Long Island Main Street News May 26th, 2020

Check out this edition of LI Main Street News beginning the 11th week of quarantine. This issue for day 72 of the economic shutdown covers a new downtown profile, communities helping communities segment, information on continued NYS regulations for the extended shutdown with steps towards reopening, the debate over essential vs nonessential businesses and more quotes from County, Town and Village officials opposing the removal of local zoning.

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


May 26th, 2020


Quotes of Day


“If there’s ever a time to actually take on this overdue need of major infrastructure, construction, now is the time. There is no better time to build than right now.” – Hon. Andrew Cuomo, New York State Governor
   
The following are an ongoing collection of quotes in opposition to a proposal to remove local zoning in the middle of this pandemic.
   

“It’s so important for us in our local communities to keep the zoning here.  We don’t need people who don’t live here, don’t know the communities, don’t know anything about us, to make decisions for how things should be zoned in our communities.  It’s important for us to keep it local and not on a state level.” – Hon. Rose Walker, Nassau County Legislator

“It’s wrong for anyone to circumvent the public review process and limit the voices of our residents in determining the future of our communities. I will continue to advocate for greater public input, more public hearings and will always place the vision of our residents over the desires of outsiders to develop our neighborhoods.”– Hon. Vicki Walsh, Town of Oyster Bay Councilwoman

“I have no intention of giving up our local zoning.  That is why we are a Village, so we have control of our neighborhoods, which makes us a destination” – Hon. Damon McMullen, Village of Northport Mayor

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

Helping Main Street through the
Coronavirus Shutdown

Day 72 of economic shutdown – Tuesday May 26th, 2020

The Coronavirus economic shutdown is on day 72.  Wary happiness about the first steps towards lifting the shutdown as Lots of discussion this weekend about the inequities of “Essential” vs “Non Essential” businesses with rules that are tilted towards the large chain stores vs independent local retail.   Local municipalities, chambers and local residents are collaborating in numerous communities across Long Island on plans for reopening. 

Today’s downtown profiled is the hamlet of Roosevelt.  Our Communities Helping Communities segment takes us to the good work done by Brentwood HS students  

Here are some updates:

• Long Island is still on track to enter Phase 1 of reopening tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27thPhase 1 allows construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, curbside and in-store pickup retail, manufacturing, and wholesale trade. For more regulations as to what will reopen in phase one, and to lookup your specific category of business visit this site.

• All businesses are required to complete the attached Reopening Safety Plan.  I have also attached the link to NY State for industry specific guidance.  Each business will also need to read and sign an attestation that is specific to their business type.  Safety Plans are to be kept on site and available for review by enforcement officers in the event a complaint or violation occurs.

• A big story this weekend was the disconnect between essential and non-essential business regulations.  Newsday did a feature story on Sunday that put a spotlight on the rules benefitting large chain stores at the expense of small local businesses.  Check out the story – the LI Main Street Alliance is quoted.

• Eight members of the Suffolk Legislature sent a letter in to the state to allow more flexible rules to allow some small businesses to safely open.   They also cited the inequity between the larger businesses and the local Main Street businesses.

Here is the letter and a link to a video update from Suffolk Legislator Kevin McCaffrey.

• Nonprofits, small landlords and mom-and-pop outfits—especially minority- and women-owned businesses—that got jilted by the federal government will get a $100 million boost from the state with the New York Forward Loan Fund, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.

• Nassau County IDA has created a $500,000 fund to help small main street businesses.

• The East Meadow Chamber has organized a reopening plan with their local businesses.

• Last week the MTA and other regional trains and buses sounded their horns at 3:00 p.m. in honor of the heroic transportation employees who are continuing to provide service throughout the pandemic.
The following video of NYC Subways, Buses, LIRR and Metro-North trains and MTA Bridges and Tunnels maintenance vehicles is available at this link:  https://youtu.be/3bd7OgBzilc

• The City of Long Beach is opening their boardwalk and beach.

• New York State has pushed back the deadline to file sales tax to late June.  Businesses will have until June 22 to file sales tax, which were previously due May 19, Cuomo said. The move staves off a deadline already extended. Sales taxes were initially due March 20, when the Covid-19 pandemic already had begun to take hold in the state.

• The NYS Unemployment system has processed $10 billion in benefits during the Coronavirus shutdown which is 5x the number of benefits processed for the entire year of 2019. This doesn’t account for the significant backlog so the numbers are likely higher.  While that is not surprising considering the breadth of the economic lockdown the numbers are still astonishing.

• The Village of Farmingdale laid out a post Coronavirus outdoor seating area.  Check it out.

• Eight local Long Island Art Council’s have teamed up for a LI Art Scavenger Hunt (done virtually).   Check it out.

• East End Arts out in downtown Riverhead are calling artists to participate in the Frontline Heroes program.  Check it out.

• Village of Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro took an extended walk around his neighborhood and took some pictures into a video.   Check it out.

• The Village of Northport Farmers Market shutdown with a focus to support the local stores and shops on Main Street.  Check it out.

• Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman released an analysis of the financial impact that Covid-19 may have on the county’s sales tax revenues. Under the current phased reopening, the analysis indicates a potential $156.4 million to $360.1 million drop in sales tax for 2020. Under a hypothetical scenario of a closure related to a second wave, the analysis indicated a potential $665 million to $1 billion loss in sales tax revenue over the two-year period from 2020-2021. In the context of a budget that totals approximately $3.11 billion, this is a staggering loss that would decimate the county’s finances. This projection underscores once again just how imperative it is that the federal government step in and provide direct aid to state and local governments.  Read Comptroller Schnirman’s Covid-19 Financial Impact Analysis Fact Sheet by clicking here.

• The SBA released the application form for Loan Forgiveness with the Payroll Protection Program.

• There are not enough NY’ers taking Coronavirus tests.  There are now over 700 locations statewide where New Yorkers can get diagnostic testing, including numerous options here in Nassau, and new online tools make it easier than ever to find testing near you. To locate a testing site near you, visit https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you and enter your address to view a list and a map view of the nearest testing sites. The state has also partnered with Google Maps to display testing site results when you search “COVID testing near me” on Google Maps. Please remember you must always schedule an appointment to get a COVID-19 diagnostic test by calling 1-888-364-3065 or your healthcare provider.

• LIBN noted that Nassau County sales tax revenue could drop 12% to 28% amid pandemic.

• The new CDC Guidelines are out for Schools, Workplace & Events.

• The CDC has a flowchart to see if a restaurant or bar are ready to open.

• NYS has set some rules for retailers.

• The US Chamber of Commerce has produced a guidebook for reopening your business.   Check it out.

• The US Travel Association has a guidebook for CARES act resources.

• If you have been trying to figure out where to get tested for the Coronavirus here is a cool website created by Jericho HS students that tells you the closest site by zip code.

• Long Beach businesses have been sorting out plans to reopen.  Check it out.

• Village of Port Jeff Mayor Margot Garant shared the news of a brand new electric vehicle charger operating now right in front of Rocketship Park in the Salt meadow parking lot. If you have an EV car or Tesla, simply download the ChargePoint app https://www.chargepoint.com/ to track locations and initiate charges. You can even reserve an EV parking space with the app as long as you are charging your EV vehicle! For more information go to www.portjeff.com/parking

• The one common refrain we have heard over the last 60+ days of the Coronavirus shutdown is that the rules are tilted towards large chain stores shutting out independent retailers. 50 people in a CVS or 100 at a Target can shop and buy a range of items while 2 people are not allowed in a Main Street clothing, jewelry or specialty shop. No matter how many government officials we ask about this inequity there are no clear answers.
The guidelines of “essential” vs “non-essential” need a second look especially now that local communities, small businesses, municipalities and residents are taking sanitation and distancing very seriously.
Here is a story from CBS News reporter Jennifer Mclogan that speaks to the issue. Check it out.

• If you like looking at charts and want to see how other countries are faring with the Coronavirus check this site out.

• Here are the latest NYS directives for reopening by industry. Here is a Q & A on the NYS regulations as well.

• The Treasury Department has issued a new interim final rule on the SBA’s PPP and EIDL which is posted on their website, this one related to loan increases. 

 HEROES ACT: Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced a new coronavirus stimulus bill called the HEROES Act. This proposal calls for more than $3 trillion in aid to state and local governments, increases testing, extends unemployment insurance and provides for expansion of voting by mail. The bill also proposes to give Americans another $1,200 in direct payments and additional mortgage relief. While the bill will likely pass the House, it will have an uphill battle in the US Senate. However, it is vital that state and local governments which have been devastated by the effects of this virus be given financial assistance in order for them to continue to fund basic public services including education, police and fire departments, road maintenance and sanitation services. 

• NYS Senator Monica Martinez proposed the Unsung Heroes Act of 2020 which will allow for guaranteed sick leave, coverage of medical expenses,  and job protection to those individuals deemed essential employees as defined under Executive Order, who are stricken with COVID-19 as well as death benefits to the family if an individual is to succumb to the virus. For the purposes of this legislation, essential employees are those on the front line such as child protective services workers, grocery store clerks, delivery workers, postal service employees, first responders, health professionals, sanitation workers, and law enforcement officers.

• Please folks, in the sometimes cavalier discussion on reopening or not reopening our economy please take into account the fact that there are almost 2 million New Yorkers unemployed right now who weren’t two months ago. That doesn’t count the tens of thousands or more folks who haven’t been able to navigate NYS’s Unemployment system for benefits.
This crisis has not only had a devastating health impact but a massive economic impact. And yes if you are not one of those people hurt economically – say a prayer, choose a blessing or at least be humble that you are not.

• The good folks at the Interfaith Nutrition Network have scheduled virtual events to support their local service programs.

 Miss going to the Movies?  The Town of North Hempstead is having Drive In Movies – check it out.

• The Town of Hempstead will waive permit fees and allow outdoor dining for local restaurants – check it out.

• The Village of Freeport is distributing free masks and gloves to residents.

• The Town of Brookhaven has a microloan program for small businesses set up through the Cares Act.   Deadline is approaching so check it out:
The Town of Brookhaven has received a special allocation of funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Town of Brookhaven Department of Housing and Human Services has created an Emergency Microenterprise Business Relief Grant Program to help mitigate the economic hardships experienced by small businesses during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
A microenterprise business is a business with five or fewer employees, one or more of whom owns the business/enterprise. This will help to sustain the microenterprise business during this period of economic slow-down. The primary Community Development Block Grant objective of assistance to low-and-moderate income business owners will be through grants to assist in overhead costs of microenterprise businesses within the Town of Brookhaven. Grants provided may be up to $10,000 per business.
Attached is the Guidelines and Application Packet. THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING APPLICATIONS IS MAY 20, 2020 at 4:30pm. Application will be processed on a first come/first served basis until such time as program grant funds are exhausted. Applications can be emailed prior to the deadline to Christine Rignola at CRignola@brookhavenny.gov. If you have any questions, please contact Christine at (631) 451-6602.

• Vision’s Director had the opportunity to be on Facebook Live with NYS Assemblywoman Taylor Darling for the launch of her Tuesday’s with Taylor show.  Check it out. 

• The Nassau IDA plans to help downtown small businesses.

• What is a surprise to no one is that lots of business are switching banks after the fiasco associated with the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program.

• The Department of Labor has a Self Employment Assistance Program that allows you to collect unemployment and work.  Check it out.

• The good folks at Touro College have a legal assistance hotline and are navigating people through unemployment and varying other situations.   Check it out.

• Updated guidance on essential construction.

• Not a surprise but parents with young children are facing massive stress and financial insecurity.   Check out the survey results here.

• We have been critical of the minimum amount of Corporate philanthropy out there but here is a link for small businesses to apply for $5,000 grants to FedEx.   Check it out.

• The Suffolk Legislature is meeting Tuesday May 19th at 4pm – here is how to practice democracy virtually:
Recording Testimony Over the Phone: A new initiative, parties can now call (631) 853-3685 and leave a three-minute message about topics of concern and specific resolutions being considered by lawmakers. Residents should include their name as well as whether they are speaking about a specific resolution. Recorded voice testimony will be accepted through the close of business on May 19th.
Sending Testimony By Email: Comments may be submitted in writing by emailing Clerk.Legislature@suffolkcountyny.gov.
Sending Testimony by Regular Mail: Comments may be mailed to the attention of the Clerk’s Office at the Suffolk County Legislature, William H. Rogers Building, 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown, NY 11787.
Testifying at a Public Hearing via Zoom: You can testify at a public hearing scheduled for the May 19th General Meeting through Zoom. Sign up to receive the meeting invitation by filling out the online form at www.scnylegislature.us/publichearing. Those wishing to speak must sign up before hearings are set to begin at 6:30 PM on May 19.
Questions about how to participate or submit testimony should be directed to the Suffolk County Legislature Clerk’s office at 631-853-6351.

• The real estate and construction sectors will make changes within their industry to get back to work with a focus on safety and sanitation.

• The Coronavirus crisis has necessitated school closings throughout the country. Some school systems were prepared to pivot into Distance Learning because their students have access to personal computers or District-supplied devices. This is not universally true, especially for many Central Islip and Brentwood students, where over 6,000 students have been identified as needing a computer to login and do their online school assignments. The communities of Central Islip and Brentwood have unified to help these students get the supplies they need, and deserve, to succeed in this new learning environment.
A GoFundMe page titled “Computers for Kids Campaign” has been set up with the hopes of raising $1,000,000 worth of funds in order to donate devices for the Brentwood and Central Islip students in need.  If you are interested in making a financial donation towards this fundraising goal, please do so by using the GoFundMe link: gf.me/u/xx5dqc.

• Last week the Governor extended a moratorium on evictions related to the Coronavirus shutdown.

• After pressure from downtown Mayors, local chambers, small business advocates and really just about everyone the SBA is starting to fund truly small businesses.   Many of the banks in charge of the applications gave loans to their biggest customers with very little going to small companies. Kudos to Congressmembers Lee Zeldin, Peter King, and Kathleen Rice who we have heard were very active in making this happen in concert with Senator Schumer and Gillibrand.  Newsday did a cover story on this infuriating topic.

• Re-opening has been a major topic for everyone.  The LI Main Street Alliance was out in downtown Farmingdale last week hearing from shop owners and the Mayor.

 When businesses reopen, they must implement new safety precautions to help lower the risk of spreading the virus. These measures include strict cleaning and sanitation standards, restricting nonessential travel, adapting the workplace to allow for social distancing, and requiring masks to be worn if employees are in frequent contact with the public. To read the full list of guidelines, check out Governor Cuomo’s full release on the topic: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/amid-ongoing-covid-19-pandemic-governor-cuomo-outlines-additional-guidelines-when-regions-can

• Suffolk County has produced a document to help guide reopening.

• A proposal to remove local zoning and hand it over to Albany has been floated in Newsday and the LI Business News and now has been formally sent to the Governor’s 100 member advisory committee which contains roughly 5 Long Islanders and guided by the McKinsey company.   Sadly this effort is presented in the middle of a pandemic with real people focused on human needs.   Many builders are opposed to this measure along with State & County officials, municipal leaders, chambers and community organizations.  LI Business News has an initial story on this power grab in the middle of a pandemic when most regular folks are at their most anxious and stressed.

• The Federal Reserve Board announced that it is expanding the scope and eligibility for its Main Street Lending Program. The changes are designed to offer more options to a wider set of eligible small and medium-size businesses. The Fed said that the starting date for the program will be announced soon.
A webinar was held on this program with information below:
https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/mainstreetlending.htm

• The Small Business Administration resumed accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) yesterday from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower. For more information, visit the SBA’s website here.
A message from the SBA:
The Small Business Administration will resume accepting PPP loan applications on Monday, April 27 at 10:30AM EDT from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower. This will ensure that SBA has properly coded the system to account for changes made by the legislation.
We encourage all approved lenders to process loan applications previously submitted by eligible borrowers and disburse funds expeditiously.  All eligible borrowers who need these funds should work with an approved lender to apply. Borrowers should carefully review PPP regulations and guidance and the certifications required to obtain a loan.
For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program, visit: sba.gov/paycheckprotection
They SBA also announced that:
The EIDL application will not reopen
The applications already received, in the queue are being processed on a first come first serve basis.

• BUT The Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance/Loan portal is temporarily open for agricultural businesses that were previously ineligible for the program. New non-agricultural business applications will not be accepted. The portal will be opened for a limited period, and it is recommended that you apply as soon as possible.  The link to the portal will be:   http://www.sba.gov/Disaster

• 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.

• The IRS has an Employee Retention Tax Credit.  Check it out here.

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

• The Gates Foundation will work to “reimagine” our schools.

• A former partner from McKinsey & Company is looking to phase out the Post Office.

• The stories of community level philanthropy are heartwarming and we will profile at least one each day.  Today’s profile features a volunteer from the Town of Smithtown.

• Pink Tie has set up a Pink Tie Delivers system to bring food to local pantries across Long Island. The launch has been active multiple weeks with stops in Hempstead, Medford, Mastic Beach, Freeport, Central Islip, and Westbury. This week we headed to Huntington Station and BabylonCheck 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.

• Really thorough cover story in LI Business News of the Coronavirus shutdown’s economic impact on Main Streets across Long Island.  Many members of the LI Main Street Alliance were involved in the feature which covered the communities of Hempstead, Farmingdale, Patchogue, East Meadow, Bethpage and Babylon. Vision and the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce were interviewed as well. Check it out.

• 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.

• It goes without saying that the front line providers in health care, police, ambulance, food services, pharmacy, child care, and many others are working round the clock and are the true heroes through this crisis.
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 move through the 10th week of economic shutdown please think about supporting your local businesses at least once if not multiple times.    We have spoken to well over 600 local businesses in nearly 50 downtown communities and they need your help.

RECENT NEWS FROM GOVERNMENT

• New York State Senator Monica R. Martinez Introduces Important Pieces Of Legislation To Support Residents During The COVID Pandemic

• Lowey, Schumer Announce Historic Proposal for $67 billion in Critical New York State, County, and Local Government COVID Relief Funds

• Schumer Floor Remarks On The Need For Big, Bold And Swift Action To Respond To The Health And Economic Crisis Caused By The Coronavirus Pandemic Including Help For Truly Small Businesses And A National, Comprehensive Testing Strategy

• Gillibrand Joins Bipartisan Call On Trump Administration To Raise SBA’s PPP Non-Payroll Forgiveness Cap

• Schumer, Gillibrand, Delgado, Zeldin Announce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation that will deliver direct federal funding for all New York Counties, Cities, Towns & Villages, Responding to and Recovering from Pandemic

• Schumer, Gillibrand announce over $8 million in Federal Funds for 33 Long Island Organizations Working to End Homelessness

• Governor Cuomo’s May 22nd message

• Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s May 22nd message

• Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s May 22nd message

• Painful news is that NYS has ordered the Schools to be shut down through the end of the year.

• So it looks like another 200,000 joined the ranks of the official unemployment count which doesn’t factor in the large amount who have not been able to access benefits from NYS DOL.  The total receiving unemployment in NYS is over 1.6 million and 30 million nationally.

• Looks like without small business aid half of NYS’s breweries will close within months.

• With no school to drive to a LI bus company closes and lays off 900.

• Treasury Secretary Mnuchin suggests that big companies should apologize for taking small business loans that were meant for small businesses.

• Problems continue as small businesses seek to access the Payroll Protection Program

• Folks are digesting the varying guidelines and timelines associated with the reopening of the economy

• The Mckinsey Company will be assisting with planning the recovery.

• Big businesses and institutions were the first to access SBA programs with little to nothing left for small businesses.

• Local pharmacies will play a role in Coronavirus testing.

• 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

• Sen. Schumer calls on FDA to crack down on unregulated home coronavirus test kits

• US Senator Schumer announces New York hospitals and providers to receive an additional $4 billion+ in ‘hot spot’ money to keep the fight against COVID-19 going.

• County Executive Curran announced that Nassau is expanding testing in Hempstead and Freeport, and next week will open a testing site in Elmont. Testing will be provided by appointment only, and for more information or to make an appointment, call 516-396-7500

• 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.

• The jobless rate has tripled and is at 14.7 percent.

• 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.

 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 Executive Laura Curran hosted a Coronavirus State of the County on News 12 Long Island you can watch it here.

• Long Island Towns are calling on the Governor to provide a delay in property tax payments.

• An agreement has been reached on replenishing SBA lending programs
This includes $320 billion for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program, including $60 billion which would be set aside for small lenders and community financial institutions and $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand led a webinar on the components of the agreement along with future and took many folks questions including those from Long Islanders.

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

• Lupinacci, Suffolk Town Supervisors Call for Residential Construction to Resume

• North Hempstead provides an update on their efforts against COVID-19

• The Village of Valley Stream is Supporting Small Business

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

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

RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESS

• La Fuerza Community Development Corp has a microloan program for minority owned small businesses in Nassau and Suffolk County.

• Resentment is growing on Main Street over bailout winners and losers

• For folks complaining about brick and mortar stores charging an extra dollar or two for hand sanitizer note that Amazon has been sued for price gouging with essential items spiking as high as 1,000%.

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

• 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.

• NYS Sen Anna Kaplan hosted “Preparing Your Small Business for a Reopened Community,” featuring practical steps you can take right now to prepare your business for the next phase of this crisis. If you weren’t able to participate live, you can watch the replay any time on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AnnaMKaplan/videos/2929655900462446/

• 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

• 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

• 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

• 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.

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

• RXR has set up a series of volunteer resources to help your business during the shutdown.  Check it out.

• 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)

• LISTnet hosted a webinar with Vision and the LI Main Street Alliance on adapting to the technology of working at home.  Here is the video link of the session.

• NYS Assemblywoman Judy Griffin hosted an event with local chambers and the LI Main Street Alliance on programs that can help small business.   You can check out the call here. (Access password: 1j@44H@5)

Suffolk Legislator Dr. William Spencer and NYS Senator James Gaughran held a Virtual Town Hall to address the ongoing NYS response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the recently adopted 2020-21 NYS budget, and answer your questions.  You can view the tape here.

• Nassau County Executive Laura Curran  and Executive Director of Minority affairs Lionel Chitty were on Radio Zindagi 540 AM with Harry Molhatra from the South Asian Chamber of Commerce.   They answering questions and concerns, informed the community and small business owners about important information
Radio zindagi on 540 AM  You can view the tape here.

• Last week, NYS Senator Anna Kaplan held her second Small Business Support webinar with experts from the SBA and ESD giving an update about programs available to small businesses, and answering questions from business owners on Facebook Live. If you weren’t able to catch it the first time, you can watch it anytime at https://www.facebook.com/AnnaMKaplan/videos/931428823960667/

RESOURCES FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT / SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS

• Senator Schumer also called on the Federal Reserve to open up Main Street lending programs to Cities and Counties.

• The Governor has announced a new testing protocol.

• 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.

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

BILLS BILLS BILLS

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

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

• Up to date information in accessing unemployment from NYS DOL

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

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

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

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

• Resources for displaced bartenders.

• Resources for displaced hospitality workers.

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

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

• PSEG has a Coronavirus page that is updated regularly

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

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

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

• AT&T suspends collection activities during the Coronavirus crisis

• PSEG Long Island Halts Service Shut Offs

• National Grid Halts Service Shut Offs

• Verizon Suspends Collection Activities

 Geico postponed collectons during Coronavirus shutdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

• National Grid has updated information about their billing.

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

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

• 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.

HUMAN NEEDS

• 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.

• new testing site is opening in Elmont.

• Umbrella is coordinating grocery delivery for adults 60+ across Long Island. Individuals can place an order online at askumbrella.com or call 516-882-4498 to get matched with a local volunteer to shop on their behalf. There is a $10 suggested contribution per order to help offset some of our overhead costs – but it is up to the individual to pay what they wish. No one is turned away. With questions about the service, please contact emma@askumbrella.com

• New York State will provide child care scholarships to essential workers. Child care costs will be covered for essential staff whose income is less than 300% of the federal poverty level — or $78,600 for a family of four. Essential workers (including health care providers, law enforcement, food delivery workers, grocery store employees and others) can use these scholarships to pay for their existing care arrangement.
If an essential worker needs child care, they can use the below link to begin the application process (select by language spoken)

• 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.

• If you are a pet owner the CDC has some guidance.  The USDA reported today that two pet cats in New York have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (they’re expected to recover.) There is no evidence that domestic animals can pass the virus on to humans, but it seems apparent that the cats did contract the virus from humans they came in contact with. As a result, the CDC has issued new guidance for pet owners: don’t let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household, keep cats indoors when possible, walk dogs on a leash, staying 6 feet away from other people and animals. Avoid dog parks or places where a large number of people and dogs gather.  

HELP NEEDED

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

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

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

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

HELP WANTED

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

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

General Listings:

Indeed
Long Island’s Craigslist
New York Jobs

Simply Hired

• There are nearly 2 million folks currently out of work but the good news for some is that NYS is hiring 17,000 tracers at $57,000 a year. Check it out in Patch.

• 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

• There are nearly 2 million folks currently out of work but the good news for some is that NYS is hiring 17,000 tracers at $57,000 a year. Check it out in Patch.

HOME & STIR CRAZY

• Pounding your head into the wall with your new job description as a home school teacher?  Check out Nassau Boces and their PreK initiative for all sorts of resources to help figure it out.

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

• 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!

INNOVATION UNDERWAY

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

The Business Incubator Association has created an invitation to ventilate.   

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

A Long Island Distillery is making hand sanitizer.

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

ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORTATION & SUSTAINABILITY

• AARP has announced a Livable Communities Challenge Grant for local community efforts.

• 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 Board Unanimously Ratifies Family Benefits Agreement Recognizing Heroic Sacrifice by Frontline Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

• 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. 

• VHB has put together a thoughtful resource guide on transportation, real estate and energy.   Check it out.

OTHER NEWS & RESOURCES

• Nassau County Map of updates from Across the County

• Suffolk County Map of confirmed Coronavirus cases

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

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

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

• Inspirational op-ed from LIBN editor Joe Dowd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW CAN I HELP?

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

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

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

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

CORPORATE PHILANTHROPY

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

Locally
– The Long Island Community Foundation has set up a Coronavirus fund for community services and organizations.
– Pink Tie and the LI Nets have developed a Pink Tie delivers program.
– 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.
– Sterling Bank provided $5,000 to Central Islip Food Bank
– National Grid provides support to local food pantries

• 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.

• Nationwide Sales and Service Inc, a Long Island based manufacturer and distributor of janitorial products, donated $800,000 worth of PPE equipment to Long Island Police Officers

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

• While we have not seen much in the corporate philanthropy department one fantastic exception has been the LI Community Foundation.   They have distributed $450,000 to a number of local organizations helping real people.   Check it out.

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

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

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

IMPORTANT WEBSITES TO TRACK:

Northwell Health Digital Resource Center

The US Small Business Administration

New York State Department of Labor

NYS Department of Health

CDC Website

Occupational Safety and Health

New York City

Nassau County

Suffolk County

Town of Hempstead

Town of North Hempstead

Town of Oyster Bay

Town of Babylon

Town of Brookhaven

Town of East Hampton

Town of Huntington

Town of Islip

Town of Riverhead

Town of Shelter Island

Town of Smithtown

Town of Southampton

Town of Southold

City of Glen Cove

City of Long Beach

MTA Information

School Closings

AARP’s Updates on the Coronavirus

Island Harvest’s Food Pantry Tracker

Suffolk County Alliance of Chamber’s Disaster Relief Information

Global Dashboard of Infection Data

Worldometers Coronavirus totals in the US

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

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

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

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

Vision has connected to over 600 small businesses in nearly 50 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.

Roosevelt

With new construction, downtown enhancement projects, affordable housing units and progress within the school district, fire department and library, Roosevelt is “a different community from what it used to be,” said senior Town of Hempstead Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby just a couple of years ago. “There’s been a great deal of improvement.”

Today’s health crisis, however, threatens all aspects of life in Long Island towns and villages, including the hamlet of Roosevelt.

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Donald Clavin said there has been a tremendous increase in demand at local food banks. As a result, in early May the Town of Hempstead announced it was awarded $2 million in federal stimulus aid to Long Island Cares to feed an increasing number of local hungry families. “Nobody in our town will go hungry because of the hardships they have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Supervisor Clavin said. One of the several food distribution sites was established in Roosevelt.

It’s not just families that have been affected. “Local businesses have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Town of Hempstead Councilman Dennis Dunne affirms. “Town of Hempstead restaurants are more than just brick-and-mortar establishments. They sponsor community organizations, donate to charitable causes and they have selflessly dedicated their own time and resources to help others during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Supervisor Clavin explains.

Though COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, Supervisor Clavin and the town board are beginning to take steps to plan for the future re-opening of the Township’s businesses. This includes trying to cut “red tape” business owners may face in reopening and outlining safety measures that need to be in place.

Assemblywoman Taylor Darling has outlined ways residents can rally around small businesses in their communities while New York is still on PAUSE:
Order take out from small businesses;
Purchase services and products online from small businesses;
Purchase gift cards and gift certificates from small businesses;
Give to LOCAL charities.

Here is a list of some Roosevelt restaurants open for takeout, delivery and/curbside pickup.

Como En Casa
(516) 208-3180

Golden Kitchen Chinese Food
(516) 379-8732

La Fonda Deli
(516) 864-0998

Melissa Pizzería y Deli
(516) 608-1777

Mian Halal Food & Fried Chicken
(516) 546-0759

Mista’s Takeout
(516) 544-2288

Shake & Burger New York Fried Chicken
(516) 534-2100

Tacos Mi Poblanita
(516) 412-0558

Triple Deli
(516) 546-6569

Brentwood High School

“Life is not about giving up or giving in. Life is about giving.” – Anthony Douglas Williams

Students from Brentwood High School once again have opened their hearts by collecting more than 60,000 bottles to raise money for Pronto of Long Island, a Bay Shore-based community outreach center that provides food for those in need. The non-profit’s mission is to “Feed the hungry, clothe the needy, welcome the stranger and provide healing and hope to everyone who walks through our doors.”

Brentwood High School has always been at the forefront of a student-run recycling program. Since the program’s inception almost a decade ago, Brentwood students have collected over 500,000 bottles for their scholarship program. This year, the students’ focus was aiding in the local fight against the effects of COVID-19. They collected over 60,000 bottles, totaling more than $3,000, which will be donated to Pronto of Long Island.

“This is a great effort on the part of the students. They’re helping the environment, and they’re assisting people in need of basic necessities during COVID-19,” explained Town of Islip DEC Commissioner Martin Bellew.

The message from Vivian Hart, Pronto of Long Island’s president, “There has never been a greater need for your support to keep our pantry shelves full so that we may continue to feed our neediest families. Our deepest gratitude to all of those individuals and companies who continue to support Pronto. As challenging as these times are with unemployment surging and so many businesses closed, Long Islanders, and in fact all of America, has demonstrated a tremendous ability and desire to protect our most vulnerable.”

Also on hand at the event was Richard Loeschner, Superintendent, Brentwood Schools; Christopher Sidote and Martin Naro, owner and partner of All Deposit Long Island; Brentwood HS Principal, John Callan; Science Department Chair Gary Respetto; Science teacher, Denis Ortlies and Pronto President, Vivian Hart.

Governor Cuomo Announces Long Island set to Begin Phase One of Reopening Tomorrow

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

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Mid-Hudson Region has met all seven metrics to begin phase one of reopening today, joining the Capital Region, Western New York, Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions. Long Island is still on track to reopen tomorrow May 27th when their contact tracing operation comes online and if deaths continue to decline.

The Governor also announced he will meet with President Trump in Washington D.C. tomorrow to discuss infrastructure projects that need federal approval – including the LaGuardia AirTrain, the Cross-Hudson Tunnels and the Second Avenue Subway expansion – to help supercharge the economy.

The Governor also announced the state will fast-track the construction of the new Empire Station at Penn and the new LaGuardia Airport while rail ridership and air traffic is down. To further jumpstart the economy, the state will work to increase low cost renewable power downstate and production upstate with building of new cross-state transmission cables; expedite a power cable from Canada to New York City and increase renewable energy resources.

The Governor also announced the state is continuing to direct resources and focus targeted efforts on reducing the spread of COVID-19 in lower-income and predominately minority neighborhoods in New York City that are most impacted by the COVID-19 virus and continue to see a disproportionately high number of new COVID cases every day. These efforts will help New York City meet the seven metrics required to begin reopening.

“We’re turning the page on the COVID-19 pandemic and we’re focusing on two tracks going forward – monitoring the reopening and supercharging the reopening,” Governor Cuomo said. “We’re starting to reopen in nearly every region all across the state – we have a dashboard available so every New Yorker can see the numbers every day and our regional control groups are studying the numbers and the data. As the reopening process continues, we have to supercharge the reopening to make sure that the economy doesn’t just bounce back, but that it comes back better and stronger than ever.”

Finally, the Governor confirmed 1,072 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 363,836 confirmed cases in New York State.

You can watch the Governor’s full press conference here.

NYS “Essential” vs “Non-Essential” Business Rules Continue to Hurt Main Street

One of the major issues during the Coronavirus-related economic shutdown has been the “Essential” vs Non-Essential” rules that NYS has put in place.  

As the weeks, and now months, have gone by it has become increasingly clear that the regulations have favored large chain stores and kept local independent small businesses shuttered.  If 100 people or more can be in a Walmart, Target or Costco, it stands to reason that 2-5 people can safely be in a small retail store that sells the same items.  Clearly these rules need a second look for that reason but also because there is a public health imperative to spread out shoppers to more stores as opposed to crowding at the chain retail locations.

Eight Suffolk Legislators sent out a letter to Governor Cuomo just this past week asking these same questions.  Legislator Kevin McCaffrey, one of the signees, made it clear in a recent video that small businesses need to be afforded the same freedoms as large chain stores.

“More businesses should be allowed to safely reopen,” said Legislator McCaffrey.  “If you can go to Walmart, Costco, Target, or your supermarket and shop, why can’t you go to small businesses that have the same items and shop safely?  We have to keep our businesses in business!”

The LI Main Street Alliance has also sent a letter to NYS seeking flexibility to loosen these regulations as soon as possible.  This has become a desperate plea from our downtown shops that are being ravaged by regulations that, again, clearly favor large box stores that contribute very little to the local economy. 

“Everybody is frustrated because it seems the chain stores have a leg up,” said Eric Alexander, founder of the LI Main Street Alliance. “Small businesses, independent retailers are in disfavor when it comes to how the regulations are interpreted.”

At the same time there has been confusion on what constitutes an essential business.  Businesses can apply for waivers to be declared essential, but the decision is made by a number of lawyers in Albany and there are no clear guidelines on what is an essential service and no explanation why one business would be approved over another.  Long Island has received 128 waivers for its businesses, and those range from construction and plumbing to video game stores and private fitness businesses.

“It started out really challenging,” said Ken Pokalsky of the Business Council of New York State. “It was really unclear what waivers were done and it wasn’t known what waivers were granted, so the same waivers were sought over and over again … we thought greater transparency on the initial wavier procedure would have been helpful.”

But what is at the heart of the issue is why a large chain store, such as Wal-Mart, is approved as an essential business while a small, locally owned store that sells similar items, is not.  Large chains were left open during the initial shutdown while mom-and-pops were forced to go through the process of having to ask to sell the same wares to local residents.  This has created an imbalance that could result in prolonged economic pain in Long Island downtowns while handing big box stores an even bigger advantage than they now enjoy.

“If Walmart can sell flowers on Mother’s Day, why can’t a florist?” asked Greg Biryla, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

You can read more at Newsday.

New York UNpause

The following op-ed is from Nassau Legislator Laura M. Schaefer

The Coronavirus is something that will be with us for the foreseeable future.  The shutdown that we have been struggling with has been painful, inconvenient and sad.  We have seen loved ones and pillars of all our communities suddenly die from a virus no one knew about a year ago.  School classes are now being held via the internet and graduations have been cancelled.  Businesses that the state deemed “non-essential” were suddenly ordered closed overnight.  Thirty-five million Americans have requested unemployment and 2 million of them are living in New York State.  Our local economy has been devastated in an unprecedented way.

The silver lining is that this shut down did lower the curve as intended.  Whereas a few weeks ago the daily updates I received from the Nassau County Department of Health included the danger of hospitals being overwhelmed with a shortage of ventilators, the County’s morgue being filled beyond capacity and the County running out of body bags, today those dangers have been alleviated.  There was a daily effort to ensure that the brave men and woman who were on the front lines battling the effects of this virus including nurses, doctors, police officers, ambulance drivers and all first responders had the necessary PPE to protect themselves and their families.  And this effort extended to getting PPE’s to those who were working in the essential businesses that stayed open like supermarkets and funeral homes.

The question now, however, is when will we seek to reopen other businesses?  I agree that opening too early may pose a danger to our health but opening too late poses a danger as well and I am afraid that that is a danger we are starting to experience now.  I have already heard from business owners who will be closing their doors forever.  I shudder as I drive by so many who have been unable to open in any limited capacity since March.  I understand the need to limit the number of people exposed to this horrible virus but when do we get to be personally responsible again? 

People have learned the importance of social distancing, hand washing and of wearing masks to limit the spread of COVID-19.  They have been educated on mitigating the risks as much as possible and for the most part, people have been respectful of one another.  Signage has been placed in essential businesses on how the employees and customers can protect themselves and others while shopping.  So why are we not allowing other businesses to do that as well?  If someone can make an appointment to buy a car, why can’t they make an appointment to get their hair cut using the same precautions?  It seems to me that barbershops and hair salons are a great example of businesses that can open safely under specific and stringent guidelines and restrictions:  wear a mask, wear gloves and limit the number of customers allowed inside.  That’s it!  If those guidelines aren’t followed the business owner runs the risk of being shut down.  Restaurants should similarly be able to reopen with limited capacity, IF that’s even profitable for them and for many it won’t be.  But without the option of reopening prior to reaching a seemingly random benchmark, these business owners face daily monetary losses in the thousands of dollars.  Every “shut-down” day that passes also brings them one day closer to closing their doors forever.    

Many municipalities are developing a “circuit breaker” approach during reopening wherein a shutdown would be reinstituted and reopening immediately reevaluated if there is a sudden surge in COVID cases.  Yet another protocol that could easily be put in place.  And maybe it will be… but WHEN?   

These small business owners are our neighbors and are often highly active in their communities.  They are the ones who sponsor our little leagues and community events and many of these business owners have told me they may never reopen if we do not provide them with a way to reopen in a smart, effective and safe manner now; not a month from now.  They know and understand that if they do not take safety precautions, there are customers who will not enter their stores or utilize their services which only results in more lost revenue.  Some people will not go out to any store until they feel completely safe.  Which is their prerogative as well.  It’s a personal choice and I believe we are all ready to take that responsibility and make that choice.    
I don’t disagree that if we start to see a resurgence, we will have to make adjustments.  But let us have the opportunity to get back to living some semblance of the lives we used to live.  Let’s get back to feeling in control and safe again because we will be vigilant with safety and expect, and even demand that of others.  Wear the mask, wear the gloves, cover your whole body from head to toe if that makes you feel safest.  When the vaccine is finally available, we will have another game-changer.  But let people make up their own minds so we can get back to business before our economy reaches the point of no return. 

Calendar of Events


The following is a list of upcoming and ongoing calendar events. Check back on each publication for updates:

• Virtual Walks: The Health Education Council will be holding Virtual Walks every Monday at 12:30 pm EST and Wednesday at 3 pm EST, with a Spanish language virtual walk each Friday at 3 pm EST.

If you’re interested in taking a walk with friends while still practicing social distancing you can head to the the website here to sign up for a virtual walk. A Spanish speaking version is available here. You will then receive a zoom link and all you’ll need is a smart phone and a good pair of shoes and you’ll be in business!

• LIBN invites you to join their team every Friday at 2PM on libnow, LIBN’s live end-of-week recap, where they take the pulse of the Long Island business community and chat with experts on the state of their industry.

Participate in an interactive Q&A where YOU tell them what your business needs to know to stay ahead of the curve, as Long Island inches toward going back-to-business.

You can register for the event here.

 H2M Presents: The State and Future of Senior Housing Real Estate.

Even before the pandemic hit, assisted living and senior housing facilities were evolving to adapt to more digitally engaged residents. Now, the coronavirus has taken an extraordinary human toll on the senior housing industry. With their residents at risk, owners and operators need to put specific protocols and operations in place and have the right infrastructure to make seamless changes.

The event will take place on May 27, 2020 11:30 AM 

Join Bisnow and H2M architects + engineers, Hinman Straub and Engel Burman as we discuss the core challenges owners and operators in the senior housing space are battling in order to keep employees and residents safe, future of design and technology trends and what changes will outlast the pandemic for the industry.

You can register for the event here.

 Risky Business: Support and Resources for Small Businesses in Wake of COVID-19

Join the New York Urban League as we host our next Virtual Town Hall. This session will provide an open forum for business owners to hear strategies to survive this time and thrive into the future, and hear about resources to support their businesses. We will also provide information for individuals to learn how they can support small business owners and become true advocates for entrepreneurship.

The event will take place on May 28, 2020 06:00 PM.

You can register for the event here.

 The INN organization will hold its first ever curbside food drive this coming Saturday, May 30th from 11 am to 2 pm at the Mary Brennan INN soup kitchen, 100 Madison Avenue in Hempstead.  This will be a safe, no-contact drive where donors will place donations on a table with a masked volunteer standing at a safe distance.  The volunteer will then retrieve the donation after the donor leaves.

If you’re interested in donating you can view a full list of items they are accepting here.  For any questions, please call 516-732-6009.

 Wednesday, June 10, 2020 Long Island Advancement of Small Business presents  ZOOM Video Conference “Office 365 Unleashed for Small & Medium-sized Businesses” 8:00AM to 10:00AM RSVP at www.liasb.com or call 516-473-7202.  Registration is Free, but you must register for this event.

CDC Guidelines on Coronavirus Prevention

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

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

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

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

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Smart Talk

Contributors:
Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Elissa Kyle, Placemaking Director; Linda Henninger, Outreach Coordinator

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

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

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

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