COVID-19 Update (3/29/20): Recent State Announcements, $2T Stimulus Goes Ahead — Serious Financial Relief for Workers, Businesses — Local Services Available to Individuals and Families
New York State continues to be the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States as total U.S. cases rise to the highest in the world. Despite this, our healthcare professionals, workers, and other essential workers continue their critical work, as does work on the state’s economy and budget for the upcoming year as we respond to the spread of COVID-19. As this crisis continues to unfold, I hope you’ll find the updates and resources below helpful and encourage you to check-in with neighbors, friends, and family members, and to get outside as much as possible as we continue to endure as one Capital Region community.
Go-To Resource Guide:
• New York will move its scheduled April 28 Presidential primary election to June 23 and will extend the state tax filing deadline until July 15, in line with the extended federal deadline.
• Public schools will remain closed until April 15th, extended beyond the original date of April 1st, which may be reassessed in the future. Meals, services, and other ongoing programs will continue until that time.
• All non-essential construction must cease operation except for emergency construction (e.g. a project necessary to protect the health and safety of the occupants, or to continue a project if it would be unsafe to allow to remain undone until it is safe to shut the site). More information on this Executive Order can be found here, including an updated list of essential businesses.
• Healthcare providers and healthcare facilities who need equipment should request supplies from their local county emergency response unit or department. Albany County’s link: https://www.albanycounty.com/government/county-sheriff/emergency-management-office
Legislative News and Events:
• Congress Set to Pass $2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Package: Despite the needed $2 Trillion stimulus package from Congress for COVID-19, the unemployed, small businesses, and more — it does not solve the massive New York State deficit nor the budget woes, which we’ll be grappling with in the next few days (April 1st deadline) — and well beyond.
• Capital Region Company Begins Producing Ventilators: So proud to see a Capital Region company pivot to help make needed ventilators for healthcare facilities throughout New York State and the country.
• St. Peter’s in Need of Protective Equipment and Gear: St. Peter’s hospital is in need of supplies such as masks, gloves, etc. If you have protective gear you’d like to donate, Peter Semenza with St. Peter’s Hospital can be reached at 518–482–4433.
• New NYS Health Insurance Enrollment Period Announced: The New York State health insurance marketplace has announced a first-ever second open enrollment period for families and individuals seeking to sign up for health-related benefits amid the COVID-19 outbreak, with the enrollment period running from March 20 to April 15. More information can be found at the hyperlink in this section.
Job + Employment Opportunities:
• JOBS: NYS Dept. of Labor Openings: The New York State Department of Labor is hiring an immediate 40 employees at their Albany location, for more details please visit: https://labor.ny.gov/careerservices/CareerServicesIndex.shtm
• JOBS: NYS Dept. of Health Openings: The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is looking for new employees (Office Assistant I Temp./multiple openings) to complete data entry on a flexible schedule to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic at the Wadsworth Center here in the Capital Region and other locations. Please share with anyone you know who might be interested and get the word out.
• JOBS: Price Chopper Hiring 2,000+ Workers. Price Chopper will expedite and shorten the hiring process to bring on over 2,000 new employees throughout our region. To apply, visit pricechopper.com/apply.
• JOBS: Amazon Hiring 100,000+ Nationwide for Distribution. Amazon plans to hire over 100,000 nationwide to help with distribution of packages for an expected rise in online ordering. To apply visit www.amazon.jobs.
• JOBS: Target Hiring. Target plans to hire hundreds of new employees in most of its stores. To apply, please visit www.jobs.target.com/.
• JOBS: Hannaford Hiring. Hannaford plans to hire thousands of workers in the Northeast. To apply, please visit www.hannaford.com/careers/.
• JOBS: Walmart Plans to Hire 150,000+ Workers: Walmart plans to hire an additional 150,000 workers nationwide. To apply, visit https://storejobs.wal-mart.com/HiringCenter/.
• JOBS: ALDI: https://careers.aldi.us/
• JOBS: Dollar General: https://careers.dollargeneral.com/
• JOBS: Domino’s: https://jobs.dominos.com/dominos-careers/
• JOBS: Stewart’s Shops: https://www.stewartsshops.com/careers/
CDTA Schedule and Route Update
• Beginning last Monday, March 23, CDTA is running on a modified schedule. STAR (paratransit), a critical transportation option for people getting to medical and other urgent appointments, will continue to operate on a full weekday schedule: https://cdta.org/news/service-changes-begin-march-23/
Social isolation and stress as a result of the disruption caused by #COVID19 can exacerbate existing mental health problems and affects everyone differently. Call the NYS mental health hotline at 1–844–863–9314 for free emotional support, consultation, and referral.
Domestic Violence Resources:
• The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence hotline is open 24/7 at 1–800–942–6906.
Hate and Bias-Related Crime Hotline
• If you believe that you were the victim of a hate crime or bias-related incident as a result of the novel coronavirus or for any other reason, please call the New York State Hate Crimes Task Force at 1–888–392–3644 or contact the New York State Attorney General at the e-mail below. #HateHasNoPlaceHere
Legal Assistance for Low-Income Residents
• Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York: The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York is closing offices beginning this week but will continue to offer its full range of legal services — new/existing clients are asked to call Albany, Amsterdam, + Saratoga Springs office numbers for assistance. https://lasnny.org/coronavirus-information/?utm_source=Letter+to+Funders&utm_campaign=COVID-19+letter+2&utm_medium=email
• WHMT Learn-At-Home Program Expanding: For parents and childcare providers, WMHT Public Media is expanding their learn-at-home educational program to help with structuring kids’ days while schools are closed. For more curricula-related material and resources, please visit your respective school district’s website. View the full WMHT program here: https://wmht.org/homeclassroom/
Resources for Small Businesses + Employers
• NEW — Sales Tax Due Date Information: Information on sales tax due dates, late fees, interest, etc. for small businesses (late fees + interest waived): https://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/notices/n20-1.pdf
• Apply for a Federal Small Business DIsaster Loan: New York State has been declared a disaster zone and small business owners are encouraged to submit their application for disaster loans sooner rather than later. You can obtain more information here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/apply-for-disaster-loan/index.html
• Essential Businesses: 100% of non-essential workforces must stay at home beginning Monday, March 23. What is classified as an essential service in NYS? Note: If you believe that your business is an essential service but is not included in that list, you can apply with New York Empire State Development to have it listed as an essential service here.
• #SupportsmAlbany — Small Biz Survey: As COVID-19 outbreak related challenges progress in across the nation and in New York State, SupportsmAlbany wants to further address the impacts to businesses, and particularly small businesses, in the City of Albany. The actions being taken by the State of New York, the City of Albany, and public health authorities are necessary in mitigating the spread of the virus. Support smAlbany was formed to serve small businesses in whatever way we can as our community is facing unprecedented challenges. Support smAlbany is a coalition of regional business support partners that are coordinating efforts to offer assistance and help employers stay informed and prepared in this rapidly-evolving situation. Action to alleviate the economic impact on individuals and businesses is expected from federal and state governments in the coming weeks.
Labor and Benefit Information
• The deadline to file your federal and state tax returns has been moved from April 15th to July 15th. The deadline for Americans to have REAL ID-compliant identification has also been extended from October 1, 2020, to October 1, 2021.
• NYS Department of Labor: The NYSDOL has waived the 7-day unemployment insurance (UI) waiting period to apply, and has extended service hours and guidelines for when you should call or go online to apply — more information is available here. Please note they are experiencing heavier than usual customer traffic.
• Paid Sick Leave for Workers in Mandatory/Precautionary Quarantine: The state legislature authorized an emergency 2-week paid sick leave program for all workers impacted by precautionary or mandatory COVID-19 quarantine, with more information on how to apply and who qualifies at this link.
• New York State — How You Can Help: New York State is looking for both mental health and public health professionals to volunteer at medical facilities throughout the state or remotely to help manage the COVID-19 outbreak. Interested individuals can find more information here and apply at this link.
• Albany Medical Reserve Corps: The Albany County Department of Health, in conjunction with community partners, is preparing to open multiple Point of Dispensing (POD) sites throughout the County. These POD sites will serve to distribute medications, supplies, or (future) vaccinations to large segments of the County’s population. Albany Co. is looking for primarily licensed medical professionals with more information at this link. Medical Reserve Corp members, both clinical and non-clinical will be key in staffing the POD sites. Non-clinical volunteers will perform administrative support roles such as registration, data entry, language translation, crowd control, and assisting with special needs residents. Clinical volunteers would be integrated with Department of Health staff to conduct medically appropriate tasks.
• St. Vincent’s Food Pantry: St. Vincent’s Community Food Pantry (984 Madison Ave, Albany) is looking for volunteers to help keep its operations going and to keep feeding the community during this crisis. Those interested should email St. Vincent’s at: email@example.com.
Flattening the Curve:
Help the Capital Region and NYS #FlattenTheCurve by staying at home unless you are traveling for essential supplies, and practice social distancing even while exercising or visiting parks. Flattening COVID-19’s apex will ensure that our healthcare system isn’t overwhelmed. Stay home, stop the spread, and save lives.
We thank the members of the Capital Region’s and NY’s essential workforce today for continuing their critical work during this crisis:
Non-Profit/Capital Region Community COVID-19 Fund (Donate)
DONATIONS URGENTLY NEEDED — Nonprofit + COVID19 Capital Region Response Fund: Co-led by the United Way of the Greater Capital Region and the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, The Capital Region Community COVID-19 Response Fund has been established to provide flexible resources to 501c3 organizations working with local communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of this outbreak. One-time operating grants will help fund frontline human services organizations that have deep roots in the community and strong experience working with vulnerable populations. The first phase of rapid-response grants will help meet basic needs and help increase resiliency in affected communities. The Fund expects to move an initial round of grants within the next few weeks. Funding will be provided to organizations located and operating in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady Counties. Please consider donating to the fund today to help our community respond to needs during this time of crisis.
For resources specific to job openings, educational resources, recreation, mental health, and volunteering opportunities, please click on the guide below:
Remember to support our local restaurants and food establishments by ordering take-out, who are being hit especially hard financially as a result of #COVID19:
Paid Sick Leave
Small Business Disaster Loans
School District Info.
Social Security Admin.
Unemployment + Labor
Local Government Info.
⚖️ Court Services
Supporting Small Business
Public Library Resources
What to do if you feel sick
REMEMBER: Please stay at home, avoid public gatherings, and practice social distancing of at least a 6-foot radius to help #FlattenTheCurve. Should you have any questions during this time please do not hesitate to utilize my office as a resource at (518) 455–4178 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please continue to keep yourself apprised of any updates as New York State continues to act on the facts, not fear.