My team and I are closely monitoring developments relating to COVID-19 as they unfold and we wanted to provide a more substantive update than you may have otherwise been receiving.
At this point we are hoping to contain the virus in order to keep our healthcare system from being overwhelmed as we have seen in Italy and other countries. If we are successful some might question why we took such extreme measures, but that is far better than the alternative.
There are currently 95 cases in New York City with 25 in Manhattan, 24 in Brooklyn, 17 in Queens, 10 in the Bronx, and 5 on Staten Island.
Earlier this week Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the purpose of expediting the bureaucracy of government including procurement of necessary medical supplies.
As of today, the Governor has banned large gatherings of 500 people or more. Today, Mayor de Blasio joined the Governor in declaring a state of emergency along with banning gatherings of 500 or more. For gatherings of less than 500 hundred people the city is mandating occupancy reduced by 50% to provide social distancing. The Mayor has also set a goal of having 10% of the city employees working from home with an additional 20% working staggered hours.
The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control are urging us all to help stop the spread of COVID-19. To reduce the number of people at risk of infection, they recommend individuals practice “social distancing” and that employers create plans to accommodate employees working remotely.
As the Daily News reported yesterday, the City Council is encouraging staffers to work from home whenever possible in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. As I said in the paper, I think this is a good thing and that it is important to lead by example in hopes that the private sector will do the same.
Our office will remain available to assist constituents by phone and online while our doors are closed to keep all of us healthy.
As always you can reach us phone at 212-860-1950 or by email at BKallos@BenKallos.com. If you call during business hours we will pick up, if you leave a voicemail we will get it instantaneously and reach out the same day if not immediately. Outside of those hours, we will contact you the next business day. In case of an emergency, please call 911.
City public schools will remain open though non-essential or non-instructional activities are being cancelled or moved online such as athletic leagues, school assemblies, and PTA meetings. You can learn more at Schools.NYC.gov. At one school building in the Bronx and in any school where a student or family tests positive under State policy the school will close for 24 hours for cleaning and disinfection followed by inspection by the Department of Health.
My team and I remain fully committed to serving you, and I believe we all have a responsibility to prioritize our mutual well-being during this time. If you are making similar decisions for your workplace or institution, I urge you to encourage telecommuting to reduce in-person interactions for your employees and members of the public you interact with.
For the latest information and guidance, visit the nyc.gov/coronavirus
You can also text COVID to 692-692 for updates from the City.
By being responsible, taking preventative measures and staying calm, together as a community we will get through this.