that included serving as the schoolboard president and volunteer assistant for the Wyandanch High School boys basketball team.

Pastor Talbert was also a strong advocate for financial responsibility and independence, often preaching it in his sermons.  As part of that he started Faith Community Builders, which helped to foster homeownership for families of all income levels.  Through that organization he would connect his parishioners with banks that helped them reach their goal of owning a home.

“He’s kept a lot of roofs over people’s heads who would otherwise have left Long Island or couldn’t have made it here,” said his wife Gina Talbert.

Mr. Talbert is survived by his wife Gina, daughters, Alayna and Abigail, and sons, Michael Jr. and Aaron, all of Port Jefferson Station; sisters, Pauline Talbert, Elizabeth Self and Debra Phillips, all of Louisiana; brothers, Lawrence Talbert, Ezekiel Talbert, Alex Talbert and Curtis Grant, all of Louisiana.

Vision Long Island expresses our deepest condolences to Pastor Talbert’s family and for the loss of someone who worked so tirelessly to provide for others while propping up his community and Long Island as a whole.

Ray Pickersgill, Riverhead BID

The longtime president of the Riverhead Business Improvement District, Ray Pickersgill, passed away last Monday at Stony Brook University at the age of 71.

Mr. Pickersgill was the owner of the Robert James Salon in downtown Riverhead along with his wife Margaret and daughter Lisa.  He was also named the Riverhead News-Review’s Businessperson of the Year in 2008 thanks to his pivotal role in helping to rebuild a struggling Riverhead downtown.  He had previously served as a member of the Riverhead Business Improvement Districts Management Association until 2016 and was the president until 2016. 

He was also the founder of many of the local events that take place around Riverhead including the the Cardboard Boat Race, the indoor Farmers Market, Alive on 25, the Fourth of July fireworks show and concerts, the antique car show, and the Edgar Allen Poe Festival (now the Halloween Fest).

“He was one of the hardest working volunteers that I believe the town has had in a long time,” said Bill Allan, who served alongside Mr. Pickersgill on the BID. “He pretty much gave of his time from his business to work on town events, and he was one of the most concerned individuals as far as the direction of the town.”

Vision Long Island is saddened to see the passing of such a passionate advocate for Riverhead’s downtown revival.  We offer our prayers to his family, friends, colleagues, and loved ones.

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 525 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.


Friday April 17th day 33 of the Coronavirus shutdown took us to the community of Wyandanch

Wyandanch’s downtown has been undergoing a revitalization process for many years.  A renovated train station with a parking garage, youth center, health center, ambulance corp, renovated post office, new housing development and plaza space have all been part of the areas improvements over the last two decades.  Sewers were put in place for the business district and their main street, Straight Path,  was narrowed to create some needed traffic calming to improve walkability.

Originally the Wyandanch Weed and Seed coalition, Wyandanch Rising initiative, Wyandanch Community Development Corp, Library District, School District, Wyandanch Leaders Network, community churches, emergency services the Town of Babylon, Suffolk County and many others have all taken part in these initiatives.   The Wyandanch Plaza Association manages the many community activities at the public space by the train which includes major holiday themed events, cultural activities, dance, art, music and an ice rink.

With the shutdown forced by the Coronavirus crisis like many downtowns the focus shifts to immediate needs of food, health and income support which are addressed by multiple layers of government, community organizations and churches.

There are businesses that are open through the shutdown and local groups are encouraging residents to support them.

Here is a selection of restaurants open for take out or delivery:

Bella Oriente Restaurant Deli (631) 586-0893

Brooklyn Fish, Chicken, and Soul Food (631) 920-5800

Crown Fried Chicken (631) 920-5200

Dah Wah Chinese Kitchen (631) 643-7444

Jocoro Deli (631) 920-0098

Valley Stream Resident Pitches in

“Spread the love, Not the virus.” Kevin Aburto

Calling Kevin Aburto selfless is an understatement. This Valley Stream resident, with a long history of helping others and promoting good causes, has stepped up and stepped out to provide COVID-19 relief to so many people.

“I know things are hectic right now because of the virus. If you’re elderly, disabled, or someone who’s sick and can’t leave the house, please don’t hesitate to message or call me if you need anything,” Aburto advised his community in mid-March. “If you’re low on food, sanitary products, medication… I will be more than happy to drop off anything you need to your front door.”  Aburto even volunteered to check in on people who were alone.

Aburto started collecting food from the community for the food pantries at Holy Name of Mary and Blessed Sacrament churches, where supply had run low, and to the Monica Village senior apartments in Valley Stream. From there, his efforts accelerated.

On March 25th, Aburto started a Go Fund Me page. “I started this account to help feed families that have been laid off due to the business shut down and also for the nurses, EMS, EMTs, volunteer fire fighters, sanitation workers, grocery workers and anyone else who is fighting on the front line of the COVID-19 virus,” Aburto explained. Very quickly, the donations started rolling in. The page has raised almost $8,500 and the support of area businesses continues to surge.

As of April 15th, Aburto and numerous volunteers have fed over 4,800 people, including first responders, essential workers, laid off employees and so many more. Just some of the locations Aburto has visited include Long Island Jewish in Valley Stream, the Village of Valley Stream Fire Department, Harlem Hospital, King Kullen in Valley Stream, the Valley Stream Post Office, FDNY Station 19, Mount Sinai in Oceanside, Lynbrook Police Department, North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, Nassau County 1st,  4th and 5th Precincts, Long Island Jewish ICU Unit in Valley Stream, Mercy Medical Center, Elmhurst Hospital, the night shift ICU Unit at Kings County Hospital, and the list goes on.

Aburto’s message is simple: Spread the love, not the virus. “If you can donate a dollar that would help. I understand things are tough at the moment and if you’re unable to donate you can help us by sharing this campaign to your community, family, friends and co-workers,” says Aburto.

A tremendous shout out of appreciation and respect to Kevin, each and every donor and volunteer. If you would like to donate, visit the Help feed NY COVID19 victims and first responders GoFundMe page

Governor Cuomo Announces Elective Outpatient Treatment Can Resume in Certain Counties

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

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced elective outpatient treatments can resume in counties and hospitals without significant risk of COVID-19 surge in the near term. Hospitals will be able to resume performing elective outpatient treatments on April 28, 2020 if the hospital capacity is over 25 percent for the county and if there have been fewer than 10 new hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in the county over the past 10 days. If a hospital is located in a county eligible to resume elective outpatient treatments, but that hospital has a capacity under 25 percent or has had more than 10 new hospitalizations in the past 10 days, that hospital is not eligible to resume elective surgeries. If a county or hospital that has resumed elective surgery experiences a decrease in hospital capacity below the 25 percent threshold or an increase of 10 or more new hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients, elective surgeries must cease. Further, patients must test negative for COVID-19 prior to any elective outpatient treatment. The State Department of Health will issue guidance on resuming elective surgeries.

Restrictions on elective surgery will remain in place in Bronx, Queens, Rockland, Nassau, Clinton, Yates, Westchester, Albany, Richmond, Schuyler, Kings, Suffolk, New York, Dutchess, Sullivan, Ulster, Erie, Orange and Rensselaer Counties as the state continues to monitor the rate of new COVID-19 infections in the region.  

Governor Cuomo also announced the state will take a regional approach to reopening and will make decisions on which counties and regions to open and when to open them based on the facts and data specific to that area. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will coordinate Western New York’s public health and reopening strategy, and former Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy will volunteer as a special advisor to coordinate the Finger Lakes’ public health and reopening strategy.

The Governor also announced he will be meeting with President Trump at the White House today to discuss testing. 

“As New York continues to flatten the curve of new COVID-19 infections, we are now ready to lift the restrictions on elective surgeries in regions where hospital capacity and the rate of new infections do not present a significant risk of a surge in new positive cases,” Governor Cuomo said. “It is essential that we continue to support hospitals and health care workers in all regions to ensure they have both capacity and supplies to treat COVID patients because this virus is by no means defeated.”

Finally, the Governor confirmed 4,178 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 251,690 confirmed cases in New York State.

You can watch the full press conference from today here.

Michael Dowling of Northwell Health Named to Multistate Council to Restore Economy

As part of the inevitable recovery period from the Coronavirus shutdown, our region will need to focus on how best to reopen a stalled economy.  Part of that will be left up to a seven state council that will be comprised of one health and one economic expert along with the Governor’s chief of staff from each state.

The states involved in the council include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

As its contribution, New York State has named Melissa DeRosa, secretary to Governo Cuomo, Robert Mujica, the director of the state Division of the Budget, and Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health.

Mr. Dowling represents one of the region’s leading voices on public health and has been at the forefront of testing for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.  He has done a fantastic job guiding us through public health portion of the ongoing crisis and is an excellent fit for this job.

You can read more at Huntington Now.

Publicly Traded Firms Receive $300 million in Small Business Loans

In a move that has highlighted the ineptitude of a system designed to help struggling Main Street businesses, a recent report has identified 75 publicly traded companies have received over $300 million in small business loans.  Eight of those 75 identified companies received the maximum $10 million loan.

Some of the companies who benefitted from these loans had thousands of employees, past penalties from government investigations and were at risk of financial failure even before the coronavirus shutdown.  Some of the companies even had market values well in excess of $100 million when they received low-interest, taxpayer funded loans that were meant to keep small businesses afloat. 

What makes this news particularly disturbing is that the report comes from only a partial investigation of the full list of businesses that received loans.  This indicates the 75 businesses already identified could only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to large businesses appropriating funds that may be better served propping up Main Street.

The initial relief package that was meant to help small businesses has seen a number of criticisms.  The process has been plagued with slow response times and numerous questions along with complaints that funds aren’t actually reaching mom-and-pop stores need it the most.  Without this much needed funds, most of these actual small businesses could see the end of their businesses.  Meanwhile, companies that are worth hundreds, if not millions, of dollars and have thousands of employees seem to be having little to no problems receiving the maximum loan amount.

Already we are seeing stories where national chains such as Potbelly, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Taco Cabana were able to receive the maximum available amount.  Shake Shack also received $10 million, but returned the loan after a furor was raised over it.  There also examples of companies that seem to have enough cash on hand to survive the downturn receiving loans.  Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, for example, is a cruise ship company based in New York with $137 million in cash who was able to receive a $6.6 million loan.

These are just examples, but they really highlight the need for the US government to put safeguards in place in the next round of funding meant to help small businesses.  The Main Street businesses that are the lifeblood of local communities need to be given a fair chance to apply for funds before major national chains scoop up available loans when they’re not strictly needed in the short term.

You can read more at Long Island Business News.

Grocery and Pharmacy Workers are Making a Huge Difference

The following is an op-ed by John Durso originally printed in Long Island Business News:

Every day I am amazed by the dedication of the working people I am so proud and honored to represent as President of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW. While the heroes of this battle against COVID-19 are truly our magnificent health care professionals and first responders, there is also a group of unsung heroes who also go to work and take care of the public every day. In “normal” times, these heroes often go unnoticed and have been brought to the spotlight because of the crisis we’re facing.

The workers I’m referring to are those who work in grocery stores and pharmacies in our region and across the country. They are the cashiers checking out your items, the pharmacy tech handing you your prescriptions, the deli clerks and butchers, those keeping the stores clean, and what seems most important of all lately, the stocker unloading bread and toilet paper on to bare shelves before the rush starts again. These unsung heroes leave their families, some dropping their children off at childcare first and others, traveling by public transportation in order to start another day doing work that is crucial for us.

If you have never worked in a grocery store or a pharmacy, you have not experienced what it’s like to have a store overwhelmed because of an impending snowstorm or hurricane. However, you have likely experienced this as customer. Local 338 members have described what they’re seeing in their stores as “two snowstorms and a hurricane on steroids.” For many of the stores who typically average 500 customers a day, they have now seen that number increase to 2,000 people a day. Naturally, workers are incredibly worried about how this virus will affect them and their families, but they have also taken on extra shifts, working six days a week at often 10 to 12 hours a day, all to try to keep some sense of normalcy for the public.

As a customer, you might have noticed that it took some time for the stores to put the proper safety measures needed to protect their employees in place. Please know that for most companies, it was not due to a lack of concern, but for an inability to access these items. Today, thousands of Local 338 members have access to gloves, masks, and soap or hand sanitizer and are working behind plexiglass shield guards if they are a cashier. Unfortunately, not all workers and stores are as properly supplied. However, this is a unique instance where union and management alike are working together to source these PPEs and sanitizing products to make sure both the workers and the public stay safe.

While schools and “nonessential” businesses, like traditional retail, are closed or have shifted to remote operations, those working in grocery stores and pharmacies continue to go to work every day. You may wonder why they do it or why they take the risk? Many Local 338 members (and others working in the field) have told me that they see themselves as simply doing their job and wouldn’t compare themselves to other frontline heroes like doctors or nurses. However, they also recognize that now, more than ever, they are working in places that truly are the keystone holding our communities together.

For that, we should recognize the workers of grocery stores and pharmacies as the public servants they are and give them the gratitude they certainly have earned. The next time you find yourself in your local grocery store or pharmacy, please be kind and take a moment to thank them for risking being out in order to help take care of you and your families. And please, if you don’t have to be out, stay home. That choice can help save an essential worker who does not have a similar choice.

John Durso is president of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW and president of the Long Island Federation of Labor Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW.

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

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Since starting in 2011, they have developed more than 20,000 apartment homes across 90+ communities and acquired more than 2,500 apartment homes in some of the nation’s best apartment markets. They expect to deliver an additional 5,000+ homes to a growing portfolio. They are proud of their people, the places they build, and the relationships they have with stakeholders across the country.

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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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