In response to a “never-before-seen ridership low” during the coronavirus outbreak, three subway lines will not run during the week and some express trains will run local, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Tuesday. The reduced schedule is part of the agency’s “NY Essential Service Plan” to provide service to first responders and essential workers as it deals with the devastating financial consequences of a nearly 90 percent drop in ridership across subway and buses, the Long Island Railroad, and Metro-North.
With four sites already identified as temporary hospitals–and construction underway on the largest, the Javits Center–the city is now looking for additional spaces that can be used to support NYC Emergency Management. The call is for community spaces with a large interior room such as community centers, places of worship, or campus facilities that can be utilized for outreach, training, or gathering during an emergency or as a disaster recovery center. Though it’s not explicitly stated, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson noted on Twitter that some of these spaces could be “suitable for converting to temporary hospital rooms.”
The Wing’s Bryant Park location; Photo credit: Tory Williams for The Wing
Co-working women’s club The Wing has offered to donate its empty spaces for coronavirus relief efforts in New York. Audrey Gelman, the company’s co-founder, said on Monday that the Wing had been in contact with the administrations of both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio regarding its 70,000-square-feet of available space in New York City.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo tours construction of temporary FEMA hospital at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on March 20, 2020. Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo/Flickr.
“Time matters, minutes count, and this is literally a matter of life and death,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference Sunday, during which he requested and subsequently received funding from the federal government to move ahead with the Army Corps of Engineers on erecting temporary hospitals at the Javits Center, Westchester County Center, SUNY Stony Brook, and SUNY Old Westbury. As of Monday morning, the number of positive COVID-19 cases in New York State was nearly 21,000, with more than 12,000 in New York City. Supplies and materials have already arrived at the Javits Center, and it’s expected to be complete within a week to 10 days.
Evictions have been halted. Mortgage payments have been suspended. What about rents? New York renters, elected officials, and tenant advocacy groups are calling for a temporary rent freeze to provide financial relief to both workers and businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represents parts of Queens, will introduce a measure on Monday that would suspend rent payments for 90 days for tenants and small businesses, as the Daily News first reported.
Photo of Central Park North on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Photo © Dana Schulz for 6sqft
Within 24 hours from Sunday morning, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson must come up with a plan to address continued density issues in the city, especially in parks. “It has to be done quickly, and it’s going to have to be dramatic action,” said the Governor in a press conference, following a personal visit to the city on Saturday during which he observed a major lack of social distancing in places like Central Park and the Grand Army Plaza Farmer’s Market.
Earlier today, Governor Cuomo announced “New York State on Pause,” a new executive order aimed at flattening the curve of the coronavirus spread across the state. A big part of this order is a 100 percent closure of non-essential businesses statewide, (effective 8pm Sunday), meaning that all non-essential employees must either work from home or not work. Outside of the obvious answers like healthcare and grocery stores, many have been wondering what exactly the essential services are. Ahead, we’ve compiled the full list from the state to make this difficult time a bit easier.
In a press conference this morning in which Governor Cuomo issued the tightest shut-down measures yet, he announced that the State of New York would be expanding its 90-day moratorium on evictions to commercial tenants. After New York City took the step last week to stop eviction proceedings for 90 days, the State of New York on Monday halted residential eviction proceedings indefinitely. With this now expanded to commercial tenants for 90 days, there is a bit more hope for the city’s struggling small businesses and restaurants.
U.S. Navy photo by Bill Mesta/Released
In a press conference on Wednesday, Governor Cuomo announced that he’d reached an agreement with the federal government for the USNS Comfort hospital ship to be dispatched to New York Harbor to help with the growing need for hospital beds, in particular ICU, as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow in New York City and New York at large.
Facing a 60 percent decline in subway ridership and a 90 percent decline on commuter rails, the already-cash-strapped MTA is seeking more than $4 billion in federal aid, according to a letter the agency sent yesterday to the New York Congressional Delegation. “Assuming ridership trends this week continue for six months,” they wrote, the anticipated revenue losses to the MTA are $3.7 billion, along with $300 million in annualized COVID-19 expenses.