Long Island Main Street News March 25th, 2020

Check out the latest issue of LI Main Street News for Day 10 of the Coronavirus economic shutdown. We cover updated information on federal support, NYS updates, community information and other resources……

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


March 25th, 2020


“This is not a moment of celebration but rather one of necessity. The more than $40 billion dollars of additional help on the way to New York is essential to save lives, preserve paychecks, support small businesses, ensure public transit and much more. These critical dollars will inject proverbial medicine into our state, city and localities like on Long Island, to deliver  much-needed resources right now that can help combat the coronavirus. Like all compromise legislation, this bill is far from perfect—but it now does much more for this state, its people and its future than where we began.”

– United States Senator Charles Schumer

“I am joining Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman in requesting that Governor Cuomo put a travel ban to the east end in place limiting travel to only essential personnel.  Our resources are scarce, the risk of spread is too high for a Town which is already seeing more than its share of confirmed cases and deaths.  Southold should NOT be treated as someone’s personal isolation unit.”

“For those who already have come here, follow federal guidelines to self-quarantine for 14 days.  It is essential to avoid public exposure to others at all costs and they need to stay in place.”

-Southold Supervisor Scott Russell

“Our Preparedness Team is meeting daily to ensure we consider the most up-to-date information from public health agencies and government authorities, share key data and best practices with our staff, and ensure we are taking appropriate steps to protect the health and safety of all of our people while continuing to meet the needs of our residents and businesses on Main Street.” 

“We have gone from a thriving town to a ghost town and our eateries are experiencing real hardships. The restaurants are doing yeoman’s work. They need all the advertising help we can give them, especially through the use of social media.”

– Hon. Jean Celender, Mayor, Village of Great Neck Plaza

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

Helping Main Street through the
Coronavirus Shutdown

Day 10 of shutdown – Wednesday March 25, 2020

The big news today was the final agreement on a multitrillion dollar aid package which will have at least $40 billion go to New York.  Of course this is heartening and we are hopeful these resources will go to the right places particularly to help people truly dislocated from their jobs, small businesses restart and the front line providers through this crisis.

We have connected with over 250 small businesses in over 40 downtowns with lots of community activity emerging and there will be more on that tomorrow but for now here are some updates.

• The Federal government agreed on a $2 trillion Coronavirus rescue bill.

• NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo provided another of his daily updates on the ongoing health crises in NYS while speaking from the Capitol Building in Albany.  The major bit of bad news was an additional 5,146 confirmed cases of Coronavirus across New York.

But a particular good bit of news was the recent success from New York’s call for volunteer health workers to help out with surging COVID-19 cases.  He noted that 40,000 healthcare workers have answered that call, including students and retirees, and will work on the front lines of the ongoing crises.  Meanwhile, more than 6,000 mental health professionals have signed up to provide free online mental health services to New Yorkers.  People can call 1-844-863-9314 to schedule a free appointment if they find themselves in need.

You can view the entire press conference here.

• Nassau County Executive Laura Curran will be doing a Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday March 25th at 6:30pm

• Due to the large influx of NYC residents seeking to isolate on the east end the Supervisors of Southold and Southampton have requested a travel ban be put in place for only essential personnel.  

• The Town of Huntington is planning for remote meetings

• The LI Main Street Alliance encourages small businesses and not for profits to register for a free webinar held by the Queens Chamber of Commerce on how to apply for the SBA Economic injury disaster loan. 

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

• There is an unprecedented number of unemployment applications.  The website has been overloaded and call times are very long.

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

• Nassau County and Suffolk County are surveying small businesses on COVID-19’s impact:

The Nassau County survey is here.

The Suffolk County survey is here.

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

• 30,000 New Yorkers have responded to the call for retired nurses and doctors along with medical school students.   If you want to serve you can go here.

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

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

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

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

– 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
– A number of grants for displaced local artists are starting to emerge
– Anna Wintour has set up a fund for folks in the fashion industry who are displaced.
– Bank of America has dedicated a $100 million fund nationwide.
– The Long Island East End Group purchased 15,000 masks for distribution to front line providers.
– 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.  

There is still a dearth of real community level information and tons of questions from folks.  

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.

RECENT NEWS AND LINKS:

Governor Cuomo Announces Executive Order for all Nonessential Businesses to Close

NYS has released a document with guidance on what constitutes an essential business

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.

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

Economists & small business leaders prepare to take an even bigger hit…..

Nassau County Map of updates from Across the County (Courtesy of Nassau Legislator Laura Schaefer)

Message from Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin calling for delay in School taxes

Long Island food banks and school assistance

Main Street meats provides home delivery

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.  

Two hospitals on Long Island are selected as temporary hospitals.

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

NYS has put out a call for health related emergency personnel.

National Grid has canceled their public meetings on short and long term energy supply options but holding them in a virtual format.

Town of Hempstead Town Hall is closed with a hotline open to answer questions and concerns.

The Town of Huntington closes parks and asks public to report violations of social distancing behavior.

Dining Bonds created to help local small businesses.

The Treasury, IRS and Labor Dept. announced a plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave.

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

The most confusing issue over the weekend was what businesses are considered essential and which ones aren’t.  With rumors circulating and information changing this guidance document from NYS is very helpful.   
To request an exemption of get clarification from your potential nonessential status please fill out the form here.

The Federal Center for Disease Control set up a website to combat rumors on the Coronavirus.

Governor Cuomo continued his daily updates from with a discussion of federal coordination on hospital beds, medical equipment, number of cases, new testing opportunities and lots of other information.  The Governor also discussed a more refined governmental strategy in response to help the economy.

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

So in a surprise to no one unemployment has spiked across all regions of NYS. Radically unofficial estimates say tens of thousands of LIrs lost their jobs this week from the shutdown. March numbers of just those seeking unemployment insurance will be sobering.

Governor Cuomo and the legislature approved sick leave for employees under precautionary or mandatory quarantine due to COVID-19. The provisions of the quarantine legislation are set to take effect immediately upon passage, ensuring that New York workers will be able to take advantage of these benefits.

To address the immediate need of employees affected by COVID-19 who are subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the department of health, local board of health, or any governmental entity duly authorized to issue such order, the Governor’s legislation will provide the following based on employee numbers as of January 1, 2020:

Employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income less than $1 million will provide unpaid leave and job protection for the duration of the quarantine order and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.

Employers with 11-99 employees and employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million will provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave, job protection for the duration of the quarantine order, and guarantee their workers access to Paid Family Leave and disability benefits (short-term disability) for the period of quarantine including wage replacement for their salaries up to $150,000.

Employers with 100 or more employees, as well as all public employers (regardless of number of employees), will provide at least 14 days of paid sick leave and guarantee job protection for the duration of the quarantine order.

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

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.

US Representative Kathleen Rice has Released Preliminary Guidelines for SBA Disaster Loans

Northwell Health Delays Payments for Patients Financially Impacted by COVID-19 Impact

Mobile testing for COVID-19 is available in Suffolk County by appointment only.
Call 1-888-364-3065

Pro Health offers testing in Great Neck and Jericho

NYS has ordered all bars, restaurants to be closed but can sell takeout (even alcohol).   Gyms, theatres are closed as well and no gatherings of over 50 people.  Government will waive park fees and reduce their workforce by 50% minimum with non essential staff ordered to stay home.

All police and emergency medical services will be supplied with masks and drive thru testing will commence in Long Island and Staten Island.

NYS will suspend Department of Health regulations to increase hospital capacity and may soon cancel all elective surgery.

Folks need to work – it’s not only a life blood economically but (in most cases) fuels your social, mental health and gives people purpose.

Of the 150 independent small businesses we have spoken to almost everyone has at least temporarily laid off some employees.

Hopefully the new job opportunities in cleaning, delivery services and base level medical assistance can absorb at least a small portion of this radical dislocation for real people.

If you see job opportunities out there please post. We are doing daily updates and are already getting calls from individuals looking for opportunities.

Here is a story in Newsday by James Madore that spotlights this issue and good to see local business owner John Murray from Kilwins in Bayshore and Patchogue and the Hero Joint interviewed about his experiences. Vision is also quoted.

Hotels and Tourism comes to a halt

New Rules for Nursing Homes

Buses, Trains Stay Extra Clean

PSEG Long Island Halts Service Shut Offs

National Grid Halts Service Shut Offs

Verizon Suspends Collection Activities

AT&T suspends collection activities during the Coronavirus crisis

Geico postponed collectons during Coronavirus shutdown

New York to Halt All Evictions

US to Advance Funds for Paid Sick Leave

Men on the Move Offers Free Storage for College Students

Huntington NOW Op-Ed Supporting Local Businesses

How to Clean the Germs on your phone

EPA Guidelines on Disinfectants to use combatting Coronavirus

Etiquette when Shopping

How to talk to children about the Coronavirus

CDC Policy on Mass Gatherings

Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce Local Business Resource

Every Restaurant on Long Island Offering Take Out and Delivery

Tips for Small Businesses trying to Survive Coronavirus Shutdown

Half of the New York Workforce Needs to Stay Home

Food Pantries, Soup Kitchens Assist

IMPORTANT WEBSITES TO TRACK:

Northwell Health Digital Resource Center

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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Reports from Local Downtowns

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 has 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 250 small businesses in over 40 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 them have been there for local organizations and philanthropy – they now need our support.

In the meantime, here is a selection of updates from Long Island downtowns, more to follow…

Great Neck Plaza

Day 10 of the Coronavirus economic shutdown brings us to the Great Neck Plaza.

Amid Coronavirus concerns, the Village of Great Neck Plaza is putting residents first.  As per Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order on March 16th, village elections have been delayed to primary Election Day, April 28, 2020.  As such, Mayor Jean Celender has delayed her retirement through early May.

According to the Mayor, “Our Preparedness Team is meeting daily to ensure we consider the most up-to-date information from public health agencies and government authorities, share key data and best practices with our staff, and ensure we are taking appropriate steps to protect the health and safety of all of our people while continuing to meet the needs of our residents and businesses on Main Street.”

The Village of Great Neck Plaza, led by Mayor Celender, has flourished throughout the years.  From advocating for safe streets and traffic calming initiatives, demanding affordable housing units in a high wealth area, managing and promoting festivals, events, arts, culture, music, and securing $5million for a range of capital projects and services, the Village of Great Neck Plaza is thriving.

Most recently, the Village has been working with Vision to change codes to help promote/preserve Main Street retail and get more affordable units in its downtown.  The effects of the pandemic now threaten to interrupt this remarkable trajectory.

“We are a ghost town,” described Mayor Celender. “Our eateries are experiencing real hardships. The restaurants are doing yeoman’s work. They need all the advertising help we can give them, especially through the use of social media.”

The Great Neck Plaza Business Improvement District is encouraging residents, during this time of crisis as restaurants and patrons do their part in flattening the curve, to visit favorite local eateries and utilize takeout, curbside or delivery options.

Here is a sampling of local restaurants making it work:

Bareburger is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
66 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck, (516) 441-5711

Francesca’s Pizzeria & Restaurant is open for takeout and delivery
29 N. Station Plaza, Great Neck, (516) 466-5842

Gino’s of Great Neck Pizzeria & Restaurant is open for takeout and delivery
60 Middle Neck Road Great Neck, (516) 487-1122

Great Neck Diner is open for takeout and delivery
14 Grace Avenue, Great Neck, (516) 466-0678

La Rotonda Ristorante is open for takeout and deliver
8 Bond St, Great Neck, (516) 439 – 4870

Lola is available for takeout
113A Middle Neck Road, Great Neck, (516) 466-5666

S&D Crab House is open for takeout and delivery
105 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck, (516) 498-8088

Lynbrook

Day 9 of the Coronavirus economic shutdown takes us to downtown Lynbrook where the community has banded together on a number of levels.

From monitoring experts’ opinions and suggestions, providing COVID-19 education, closing the library and village sponsored recreational events, to partnering with Key Food Supermarket to deliver food to seniors that rely on buses to get to the market, the Village of Lynbrook is working overtime to keep its residents safe.  Along with tackling this health crisis, the Village is grappling with the economic crisis all downtowns are now facing.

With great schools and friendly residents, many of whom have grown up there, Lynbrook has been able to maintain its local flavor. With its embrace of several recent projects, the Village has begun lowering its oar in the water on transit-oriented development, utilizing its unique rail opportunities.  Now, all hands are on deck to try to minimize the economic damage that is ensuing from the fallout of the Coronavirus.

Joe Carusone, owner of Vincent’s, embodies the spirit of Lynbrook, “We are hanging in there.  Whatever our customers are comfortable with, we’ll do.  We’ll deliver to the door, knock, or not, deliver curbside, or welcome you into the restaurant for takeout.  Everyone is different and we understand.”

The Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce has a message for residents, “Between the mandate that closed restaurants, and the supermarkets out of, well, everything, you can support our member restaurants who are open for takeout and delivery. You’ll be doing yourself and them a big favor.”

Kudos to Mayor Alan Beach and his team for managing the Village through this crisis.

Here is a sampling of local restaurants making it work:

Angelinas Pizzeria & Restaurant is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
33 Atlantic Avenue, Lynbrook, (516) 872-3477

Burger Shack is open for takeout & delivery
97 Broadway, Lynbrook, (516) 218-2777

Craft Kitchen & Tap House is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
44 Stauderman Ave, Lynbrook, (516) 341-0547

Lynbrook Eats is open for takeout & delivery
245 Merrick Rd, Lynbrook, (516) 887-4932

Maier’s Brick Café is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
157 Lakeview Ave, Lynbrook, (516) 599-9669

Santorini’s is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
165 Atlantic Avenue, Lynbrook, (516) 593-9600

SaVino’s Restaurant & Wine Bar is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
88 Atlantic Avenue, Lynbrook, (516) 596-1600

Villa Formia is open for takeout & delivery
455 Merrick Rd, Lynbrook, (516) 599-4200

Vincent’s is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
14 Atlantic Ave, Lynbrook, (516) 599-1204

Babylon Village

Day 8 of the Coronavirus economic shutdown brought us to Suffolk County and the Village of Babylon.

The Village of Babylon has been working on redevelopment projects, including a downtown theatre, and maintains a robust business district.  The Village understands that money spent on brick and mortar stores in its downtown stays in the community, helps pay local taxes, and keeps jobs and resources in the neighborhood.  The advent of the Coronavirus and the steps that towns, villages, counties, and states are necessarily taking to protect the health of residents, may ultimately injure downtown businesses.

Kelly Peckholdt, President of the Babylon Village Chamber of Commerce, sees the importance of focusing on the economic impact of this crisis.  “Our businesses here in the village are already significantly impacted,” said Ms. Peckholdt.  “At this point, pretty much all of the businesses are closing or have modified their hours significantly.  A few retailers are still open but are only doing virtual shopping or private shopping appointments.  We’re essentially waiting on and expecting the announcement to come that all non-essential businesses must close.  There are a lot of business owners and employees of those businesses who are already concerned for their livelihoods considering the government has not provided a timeline on these shut downs.  On the other hand, we are already seeing a wave of support from the community.

“As a Chamber, we have been working really hard this week at constantly sharing businesses who are offering takeout, virtual shopping, etc, on our social media pages, and have also been trying to share as much information from local governments as possible for business owners to reference.  We also have some larger marketing projects in the works, too, as we are trying to help our fellow business owners as much as possible.  Another upside, though, is that this situation has forced many businesses to become really creative in what and how they are marketing – only time will tell if these strategies will also work in a post-coronavirus world, but I think these innovative strategies will be what will hopefully allow these businesses to survive for the time being.”

Richard Kahn, Bar Manager at The Brixton, sums it up.  “We are all in this together.  We are trying to restore some sense of normalcy, which is so important right now.  We need to take care of each other.”

Here is a sampling of local Babylon restaurants making it work:

Del Fuego is open for takeout, curbside service and delivery through Uber Eats & Doordash
117 Deer Park Avenue Babylon, (631) 620-3700

Horace & Sylvia’s Publick House
100 Deer Park Ave Babylon, (631) 587-5081

Jack Jack’s Coffee House is open for takeout
223 Deer Park Ave Babylon, (631) 526-9983

Lily Flanagan’s Pub is open for takeout and delivery
345 Deer Park Ave, Babylon, (631) 539-0816

Mary Carroll’s is open for takeout
121 Deer Park Ave, Babylon, (631) 587-6181

Mulberry Street Babylon
30-32 E Main St. Babylon, (631) 321-5980

Ohayo Japanese Cuisine is open for takeout and delivery
233 E Main St, Babylon, (631) 669-1639

Post Office Café is open for takeout and delivery through Uber Eats & Door Dash & Grubhub
130 West Main Street Babylon, (631) 669-9224

The Brixton is open for pickup (delivery coming soon)
111 Deer Park Ave Babylon, (631) 587-2000

Kudos to Babylon Mayor Ralph Scordino who is managing the Village through this crisis.

Kings Park

We recently had a chance to talk to our friends, small businesses, and government leaders in Kings Park to see how they are coping amidst the shutdown.

Kings Park has been making slow but steady strides towards revitalizing its aging downtown. With business, community and government working together, the prospects for positive growth has become a reality. The current restrictions associated with combatting the Coronavirus threatens to derail this progress. Like every local Main Street, the businesses, especially restaurants, are struggling to survive.

Anthony Tanzi, President of the Kings Park Chamber of Commerce, predicts “Main Street and small business will weather this storm! However, it’s going to take a commitment from our local communities to help them though if we want them there when it’s over.”

Kevin Denis, owner of Professor’s Café agrees, “We’ve been taking care of the community for 33 years, we hope the community will be there for us.” Denis explains, “It’s hard to know what the right thing to do is, close for a few weeks or stay open. We are doing everything we can to hang in there and survive.”

Michael Grimaudo, owner of Gino’s Kings Park concurs, businesses are hurting, but we are working to stay positive.

The Town of Smithtown government understands the immediate challenges of balancing personal health and economic health of communities. “This pandemic has hit our Main Street businesses in a way that has many of them wondering how they will survive. Many are coming up with ways of conducting business without compromising the public. Bakeries are making DIY cookie kits to take home, restaurants are amping up takeout, realtors are filming available homes… they’re each finding their own recipe to make lemonade. And while the public must remain vigilant in social distancing, we can all find a way to safely support our local shops, be it sharing their social media posts or making a donation to those forced to close… the way through this is together,” Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

Linda Henninger, President if the Kings Park Civic encourages residents to support the local businesses downtown as well.

We had the chance to also see the Park Bake Shop set up an order window. Owner Lucy Shtanko offered delicious kronuts to go.

Here is sampling of Kings Park restaurants making it work:

Café Red is open from 12 pm to 8 pm for order and pickup.
107 Main Street, Kings Park, Phone (631) 544-4500.

Ciro’s Kings Park is open from 2 pm to 8 pm for deliveries, takeout and curbside pickup.
74 Main Street, Kings Park, Phone: 631-269-2600.

Gino’s Kings Park is open from 10 am to 9 pm for takeout and delivery.
52 Indian Head Road, Kings Park, Phone (631) 269-2880.

Long River Restaurant is open from 11 am to 6 pm for takeout and delivery.
4 Main Street, Kings Park, Phone (631) 544-4666.

Professor’s Café is open M,T,W from 8 am to 7 pm, Th, F from 8 am to 8 pm, Sat 8 am to 7 pm, Sun from 8 am to 3 pm for takeout and delivery.
58 Indian Head Road, Kings Park, Phone (631) 269-4346.

Relish is open from 11 am to 7 pm for takeout and delivery.
2 Pulaski Road, Kings Park, Phone (631) 292-2740.

Simply Greek is open 11 am to 9 pm for takeout and delivery.
12 Indian Head Road, Kings Park, Phone (631) 663-3652.

Park Bake Shop, 5:00am-6:00pm, Takeout through order window.
112 Main St, Kings Park, 631-269-3825

Park Lounge, 4:00pm-7:00pm, doing takeout of family meals.
605 E. Main Street, Kings Park, 631-979-1351

Kings Park Shipping has been mandated as an essential business by the Governor’s order to remain open as a vessel into the shipping channel for UPS,FEDEX,DHL and USPS.  They can also handle printing as needed.  Please email any inquiries to: john@kingsparkshipping.com

Northport

Vision Long Island was in downtown Northport recently, where a number of small businesses are still open for takeout during the day and the night.

Some of the businesses that are open for takeout include:

Northport Harbor Delicatessen
Martoni’s Italian Eatery
Wine Bar
Main Street Café
Golden China
Venus Greek Restaurant
Tokyo
Mamma Mias Pizzeria
Copenhagen Bakery
Robkes

Rob Breudenbach from the Northport Harbor Delicatessen, both of which have been mainstays in town for decades, has great egg sandwiches, soups and lunches.

Martoni’s, a much newer operation, has great coffee, homemade soups, and other entrees and products.  They also have pasta for sale for folks that are stocking up and find their local supermarket bare.

The Wine Bar is open for takeout and serving up their eclectic menu, which includes other open restaurants in town.  It is literally a one stop takeout shop along with wine, of course.

Lastly, Maroni’s is open with lots of their award winning meatballs hot and ready to go.  Maria Maroni is working long days and nights to keep that operation ready to go for local patrons.

Folks can grab their takeout and eat at the waterfront while still remaining good distance apart, or just safely walk around town while avoiding close contact with others.

Many of the retail shops voluntarily closed even before the forced shutdown the came last night and the one last Monday.  Northport is a village that relies heavily on tourism revenue, so summers are when most restaurants, bars, and retailers benefit and January & February are the slowest months of the month.  The shutdown occurring in March, when most of these businesses are beginning to ramp back up, may actually be worse than the winter and is debilitating for many.  Sadly, our friend Gene from Oscar’s barbershop was forced to close last week in anticipation of shutdown orders. We hope to see him back.

We hope folks can find a responsible way to patronize these small businesses or others in your own downtown.  It’s the only way these folks will make it through what will be a rough economic time for all of us.

Farmingdale

No single downtown has brought housing, jobs, economic activity and great adaptive reuse with transit-oriented development as the Village of Farmingdale, but as this pandemic begins to cause significant economic distress, very few places or industries will emerge unscathed, and none are more vulnerable than our local Main Street businesses.

Farmingdale Village Mayor Ralph Ekstrand and the Village Board of Trustees are not only working to keep their community safe; they are visiting merchants throughout the Village to address the current economic crisis. Mayor Ekstrand tells us, “We have been doing take out every night from a different place. We put out on the Village website, and to all residents on our constant contact, a list of restaurant’s names and phone numbers which are doing delivery and take out. We have given all merchants the SBA information to file for money.  We are trying our best to keep Farmingdale a Village to be proud of.”

The Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce asks that Farmingdale come together to support the businesses that support the community. “Every day, small business owners and organizations are being asked to make public safety judgement calls, putting themselves, their staff, and their future at risk,” President Joseph Garcia states. “Our restaurants, brewery, and many others have been forced to change business models overnight to comply with State Rules and Guidelines to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. The vast majority of our members are still operating. Food and beverage establishments have made provisions for takeout, curbside pick-up, free delivery, discounts, and Alcohol to-go and even delivered. Please continue to support our businesses here in Farmingdale. Order in, have some beer or wine. Continue doing business over the phone. Consider purchasing gift cards for future use, as well. We want to make sure Farmingdale continues to be a strong and vibrant business community.”

Here is a sampling of local restaurants making it work:

317 Main Street is open for curbside & delivery
317 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 512-5317

Bagel Hut is open for takeout & delivery
525 Fulton Street (Rt 109) Farmingdale (516) 249-3300

Caracara Mexican Grill is open for curbside & delivery
354 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 777-2272

Charlotte’s Desserts is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
294 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 586-3595

Chiddy’s Cheesesteaks is open for pick up & delivery
191 Main Street, Farmingdale (631) 609-1425

Croxley Ales is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
190 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 293-7700

Dominican Restaurant 4 is open for takeout & delivery
305 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 586-6005

Flux Coffee is open for takeout
211 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 586-8979

Frankie’s Pizzeria is open for takeout & delivery
313 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 502-1304

Grecian Grill is open for takeout & delivery
261 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 753-1260

High Tide Taco is open for takeout & delivery
257 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 586-5255

Library Café is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
274 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 752-7678

Lithology is open for curbside & delivery
211A Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 962-0585

Main Street Pizza is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
302 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 777-3600

Palmer’s American Grille is open for curbside & delivery
123 Fulton Street, Farmingdale (516) 420-0609

Sobol is open for takeout
155 b Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 588-0500

Stuff-A-Bagel is open for takeout & delivery
234 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 420-4287

That Meetball Place is open for curbside & delivery
206 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 586-8880

The Republic Pub is open for takeout & delivery
217 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 293-4400

Thyme on Your Side (Le Petit Café) is open for takeout, curbside & delivery
314 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 465-9660

Tiny Thai is open for takeout
187 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 694-3302

TOA is open for takeout & delivery
122 Secatogue Avenue, Farmingdale (516) 777-8888

Tre Scalini is open for takeout & delivery
196 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 249-0140

Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar is open for takeout & delivery
282 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 586-8542

Wings Over Farmingdale is open for takeout
221 Main Street, Farmingdale (516) 756-9464

Farmingdale has also released a list of local businesses that are still open and what services they are offering to customers, which you can access here.

Mineola

Vision was out in downtown Mineola for day 4 of the forced shutdown of most activities.

Restaurants we were able to speak with or observed open included:

PS Burgers
Kaiyo Japanese Cuisine
Recovery Room Bar & Grill
Burrito Blvd. Mexican Grill
Spaghettini Pizza
Las Vinas Peruvian Cuisine
Heart of Portugal
Piccolo Bussala Family Style
Taglio Roman Style Pizza
Gyro Stop

(It is worth noting that the line for one of the local gun shops was out the door at 8:30 at night.)

We had takeout from Taglio Roman Style Pizza, which tasted great.  We also stopped in to see Avelino and Elizabeth from Heart of Portugal.  Their Grilled Octupus with Vegetables special was particularly delicious!

Unfortunately, businesses reported of being 90% down on average, even with takeout orders still being available.  Most have had to lay off 50 to 80% of their staff, and are operating under skeleton crews.  But it is still worth noting that takeout food delivery is still allowed under the forced measures to be enacted on Sunday.

Vision has now spoken to over 160 independent small businesses who have been decimated by the forced shutdowns of most Main Street activities.

East Meadow

East Meadow businesses were the latest group to be stunned by a sudden closure of businesses on Monday as they worked to keep their establishments extra clean in hopes of staying open.  After the order toc lose came, owners began to work in earnest to figure out how to make up for the loss of revenue.

“Up until five minutes ago, we were sanitizing and planning to stay open,” Frank Camarano, the manager of World Gym in East Meadow, said on Monday afternoon. “Now everyone is just stunned, just like I am. The members are heartbroken, and now they don’t know what to do.”

Mr. Camarano is also the board chairman of the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce and the vice president of the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce.  Working in those positions have placed him in the position of contacting numerous local businesses so as to calm nerves, but a number of local owners feel as though they have nowhere to go.  Right now he is working to gather resources to and information on relief plans at different levels of government that can possibly help.

“I think what people have to hear is that ‘You’re not alone,’” said Mr. Camarano. “I know it sounds kind of hokey, but it’s true.”

Frank Borrelli, owner of Borrelli’s Italian Restaurant in East Meadow, is hoping to keep his doors open with a takeout menu, but had to fire his entire wait staff in the wake of Cuomo’s order, though it pained him to do so.  He made the promise to hire them once the ban on gatherings is lifted, but for the moment he has to make do the best he can.

“I guess we could deliver a pizza with ‘quarantini’ to go,” Borrelli said, referencing the loosening of liquor laws to allow alcohol to be sold off premises.  Mr. Borrelli also talked about how his business made it through Hurricane Sandy, but could at least look forward to the nearby Nassau Colosseum to help bring in customers.  But this time is different as the ban on public gatherings means at least a month without such relief.

Local businesses focused on fitness are working to continue providing services on a virtual level for their customers. Anthony Bevilacqua, who owns AB Fitness in East Meadow, will have his staff stream three half-hour sessions in the morning and three at night for members, as well as nutritional seminars each evening.

“One of the best ways to fight the coronavirus is to keep staying healthy,” said Mr. Bevilacqua. “Everyone’s definitely more stressed during this time. But the only thing you could control is yourself and the actions you take.”

You can read more at the Long Island Herald.

Franklin Square and Elmont

This past Tuesday was supposed to see an influx of business for local restaurants and bars in Franklin Square and Elmont.  Instead, there has been mostly silence in the wake of Governor Cuomo’s order to for bars and restaurants to switch to takeout and delivery instead of dine-in establishments.  This turn of events has left local owners worried during what should be one of their busiest times of year.

“It might shut down my restaurant,” said Ann Angelino, owner of Murph’s Restaurant in Franklin Square.  Ms. Angelino recently invested $10,000 into her business in preparation of St. Patrick’s Day and is afraid that she will be unable to recoup the cost with the ongoing shutdown order.  Additionally, she is unable to apply to unemployment insurance as the owner of her own business.

This is a problem being seen across the region as owner after owner faces plummeting sales and patronage as local residents stay home for fear of spreading the Coronavirus.   This has left local chambers scrambling as they look to help out their businesses.

“In the next week or two, everyone’s really going to be hurting,” said Elmont Chamber of Commerce President Paul Sapienza, who also owns Sapienza Bake Shop in downtown Elmont. “If they don’t have any money, they’ll have to close up.”

Mr. Sapienza stated that some businesses might be able to take out loans or use money in reserve, but that the shutdown could still lead to a large number of employees being laid off.  Part-time employees will probably be the first, a majority of whom are students or people looking for extra disposable income, but the longer this crisis drags on the more difficult it will be for local business to pay even a skeleton staff.

That is the primary concern of Mario Testani, owner of Filomena’s Restaurant, who feels as though he has enough money to weather the crisis, but is concerned for his employees.  He is trying to figure out the best way to remain open and still paying them while also being conscientious of the safety of others.

But on top of that, the main concern is how businesses will be paying their ongoing expenses.  “I’ll have to pay my landlord no matter what,” said Anthony Capogna, owner of Olivetto Pizzaria and Ristorante, which is still open for takeout.  But the future is suddenly very uncertain for him and a lot of local business on Long Island.

You can read more about Franklin Square and Elmont at the Long Island Herald.

Rockville Centre

Rockville Centre businesses have also been experiencing losses during this time as owners work to figure out how to move forward at this time.

The message coming from local restaurants has been one of shrinking business coupled with cutting staff to help deal with nosediving revenue.  While a switch to takeout might be enough to keep restaurants afloat, it’s not enough for workers who rely on these businesses.

Many hourly workers depend on their paycheck, so that’s disconcerting,” said George Korten, owner of George Martin restaurants in Rockville Centre. “We need some relief from the federal or state government [because] you have a lot of people worried financially, as well as health-wise.”  But even so, Mr. Korten also noted that “the safety of our guests is our primary concern, so the shutdown is a very smart move. That’s the only way to flat-line the curve.”

Even so, businesses are suffering.  Tommy Masvroudis, who owns Pantry Diner, said that even with takeout being offered his diner would need to significantly cut back on staff.  While he would have liked to have retained hem for when business came back, he felt it was more responsible to put them in a position where they could file for unemployment.

It’s not just restaurants though as Rockville Centre’s The Little Gym, which caters children and is owned by married couple Alu Murphy and Miguel Madera, has had to close its doors for the time being and is scrambling to make up the revenue.  “It’s definitely nerve-racking,” said Ms. Murphy. “We rely on people to come in for classes. I’m hoping the government will assist us, because if people can’t come in, it will affect our business. For now we’re just doing everything we can to keep our business going.”

Sportset Health and Fitness Club, another local gym, is hoping to retain members by offering virtual classes.  Owner Dennison Silvio talked about how he had hoped it wouldn’t come to a shutdown and had been investing into extra leaning staff and sterilization methods to help keeps customers safe.  “I was really hoping,” said Mr. Silvio, “even if we would lose money, that we’d be able to stay open and be an outlet to the community. I was planning to operate [with] a skeleton crew. Now we’re forced to close, and it’s tricky, because I’m not sure how long it will be.”

Meanwhile, the local Chamber of Commerce, headed by President Brian Courtier, has been working to reach out to local businesses in the downtown to help promote takeout and delivery options.  The Chamber has been working with Village Hall to try and get some sort of relief by offering free parking for the duration of the shutdown.  He is also encouraging residents to buy gift cards from local businesses.  Even with the shutdown he noted that people still need purchases for things like birthdays, anniversaries, and births, and gift cards offer a way to help local businesses while providing for those occasions.

You can read more about Rockville Centre’s efforts at the Long Island Herald.

Greenport

Greenport businesses are getting ready for the impact of the Coronavirus shutdown as life on the buys Main Street has drawn to a halt.  Like the rest of Long Island, the Village has seen a severe drop in patronage as resident avoid public places and big crowds.

“Town is very quiet,” said Scott Raulsome, who owns Burton’s Bookstore.  “We haven’t had more than two customers in the store at the same time.”

Mr. Raulsome said that he is hoping that isolated people will take advantage of his bookstore for entertainment, noting that he is capable of shipping, local delivery, or other transactions that aren’t in-person.  In the meantime he is simply sanitizing everything and keeping his store as clean as possible for the limited amount of customers who still come in.

For other businesses, March is going from a month normally reliant on regular customers to one with almost not business whatsoever.  “We came into March knowing already it would be a down month and now you put this on top of it. We’re playing it by ear,” said Nancy Kouris of the Blue Duck Bakery.  The Bakery is normally reliant on regular customers, but a majority of those are elderly resident who are avoiding downtowns due to public health concerns.

Other businesses have assessed the risk and decided simply to close shop for the time being.  The Weathered Barn, which is owned by Rena Casey-Wilhelm and her husband Jason decided it was in their personal best interest to temporarily shutter the shop.  The two of them suffered from compromised immune systems and didn’t wish to risk their health or their elderly parent’s.

“The economic impact, certainly in the short-term, is severe,” said Southold Supervisor Scott Russell. “Impacts on the financial health of businesses in the long-term is difficult to predict.”

Local businesses are hoping that loans from the SBA can help get them through without having to dip too much into earning from the previous summer.  Owners seem anxious but optimistic that this will pass and life can return to normal before too long.  In the meantime, they are urging solidarity among residents and business owners.

“We are all in this together and this virus affects each and every one of us in so many ways health-wise as well as our local economy,” said Ms. Casey-Wilhelm.  “We feel confident we will all come out A-OK on the other side.”

You can read more at the Suffolk Times.

Hicksville

Night 2 of the Coronavirus economic crisis brought Vision Long Island out to downtown Hicksville.  Armed with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, we were happy to see a number of restaurants providing take out to customers.

Some of the restaurants visited or observed open included: Punto Rojo Colombian; Fuel Your Body Café; Jalea Peruvian Cuisine; Peppercorns; New Hot Breads; Benghali Sweet Shop; Crown Chicken Grill; Kandahar Grill; Lemon Leaf Grill; Biryani House; Gyro Stop; Dosa World; Kebab House; Texas Chicken & Ribs; Choopan Grill; Sakana Japanese; Bakhatar Halal Kabab; Khabul Tea House; Trullo Doro; Mulberry Street; Masala Wok.

Vision also stopped in to see Tony at Food Universe, who is doing brisk business.

All of the restaurants we talked to were down 20-50% of normal business before Monday.  The shift to takeout only has caused those numbers to drop even further.  The main concern most folks had was the coming weekend, which is where 50% or more of their business is secured.  Takeout only on a Saturday night is far different than a full dining room.

Huntington

Downtown Huntington has also begun to see the effects of the shutdown as the order to close restaurants and theaters went into effect this past Monday.  It was strange to see a normally bustling downtown dark and quiet come 8 pm as local businesses complied.

Restaurants are still offering curbside service and takeout, which is allowed under the order, but the Paramount as well as the local AMC theater were all closed.  Some restaurants opted close completely, going dark and shuttering their businesses after 8.

Staples such as Little Vincent’s and Skorpios stood ready to serve customers with takeout orders, but the owners acknowledged that the loss of business will hurt them.  Meanwhile Besito’s, which is a popular hot spot, stood closed.

One of Huntington’s newest businesses, the Main Street Board Game Café, is in a peculiar position thanks to the order.  The café side has to be closed at 8 but the retail portion of the store can remain open in order to sell board games.  This has led him to having to lay off workers since he no longer has enough work for them.  It’s also unclear if retail will eventually meet with a similar order to close early.

You can read more at Huntington Now.

Valley Stream

This Tuesday was supposed to be a big day for local bars and restaurants as St. Patrick’s Day is usually one of the busier days of the year.  But with Governor Cuomo’s executive order in full effect, it was a rather stark one for Valley Stream businesses beginning to get hit by the Coronavirus shutdown.

This mood was felt at numerous local establishments, including Buckley’s Restaurant and Bar, a 51-year-old establishment in downtown Valley Stream that had been reduced to a takeout service.  Even with a temporary change in the state’s liquor laws to allow off-site sale of alcohol, the business was expecting a big dent in normal patronage.

“No one wants to close down, but it’s the right thing to do,” said Buckley’s bartender Kenny Collins said. “You don’t want people to get sick, so you do what you have to do.”

Another local establishment, Mitchell’s Restaurant, has already had to send home workers as business has declined and is currently working out a plan to be able to switch full time to takeout and delivery service.  While owners and managers recognize the need for these sudden shifts, there is still much anxiety over how to do so and what the long term effects will be.

Local coffee shop Sip This has moved quickly, already shifting to takeout only as of Sunday, which was before the Governor’s order.  “We made the switch for our workers and customers,” manager David Notarbartolo said. “We wanted to make sure we were being as safe as possible.”

But Mr. Notarbartolo also noted that his business had already been seeing a sharp downtick in business as customers began avoiding the crowded places in recent weeks.  It was already putting his establishment in a place where they needed to cut back on staffing hours.  Fortunately for him a number of his staff are high school or college students who were looking for a little bit of extra cash, but there are a number of workers who rely on this as their primary source of income, and those are the ones who businesses are prioritizing at the moment.

You can read more at the Long Island Herald.

Westbury

As concern about the Coronavirus rises, Village of Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro, the Board, and village agencies are taking steps to assure residents that everything possible is being done to promote their health and safety.

The Village, like other downtowns on Long Island, has been making great strides through the spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation, with hyperlocal focus and local groups coming together to support its downtown transformation. The Coronavirus pandemic threatens to change this protectory.

When it comes to local businesses, Mayor Cavallaro observes the longer the pandemic lasts, the more these businesses will feel tremendous pressure. “We need to support small business, as they do not have a long safety cord.” The Village is asking residents to shop locally where they can. “Without this support during these difficult times,” the Mayor says, “these businesses may not be here when its over.”

The Mayor notes that when it comes to health and safety, there are lots of resources from the County and State. Conversely, downtowns have less tools in their toolbox. The encouraging news, the Mayor notes, is the Village is in good shape. “Zoning is in place and we have a healthy downtown.”

Local restaurants are finding ways to safely serve their community. Owner of Toskana Pizzeria Restaurant, Jennifer Bautaj, notes the importance of shopping local all the time, and especially now, during a time of crisis. “People need to shop local, invest in small business, the Mom and Pop stores, in their communities. If not, we all lose.”

Here is a sampling of local restaurants making it work:

Cafe Gino’s is open from 10 am to 8 pm for takeout.
237 Post Ave, Westbury, Phone (516) 997-1912.

Kabul Kabab House is open from 12 pm to 9 pm for takeout and delivery.
247 Post Avenue, WestburyPhone (516) 280-4753.

Nana’s Ice Cream and Coffee House is open from 11 am to 8 pm for takeout and delivery.
225A Post Avenue, Westbury, Phone (516) 338-6888.

Punta Cana Grill is open from 11 am to 9 pm for takeout and delivery.
162 Post Ave, Westbury, Phone (516) 280-4099.

Toskana Pizzeria Restaurant is open from 10 am to 8 pm for takeout and delivery.
63 Post Avenue, Westbury, Phone (516) 414-7585.

Guiradelco, Phillipine Restaurant is open for takeout.

The Westbury Business Improvement District Board will continue to push out the revitalization plans with significant influence on keeping the current businesses open for the residence during these challenging times. Many of the food business are providing curb side pickup or delivery service to respect residents concerns. As the CDC recommends changes we will push them out the business. In these trying times lets all stay safe and keep the ill in out prayers, Vanessa Esposito, Executive Director

Vision staff stopped in to Guiradelco for delicious kebabs to go and a tasty Calzone from the Jennifer, Mike and Bill at Toskana.

Folks should visit these restaurants if you want to see them continue functioning.

Bipartisan Passage of “Corona 3” Emergency Legislation Delivers $40 Billion+ to New York

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer formally announced, today the latest COVID-19 emergency package he directly negotiated, delivering $40 billion+ dollars to the state, city, and its citizens. In reaching an agreement, the Senate will help New York address the coronavirus crisis, support our local communities.

“This is not a moment of celebration but rather one of necessity,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “The more than $40 billion dollars of additional help on the way to New York is essential to save lives, preserve paychecks, support small businesses, ensure public transit and much more. These critical dollars will inject proverbial medicine into our state, city and localities like on Long Island, to deliver  much-needed resources right now that can help combat the coronavirus. Like all compromise legislation, this bill is far from perfect—but it now does much more for this state, its people and its future than where we began.”

First, this relief package includes a dramatic and historic expansion and reform of the unemployment insurance program, called Unemployment Insurance on steroids.’ Schumer conceived this plan with an understanding for how the modern New York economy functions and to provide more generous benefits during this crisis to a greater number of New Yorkers, including those who have non-traditional employment like freelancers and gig workers. The extended and expanded UI program in this agreement increases the maximum unemployment benefit amount by $600 per week above one’s base unemployment compensation benefit and ensures that workers who are laid-off or out of work, on average, will receive their full pay for four months, a full quarter. It ensures that all workers are protected whether they work for businesses small, medium or large, along with self-employed and workers in the gig economy, who might travel from Long Island or Upstate to work in the city each day. The $260 billion dollar plan will deliver at least $15 billion directly to New YorkPayments of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples accounts for another $15.5B to New York.

Marshall Plan for our hospitals and other medical facilities so they can provide the necessary care during this pandemic. Schumer was able to create this plan and include over $150 billion for it nationally. Given that New York is the national epicenter of the pandemic, billions of dollars will begin flowing to New York right away. The money will be available to fund efforts critical to defeating the virus. That includes a massive new grant program for hospitals and health care providers, personal and protective equipment for health care workers, testing supplies, increased workforce and training, new construction to house patients, emergency operation centers and more. Additional funding is also dedicated to delivering Medicare payment increases to all hospitals and providers to ensure that they receive the funding they need during this crisis, and new investments in our country’s Strategic National Stockpile, surge capacity and medical research into Covid-19.

For state and local governments, a special program to deliver relief to those entities, to help stabilize the ones hardest hit by the virus, like in New York City and on Long Island. An expenditure relief fund of roughly $150 billion dollars will deliver at least $5.8 billion to New York, and with more than a $1.4 billion going to NYC and about half-a-billion to Long Island’s Nassau and Suffolk County budgets.

Includes critical dollars deemed necessary to preserve America’s transit systems, particularly in New York and in New York City. Schumer negotiated a $25 billion dollar allocation for transit, delivering $4.35 billon to New York, $3.8 billion of that exclusively for MTA. These dollars can be used to supplement revenues due to steep declines in ridership and to cover additional costs of coronavirus-related cleaning products and labor.

The package also includes small business rescue plan that allocates more than $375 billion to forgivable loans and grants to small businesses and non-profits so they can maintain their existing workforce and help pay other expenses during this crisis, like rent, a mortgage or utilities. New York, with its 2.2 million small businesses and tens-of-thousands of non-profits can expect to see billions of dollars once companies and organizations begin to apply for those funds. NYS small businesses that currently have over 19,000 existing SBA loans will also have relief from the burden of paying those loans with a new policy of the SBA, instead paying the principal, interest, and fees for a 6-month period.

Also included are several “emergency appropriations” totaling $180 billion that range from billions for hard-hit airports, expanded benefits to SNAP, increased CDBG which helps all our municipalities, funding for child care, of which New York would receive an additional $162 million, nutrition for seniors, nearly $1 billion dollars to help heat homes when income becomes a problem, and $1.5 billion for the National Guard to support to the hardest hit States and territories, like New York where approximately 2,200 members of the National Guard have been activated, amongst other things. New York will see tens-of-billions from this account, as well.

Governor Cuomo Gives Update on NYS Coronavirus Outbreak

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo provided another of his daily updates on the ongoing health crises in NYS while speaking from the Capitol Building in Albany.  The major bit of bad news was an additional 5,146 confirmed cases of Coronavirus across New York.

But a particular good bit of news was the recent success from New York’s call for volunteer health workers to help out with surging COVID-19 cases.  He noted that 40,000 healthcare workers have answered that call, including students and retirees, and will work on the front lines of the ongoing crises.  Meanwhile, more than 6,000 mental health professionals have signed up to provide free online mental health services to New Yorkers.  People can call 1-844-863-9314 to schedule a free appointment if they find themselves in need.

Meanwhile, NYC will being a pilot program of closing streets to vehicular traffic in order to allow people to better stick to social distancing protocols.  Part of this plan will also include a voluntary playground social density protocol that will prohibit close contact sports such as basketball.

Governor Cuomo also took the time to urge the federal government to implement a “rolling deployment” of equipment and personnel to address critical needs in hotspot areas.  This would allow federal supplies to more quickly reach areas where there are a high number of COVID-19 cases instead of an equal number of resources to the entire country.  Governor Cuomo pledged to personally manage the deployment of supplies and equipment and technical assistance to the next hotspots once New York’s numbers go into decline.

Finally, he talked about how people are helping each other out during the outbreak.  He noted that the Four Seasons Hotel on 57th Street, sometimes known as “Billionaire’s Row,” will provide free rooms to medical personnel who are fighting the outbreak.  He also talked about how Public Service Commission (PSC) has ordered utilities to freeze rate increases in an effort to bring relief to New Yorkers.

You can read more on the update at the Governor’s website.

Unprecedented Number of New Yorkers Filing for Unemployment

As the Coronavirus spreads throughout the region, NYS Department of Labor is reporting an increasingly large number of people are filing unemployment claims.

As people are continually put out of work thanks to the economic shutdown resulting from the ongoing pandemic, they are turning to state to help them pay bills and keep food on the table.  According to the NYSDOL, between Monday, March 16th and Saturday, March 21st, nearly 2.3 million people visited their website and over 1.7 million called the department, shattering previous records.  The department averaged 75,000 fielded calls as of last Tuesday, up from its usual 10,000.

According to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, nearly 4,000 employees have been laid off according to 700 surveyed businesses.  A large number of those employees are from the restaurant industry, which is particularly vulnerable to an economic shutdown of this magnitude.  Some areas of the state are seeing a 1,000% surge in claims.

Those numbers are only expected to climb after the recent executive order by Governor Andrew Cuomo that mandated all nonessential employees remain home to help slow the spread of infection.  This reverses what had been years of a downward trend for unemployment claims in New York.  Long Island’s unemployment rate was as low as 3.9% this past January.

In order to help expedite requests, the state is calling for claimants to file at specific times based on the first letter of their last names.  A-F should file on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., G-N should file on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and O-Z should file on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.  Additional hours will be available in the evenings from Thursday through Saturday for those who missed their windows.  Officials stressed that filing later in the week won’t make a difference on claims as they are retroactive to the beginning of the week.  The state is also waiving the seven-day waiting period for people who are out of work due to the virus outbreak.

The NYSDOL has also announced extended phone hours during this period to be able to answer more questions for residents.  You can call 1-888-209-8124 Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.  You can also visit www.ny.gov/COVIDpaidsickleave for more information on New York’s coronavirus related paid sick leave law.

While people are getting laid off in the restaurant industry, the grocery industry, which has been deemed essential during the outbreak, has announced several hiring initiatives in order to keep up with rising demand in the region.  ShopRite and Stop&Shop have both announced aggressive hiring quotas in the next few weeks.  Additionally, Stop&Shop is giving all current hourly union workers a 10% pay raise and two weeks of paid leave for sick employees that won’t detract from their normal sick time.  Grocers are also working to reduce contact and proximity between cashiers and customers.

You can read more on this at the Suffolk Times.

Long Island Racing is Working to Provide Medical Supplies to Local Hospitals

Some of the greatest things about this crisis is local people pulling together with creative solutions.

The owners of Long Island Racing are working day and night to producing reusable n95 masks in an effort to help with shortfalls in the local healthcare system.  They are working with Christian Price, who is a local motorcycle fabricator and owner of one of the country’s largest 3D printers, to produce 100 masks a day for use in local hospitals.

Kudos to Matt Mendez, Barbara & Ivette Jacome, Christian Price, Matt Gonzalez and Manny Rosa for their work and providing us a demo of the new masks.  Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander personally wore one for over an hour and described them as “very comfortable and snug.”

They have set up a gofundme page to help keep the process going and produce these for front line workers.

If you’d like to donate to help them purchase materials and help out in your own way, you can donate here.

Nassau and Suffolk County Calling for Medical Supplies Donations

Nassau County has placed a call out to residents for much-needed medical supplies among the ongoing pandemic.  County Executive Laura Curran, Comission of Police Patrick J. Ryder, and OEM Commissioner Steven Morelli all made the announcement today.

Supplies that Nassau County is currently looking for include:

– N95 Surgical Masks in unopened container/boxes
– Eye protection such as goggles and face shields
– Nitrile Gloves in unopened boxes which have not expired
– Disposable medical gowns (paper which are fluid resistant or plastic)
– Shoe cover/booties
– No-Touch thermometers
– Thermometer probe covers
– HEPA filters for Ventilators / Anesthesia Machines
– Antibacterial and disinfecting wipes – typically alcohol or bleach-based
– Disinfecting wipes (Clorox/Lysol)
– Hand Sanitizer

The supply drive will run this week through Friday, March 27th and begin again next Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3 pm.  Supplies can be brought to the Nassau County Public Safety Parking Lot, Field 3, Eisenhower Park, where a drive-up collection point is set up. 

Meanwhile, Suffolk County is currently holding its own medical supply drive.  They are currently asking for medical masks, gowns, gloves, antibacterial and any other desperately needed medical supplies.  These supplies can be dropped off at the Suffolk County Fire Academy in Yaphank for the rest of the week from 10 am to 2 pm.

The Suffolk drive is aimed at helping out hospitals, medical centers, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes where supplies are quickly being depleted among the spreading disease.  Supplies are also in high demand for EMS workers, police officers, and first responders.

Facilities in Suffolk County that are in urgent need of supplies can register to receive them here.

The drive has seen success so far with 40,000 gloves, 3,000 N95 masks, and 1,500 gloves donated so far. 
Both Counties urge any donation you are able to give, with no donation considered too small.

Laura Curran to Host Virtual Town Hall Tonight at 6:30

In an effort to update residents on the constantly changing COVID-19 situation, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran will be hosting a virtual Town Hall on her Facebook page this upcoming Wednesday, March 25th at 6:30 pm.

Nassau County Commissioner of Health Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein will also be present as they give residents the latest news on what is being done to keep their families safe and healthy.  You will be able to join directly from your home to get up-to-date information and ask questions concerning the outbreak as well as strategies to fight back.

You can head to Executive Curran’s Facebook Page here, which is where the Town Hall will be streamed from.  There are also a number of previous updates that she has been giving daily since the outbreak began.

Nassau County Urges Nonprofits and Municipalities to Apply for FEMA Funds

New York State has been the hardest hit from the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, with over 25,000 positive cases and Nassau County accounting for almost 3.000. FEMA recently announced that it will be reimbursing and aiding organizations who have been providing essential emergency operations on the frontlines of the COVID-19 responseNassau County Executive Laura Curran is urging all eligible local hospitals, nonprofits and municipalities who have been affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic to dedicate staff to apply for this very important FEMA disaster assistance. The assistance will provide funding for actions (taken from January 20, 2020 and on) regarding the COVID-19 outbreak to save lives, protect public health and safety, and prevent damage to public health and safety, and prevent damage to public and private property. In order to apply for the assistance eligible applicants must attend a brief webinar on Thursday, March 26.

“We are experiencing an unprecedented situation that is causing an extraordinary financial burden on our local economy, especially essential operations throughout the County. I am strongly recommending all eligible organizations join this webinar as the first step to applying for the assistance available in order to keep these essential operations going through this pandemic. We will continue to work with our state and federal partners to get as much support as possible,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. 
Organizations eligible for the funding include governmental entities, critical (or essential) non-profits and non-critical (or non-essential) non-profits.

  • Examples of Governmental entities are Nassau County Departments/Offices/Agencies, the County’s 2 cities, 3 towns and 64 incorporated villages, school districts, fire districts.
  • Examples of critical non-profits are hospitals, utility organizations, educational facilities (including public and private colleges), laboratories, nursing homes and agencies that provide emergency services.
  • Examples of non-critical non-profits are houses of worship, community centers, libraries, senior citizen centers, homeless shelters, food assistance programs, performing arts facilities and childcare centers.

In order to apply for the assistance eligible applicants must attend a brief webinar. On Thursday, March 26 FEMA will begin holding applicant briefings for Nassau and Suffolk Counties via WebEx.

The webinar will provide eligible applicants with the information needed to:

  • participate in the disaster as Public Assistance applicants; and,
  • submit for reimbursement for FEMA-eligible expenditures incurred as a result of the COVID-19 virus

To register for one of the applicant briefings, please click on the registration link next to your preferred date and time:

For more information please reach out to Susan Park at (516) 573-9642 or spark@nassaucountyny.gov.

NYS Asking for Qualified Health Professionals to Recertify

In the event that the novel coronavirus crisis worsens, we need the help of qualified health professionals and related professionals to supplement our hospital capacity on a temporary basis to treat seriously ill coronavirus patients including those that may need to be intubated. The NYS Dept. of Health will recertify you for the purpose.

If you are interested and able to help out, please fill out the Health Professional Survey here.

Amazon Hiring Thousands of New Workers During Coronavirus Outbreak

As a number of workers are being let go from their positions, Amazon is looking to hire 100,000 new workers as delivery drivers and warehouse workers. To help incentivize this initiative they are offering an additional $2 per hour to anyone who applies before April.

If you are interested in one of these positions you can read more about the initative and apply for a job here.

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

Smart Talk

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

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