We are all concerned about the sphere of coronavirus, specifically as the number of cases here at home and across the country grows. During this time, we all need to remember to be prepared, not scared. By working together and heeding the advice of public health experts to “flatten the curve,” by practicing social distancing, we can come out of this stronger than before.
This page will serve as a one-stop resource to keep our community informed, prepared, and safe. It will be continuously updated so, please check back often and share the link with family, friends, and neighbors. Together we will get through this.
My staff and I are working remotely and, with the exception of in-person meetings and flag requests, we are taking the necessary steps to continue providing the same services we have always provided to the residents of NY-03. If you need assistance with a federal agency, please phone our office at (631) 923-4100 or (202) 225-3335. You can also send an email through this website or to email@example.com. Emails to this address will immediately be forwarded to the appropriate caseworker or staffer.
If you have any questions on the coronavirus in general, please call the following hotlines:
- Queens - 311
- Nassau County - (516) 227-9639
- Suffolk County - (631) 854-0000
STAY HOME. STOP THE SPREAD. SAVE LIVES
*On April 20, I joined my colleagues in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in releasing a Reopening and Recovery “Back to Work” Checklist, a multi-prong, data-driven proposal focused on reopening America safely and reigniting the economy. The 50-member Caucus found consensus on a bipartisan set of recommendations focused on public health, economic rescue, and stimulus plans for our country’s immediate future. The plan will serve as guiding principles that the Problem Solvers Caucus hope to see incorporated and addressed in the country’s plans to address the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
*On April 21, the White House announced that I had been appointed to the Opening Up America Again Congressional Group. The bipartisan task force, which includes 97 members of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, is just one of the task forces created by the White House to assess when the country should begin lifting restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
*On May 1, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York on PAUSE, the state's coronavirus shutdown of nonessential businesses will continue through May 15 and that all schools and colleges will remain closed through the 2019/2020 academic year.
*On Wednesday, the IRS launched a “Get My Payment” tool to help people to track the status of their stimulus payment and enter direct deposit information. If you need assistance on this or any other coronavirus-related matter, please reach out to my office at firstname.lastname@example.org
*On Wednesday, April 15, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all New Yorkers must wear face coverings in public to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. The order to wear mouth and nose coverings whenever people are "in a situation where they are not maintaining social distancing” goes into effect on Friday. Initially, its enforcement will not involve fines, though they could be imposed later if compliance becomes a problem.
*On Thursday, April 9, along with Congressman Peter King (R–NY-02), and Congressman Eliot Engel (D–NY-16) and every Member of the New York Delegation, I sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma asking for New York’s hospitals to be prioritized for funding that was appropriated by Congress in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The letter was signed by every Democrat and Republican in the N.Y. Congressional Delegation.
*On Wednesday, April 8, I hosted a TeleTown Hall for small businesses that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Joining me to answer questions were Robert Piechota, Small Business Administration Branch Manager, Long Island; Beth Goldberg, Small Business Administration Director, NYC; and Chris Giamo, Head of Commercial Banking, TD Bank. For more information, please refer to our Small Business and Non-Profit Assistance webinar guide or reach out to our office at email@example.com
*As of April 27, there are 337,055 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state of New York. Of that number, there are 185,357 in NYC, 38,337 in Nassau, and 36,911 in Suffolk.
*New York is testing more people than any other state and this is a good thing.This is the one number that we need to see continually increase, and increase substantially. More tests equal more positives which will, along with social distancing, result in a flattening of the curve.
*New Yorkers who have recovered from COVID-19 are encouraged to donate blood. Here’s information on how to donate.
*New Yorkers without Health Insurance can still apply through New York State of Health within 60 days of losing coverage.
*On Friday, March 26, the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act), a historic $2 trillion-dollar package that will support the healthcare workers who are saving lives, as well as individuals, workers and small businesses during coronavirus pandemic. Please refer to this comprehensive guide and toolkit to the CARES Act to help you understand and navigate the benefits available to you. If you need any further assistance, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Alarmed by the increase in domestic violence incidents, the State wants people to know that they are not trapped due to coronavirus. Call 1-800-942-6906 if you need help and the State will help you find safe shelter.
*Governor Cuomo announced last week the formation of a mental health hotline to help those with pandemic anxiety and stress. The hotline will be staffed by more than 6,000 volunteer mental healthcare professionals. New Yorkers can call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to schedule a time to talk with a mental health professional at no charge.
*This week, the Governor issued an emergency order mandating hospitals in NYS to increase capacity by 50%, with an ultimate goal of a 100% increase. Of particular concern is to increase the capacity of ICU beds. Additionally, the Governor is looking to enlist the Army Corps of Engineers to begin setting up temporary hospitals at SUNY Old Westbury, Stony Brook University, and the Javits Center in Manhattan.
*The Governor announced last week that nearly 340,000 N-95 masks are being deployed out of the Jacob Javits Convention Center in NYC. Of that number, 169,880 are headed to NYC and 33,976 to Long Island. A large number of surgical masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves are also on their way. This disbursement is on top of the 1 million N-95 masks that the State purchased and sent to New York City and the approximately 500,000 N-95 masks that the State purchased and sent to Long Island last week. The supplies are being distributed in consultation with the Greater New York Hospital Association and the Healthcare Association of New York State, both of which are helping identify hospitals with the greatest need.
*Federally, last week my colleagues and I on the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Rettig urging the Treasury to streamline the process for Social Security beneficiaries, who typically do not file a tax return, to automatically receive the $1,200 payment provided under the CARES Act.
In response to the letter, the Treasury announced late Wednesday night that they had reversed their earlier decision and these beneficiaries will now receive their payments automatically. This represents a big win for seniors and lower- and middle-income Americans who would have had to file unnecessarily, while the IRS already has the required information.
*On March 23, I announced that I am introducing a bipartisan bill to delay the Oct. 1 deadline for travelers to obtain REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses in order to board domestic and international flights. I am asking the Department of Homeland Security to extend the deadline to Sept. 30, 2021, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just a few hours after I introduced the legislation, the President announced that the program would be delayed
*On March 22, I sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi urging that the $1.4 trillion "phase three" economic stimulus package must include a provision to repeal the SALT cap. High earners are fleeing the hardest-hit states right when their tax revenues are needed to support State and Local governments. The cap is unfair to moderate-income Americans and disproportionately harmful to taxpayers in states like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and California that have been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
New York State on PAUSE
Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order, announcing that all workers in non-essential businesses across New York state are required to stay home in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. This order is in effect through at least May 15, 2020. The Governor has indicated that these protective provisions will be enforced, beginning on Sunday night. Additionally, the new policy bans:
- All non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size and for any reason.
- All barbershops, hair and nail salons, tattoo or piercing parlors and other personal care businesses in the state must close.
- All movie theaters, gyms, and casinos remain closed.
- All restaurants and bars are limited to delivery and takeout service only. If that changes, it will be updated here.
Essential businesses that can remain open include grocers and restaurants, health care providers, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, banks, hardware stores, laundromats and cleaners, child-care providers, auto repair, utilities, warehouses and distributors, plumbers and other skilled contractors, animal-care providers, transportation providers, construction companies and many kinds of manufacturers.
Specifics of the 10-point New York State on PAUSE plan are as follows:
- All non-essential businesses statewide will be closed;
- Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed at this time;
- Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services and social distancing should be practiced;
- When in public individuals must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others;
- Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet;
- Individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people;
- Individuals should limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary and should limit potential exposure by spacing out at least six feet from other riders;
- Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care and only after a telehealth visit to determine if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health;
- Young people should also practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations; and
- Use precautionary sanitizer practices such as using isopropyl alcohol wipes
Additionally, the Governor has closed all State Department of Motor Vehicle Offices. Online transactions, including renewals, are still available. The DMV has said that the expiration dates for driver's licenses, non-driver IDs, and vehicle registrations will be extended.
New York State has set up two drive-through coronavirus testing sites:
- Jones Beach - West End, 350 Bay Parkway, Field 2.
- Stony Brook University - South Parking Lot
Testing is free and by appointment only and must be scheduled by calling the New York State Department of Health hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
All schools in New York State will remain closed through the 2019/2020 school year.
What is the Coronavirus?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious respiratory disease. It is transmitted from person to person and was officially declared a global pandemic by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom on Mach 11, 2020.
As of May 1, coronavirus has infected 3,321,402 people across the globe, including 1,091,038 in the US. (per Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center)
On Friday, March 26, the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act), a historic $2 trillion-dollar package that will support the healthcare workers who are saving lives, as well as individuals, workers and small businesses during coronavirus pandemic. Highlights from the stimulus bill include:
- A $150 Billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund: Creates a $150 billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide states and localities additional resources to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
- $260 Billion in Dramatically Expanded Unemployment Benefits: Includes numerous provisions to improve unemployment benefits including providing an additional $600 per week for the next four months, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers.
- Immediate Direct Cash Payments to Lower and Middle-Income Americans: Provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household. These payments will provide individuals with the cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy currently shut down.
- More Than $375 Billion in Small Business Relief: Provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers; and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.
- Approximately $200 Billion for Our Hospitals, Health Care Workers, and Health Research: Provides an investment of about $200 billion in our hospitals, health systems, and health research, including expanding funding for the personal protective equipment desperately needed by our health care workers, including ventilators, N95 masks, gowns, gloves, etc.
Please refer to this comprehensive guide and toolkit to the CARES Act to help you understand and navigate the benefits available to you. If you need any further assistance, please reach out at email@example.com.
Just before 1 a.m. on Saturday, March 14, I voted for, and the House passed by a vote of 363 - 40, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a critical bipartisan stimulus package that will expand the safety net for Americans to cope with the potentially catastrophic economic impact of the coronavirus. The Senate voted to pass the legislation on Wednesday, March 18 and the President signed it into law the same day.
Now law, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will dramatically increase benefits including:
- Free coronavirus testing, regardless of insurance status;
- Paid emergency leave including two weeks paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave;
- Enhanced Unemployment Insurance;
- Strengthened food security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors nutrition, and food banks;
- Increased federal funds for Medicaid to support our local and state governments and health systems.
While this legislation is a positive step forward, much more needs to be done including the emergency production of ventilators, testing kits and reagents, and personal protective equipment (PPE); expanding the scope of eligibility of family and medical leave; enhancing childcare; providing low or no-interest loans for small businesses across the United States; and more.
Earlier in the month, the House overwhelmingly passed, and the President signed, a bipartisan $8.3 billion supplemental funding bill which:
- Commits more than $3 billion to the development of treatments and a coronavirus vaccine and includes an additional $300 million to ensure Americans will have access to the vaccine regardless of their ability to pay.
- Protects against price-gouging of medicines developed with taxpayer dollars.
- Provides $2.2 billion in public health funding for prevention, preparedness and response efforts.
- Protects public health by allowing Medicare providers to extend telemedicine services to seniors regardless of where they live, at an estimated cost of $500 million.
- Supports small businesses impacted by this epidemic, allowing for an estimated $7 billion in low-interest SBA loans to those affected.
There is nothing more important than getting us through this crisis. I will continue to fight in Congress to ensure that the American people have access to the resources they need to get through the difficult days and weeks ahead. Together we will get through this.
Extension of Tax Filing Deadline
It was announced on March 20 that the deadline to file income taxes has been extended for 3 months, until July 15, 2020. Over the past few weeks, I have repeatedly urged the IRS Commissioner and the Treasury Secretary to extend the tax filing deadline. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, individuals and tax preparers, who simply lack staff coming into the office, could not reasonably make the April 15th deadline. Today’s decision from the IRS will help taxpayers and small businesses have one less thing to worry about.
Coronavirus TeleTown Hall
On Thursday, March 19, I hosted a TeleTown Hall with Michael Dowling, President and CEO of Northwell Health and Dr. Maria Carney, former Nassau County Health Commissioner and now Chief of Geriatric Health at Northwell Health. We had over 19.500 callers join in the discussion about coronavirus. An audio file of the TeleTown Hall, which addresses many of the concerns of our constituents, can be heard here.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends implementing the following preventative measures in our daily lives:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Staying home when you are sick
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then disposing of the tissue
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
- Washing 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
The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel at this time due to the global impact of COVID-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice. More information is available on the Department of State website.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and its medical facilities are taking steps to protect and care for veterans during the outbreak. Veterans should refer to the VA’s website for the most current information: www.va.gov/coronavirus. Guidance from local VA medical facilities about their current operating status is available on each facility’s website, which can be found through VA’s facility locator tool: https://www.va.gov/find-locations.
Veterans experiencing coronavirus symptoms are encouraged to call their VA medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected).
- Nassau County Department of Health Coronavirus Updates
- Suffolk County Department of Health Coronavirus Updates
- New York City Department of Health Coronavirus Updates
- New York State Department of Health Coronavirus Updates
- CDC: How to protect yourself
- CDC: If you think you are sick
- World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Q&A
- World Health Organization’s Myth Buster FAQ
- State Department List of Travel Advisories
- House Committee on Small Business SBA Q&A
- House Committee on Education and Labor Additional information for students, workers, and families regarding the Families First Coronavirus Act
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act Information on Emergency Paid Sick Leave
- SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus
- IRS Operations During COVID-19
- CARES Act guide and toolkit
- Small Business Association Guidance and Loan Resources
- Economic Impact Payments What you need to know
- A Guide to Home-Proofing your Home for Coronavirus and other Illnesses
- IRS "Get My Payment" tool to track the status of stimulus payments and to enter direct deposit information.
- Economic Impact Payment Information: what you need to know