For the first time in several long days, there was no press briefing at City Hall with Mayor Bill de Blasio. He did appear on Hot 97.1 FM, NY1, WCBS Radio, and CNN.
Our dispatch comes from the transcripts of those interviews, the Twitter accounts of other city officials, tips, tricks, and texts.
- The Mayor said on WCBS radio that he had been speaking with Governor Andrew Cuomo and that any call to shelter-in-place for New York City residents would be a decision made with the state.
- The Mayor is using San Francisco as a model for what New York City should do.
- Here is what San Francisco’s policy looks like, according to the San Francisco Examiner: “The City will legally prohibit residents from leaving their homes except to meet basic needs including visiting the doctor, or buying groceries or medicine, until at least April 7. [Residents are] allowed to take a walk, exercise or take a pet out to use the bathroom, as long as people remain at least six-feet away from others who are not a member of their own household.”
- You can also read a rundown of San Fransisco’s Shelter-in-Place policy at Curbed.
On Work & Financial Relief:
Good news for paid sick leave and those in mandatory quarantine, bad news, as usual, for freelancers.
- On the federal level, the Senate is working on an emergency Coronavirus relief package that would include paid sick leave and unemployment insurance. The Treasury Department is suppesting sums of $2,000 be given out as individual income relief, double the number that was being thrown around yesterday. Read more about it at POLITICO and The Washington Post
- NY State Senate passed legislation that would give paid sick leave and benefits to people who were in mandatory or precautionary quarantine, but the bill did not include gig workers. “We cannot include gig workers in the emergency paid sick leave coverage because they are not considered workers under the law,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos, who sponsored the bill. Read more at City & State
- The Governor also announced he will issue an executive order directing non-essential businesses to implement work-from-home policies effective Friday, March 20. Businesses that rely on in-office personnel must decrease their in-office workforce by 50%
- The Governor exempted media organizations from the 50% work reduction order and implied that the media is “essential.” Read his tweet here.
- The New York Stock Exchange will “move temporarily,” to fully electronic trading.
- While the city waits for relief, some are taking matters into their own hands: Alessandra de Benedetti, a friend of Racket Media (the company that produces FAQ.NYC) launched Leveler, a ‘peer-to-peer wealth distribution resource’, where salaried workers can directly distribute funds in $5-10 dollar increments directly to those who need it in an unbiased way. (Our computer man, Adam Levy, is helping them with their next launch.)
- A cluster of confirmed COVID-19 cases was reported on Wednesday evening among the Hasidic community in Borough Park. A directive by Satmar Rebbe went out to close all religious buildings. The night before, videos and photos circulated of large gatherings in the community. The New York Post learned that their “Satmar Rebbe issued an edict to close all religious buildings.”
- The Mayor said that in the last 24 hours, a thusand doctors and nurses have volunteered to join the Big Apple Medical Reserve. Read More at The NY POST
- Governor Cuomo Announces Deployment of 1,000-Bed Hospital Ship ‘USNS Comfort’ to New York Harbor.
- “The Department of Health wants New York to suspend hospital visits”- Newsday
- Pennsylvania joined forces with New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut in our “regional coalition,” which is a pact that all the states will enact similar restrictions so that residents don’t just hop around from state to state for shopping, libation, or entertainment.
- The regional coalition “will temporarily close all indoor portions of retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys effective [Thursday] 8PM.”
- The MTA is seeking a bailout of 4 Billion dollars from the federal government.
- East River Ferries furloughed their “agents,” yesterday, leaving FAQ.NYC to wonder if service is going to shut down all together. Sources say they are removing concessions from the boats, and that they will be forced to pay back the money spent on their health benefits during the furlough.
- Canada and America are closing the border except for necessary travel to stop the spread of COVID-19.
On Criminal Justice:
- Rikers reported the first positive case of COVID-19 among the city’s inmate population, reported The Daily News.
- Many city officials are calling to release sick or elderly inmates, inmates who are incarcerated for low-level crimes, or inmates held on “technical parole violations.” Some of the city lawmakers who are calling for the releases are NYC Councilman Rory Lancman, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Councilman Donovan Richards, Public Advocate Jumaane WIlliams, NYC Council Member Brad Lander, and others.
- A Corrections officer at Sing Sing, the prison in Westchester County, is positive for COVID-19. Read more at PIX 11
- The Mayor said today on WCBS that he wanted to release inmates that have been deemed releasable within 48 hours. He had the same time estimate yesterday however, leaving the timeline for the releases unclear.
- Harvey Weinstein has been moved to a maximum security prison. Read more from Victoria Bekiempis for Vulture.
Numbers As of Wednesday, March 18th 6pm EST:
- Confirmed Cases:1,871
- Deaths: 11
- Law360 dropped their paywall for all COVID-19 Coverage, and now we know this: Pras Michel of 90s Fugees fame wore a hazmat suit to court on Monday.
- “Those who drive yellow cabs are not fortunate enough to have any sort of sick leave.” Zainab Iqbal writes about her father for BKLYNER
Photojournalist Daniel Mcknight took a few shots around Times Square today.
“A smattering of costume characters desperately sought their remaining hustles alongside the ever present CD salesmen. Times Square. Shops were lit but closed. Characters were defeated, and the salesmen just shot the shit. No one chased, hustled, pan handled or tried to sell me something. A few tourists, stranded, wandered around gazing at the retail wasteland. There is nothing to compare this to. Right now Times Square looks to me like the girl who got dressed for prom and her date showed up with someone else. All glamour and no glitz.”