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Update: July 8, 2020

  • School reopening.
    • Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza Announce Preliminary School Reopening Plans for Fall 2020. The Mayor explained that there will be different models, “Driven first and foremost by the health and safety of school communities, schools will be provided with specific models to develop schedules for students that include in-person and remote instruction every week. Personalized schedules will be shared with families in August, and the Department of Education will continue to update families so they can plan for a successful return to school buildings.” Click on the above link to read the Mayor’s press release.
    • See City & State: Cuomo overrules de Blasio on reopening schools. The state will issue reopening guidelines by July 13, and then school districts, charter schools and private schools will have until the end of the month to submit their plans to the state. Final decisions will be made in the first week of August, the governor said at a Wednesday press conference in Manhattan.
    • See the NY Times: The C.D.C. announces it will issue new guidelines for reopening schools, hours after Trump assailed its recommendations.“ “I disagree with@CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!” Mr. Trump wrote [in a Tweet].

Update: July 6, 2020

  • Reopening. For guidance for organizations see the Community Security Initiative reopening and reentry page at:
  • Summer camps. The Court found that the Governor’s decision to close overnight camps for the summer of 2020 had a “real or substantial relation” to the public health crisis. Opening summer camps would encourage “travel from more densely populated areas throughout New York State that have been more heavily impacted by the COVID-19 virus and from several neighboring states … and has the potential to catastrophically eliminate the progress New York State has made to date in limiting the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and to create “hot spots” in areas where the overall level of the virus has been relatively low.” The judge also opined that the seriousness of the public health risks outweighed any possible infringement of First Amendment Rights concluding, “Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadly nature of the virus itself, the lack of a vaccine at the time of this writing, and lack of scientific agreement about its transmission, the Court concludes that the issuance of an injunction is not in the public interest at this time.”
  • Rumor control and scams. See the NJ COVID-19 Rumor Control and Disinformation Updates, including information on frauds and scams.

Update: July 2, 2020

  • School opening? Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that planning should begin for the reopening of public schools in September. He asked principals to calculate the capacity of their buildings while maintaining social distancing. The plan is that there will be daily, deep cleaning of school buildings, required face masks, continuous hand sanitizing and more.  The Mayor did not discuss details.Dani Lever, Communications Director for
    Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement, “Of course the state consults with local stakeholders and when it comes to opening schools in New York City we will consult with parents, teachers, health officials and local elected officials – but the Governor has said any determination is premature at this point and we will need to see how the virus develops.Of course the state consults with local stakeholders and when it comes to opening schools in New York City we will consult with parents, teachers, health officials and local elected officials – but the Governor has said any determination is premature at this point and we will need to see how the virus develops.”The Governor has also told all school districts to have plans ready for the ‘new normal’ in the event schools can open. The Governor hopes schools will reopen but will not endanger the health of students or teachers, and will make the determination once we have more current information.
  • Sick leave for NY workers in high-risk states. On March 18, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation (the “Act”) providing all New York employees with COVID-19-related sick leave (discussed in our previous alert). On June 24, 2020, Governor Cuomo modified the Act by Executive Order (the “Order”) to deem any employee who “voluntarily travels” to a state with a high positive test rate, as defined by the Order (“high risk states”), ineligible for paid sick leave benefits under the Act. This modification applies to employees who travel to high risk states after June 25, 2020 and is currently in effect through July 26, 2020. However, this only applies to voluntary travel; travel “taken as part of the employee’s employment or at the direction of the employee’s employer” is expressly exempt from the eligibility restriction. The stated purpose of this modification is to address the risk of travel-related COVID-19 cases in New York State. To read the Patterson Belknap alert on this topic, click here.
  • Public Assistance. Since COVID-19 is a declared disaster, private nonprofits may be reimbursed for certain costs. A publication from NYC Emergency Management Navigating the FEMA PA Program for PNPs is helpful. If your organization incurred costs in response to or resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic you may be eligible. The most common example of eligible work we have seen under this program regards disinfecting, sanitizing facilities and supplies or contracting to do the work. “The work should be consistent with current public health guidance as it relates to disinfection recommendations.” While the costs of disinfection of public facilities is reimbursable, please note the following in the NY DHSES FAQ’s:
    • 15. Are cleaning services reimbursable? Answer: An eligible applicant may seek reimbursement for reasonable and necessary costs for disinfecting its common areas to prevent spread of the virus. For example, a hospital may incur costs for more frequent disinfecting of areas where staff, patients and/or members of the public potentially exposed to the virus are meeting for purposes of diagnosis and treatment. This would include not only testing and treatment rooms, but also laboratories, waiting rooms, lobbies, cafeterias, hallways, elevators, stairwells and rest rooms, etc.
    • 15a. For which entities? (School? Homeless shelter? Library? Museum? Church/Synagogue?
      Municipal building closed to the public?) Answer: With regard to disinfecting a building that has been closed to the public for an extended period of time, be prepared to demonstrate the need for disinfection – what is the threat to public health and safety?
  • Cyber Essentials Toolkit. DHS CISA’s Cyber Essentials Toolkit is a set of modules designed to break down the CISA Cyber Essentials into bite-sized actions for organizations to work toward full implementation of each Cyber Essential. Each chapter focuses on recommended actions to build cyber readiness into the six interrelated aspects of an organizational culture of cyber readiness.
  • Fraudsters and Scammers. Frauds and scams are up during the shutdown. The Community Security Initiative (CSI) partnered with the Borough Park Jewish Community Council and the Borough Park Shomrim to present a webinar instructing the community how to avoid being a victim. The webinar featured CSI’s Brooklyn Security Manager Adam Berish and DHS CISA’s Region II Cybersecurity Advisor Rich Richards. Click here to view a recording with great tips. 

Update: June 3, 2020

Update: May 21, 2020

  • Making progress. During his daily press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “All roads are leading to the first half of June, I’m saying first half of June. I’m obviously giving a little bit of range there, but I mean literally the first half of June, so somewhere between June 1 and June 15. Completing the seven metrics set by New York State clears the path for a region to enter Phase I of reopening.
  • Religious gatherings. Based on Governor Cuomo’s announcement, the Community Security Initiative (CSI), a joint program of UJA-Federation and JCRC-NY, released its guidance: Update on Guidelines for Religious Gatherings in New York State.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 21, 2020
  • Summer camps. Governor Cuomo announced the state is currently investigating 157 reported cases in New York where children – predominantly school-aged – are experiencing symptoms similar to an atypical Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome possibly due to COVID-19. The illness has taken the lives of three young New Yorkers, including a 5-year old in New York City, a 7-year old in Westchester County and a teenager in Suffolk County. To date, 13 countries and 25 other states have reported cases of this COVID-related illness in children. Any decision regarding summer camps will be made after more is known about this syndrome. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 21 2020
  • Life expectancy. Using data reported by the New York City Health Department through May 14, 2020, Prevent Epidemics estimated that the excess deaths to date due to COVID-19 caused a drop in New York City life expectancy of 5 years.

Update: May 20, 2020

  • Religious gatherings. Beginning Thursday, religious gatherings of no more than 10 people will be allowed statewide where strict social distancing measures are enforced and all participants
    wear masks. Additionally, drive-in/parking lot services will also be allowed beginning Thursday. Governor Cuomo named an Interfaith Advisory Council (including JCRC-NY CEO Michael S. Miller) to guide the reopening of faith institutions. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 20, 2020 (Council list on p. 34).
  • As if we didn’t have enough tsuris… FEMA released “COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season” to help emergency managers and public health officials best prepare for disasters, while continuing to respond to and recover from coronavirus (COVID-19). The guide provides actions emergency managers and public officials can take to prepare for response and recovery operations during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response efforts.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 20, 2020

Update: May 19, 2020

  • State payments on hold. More than $1 billion in state spending is on hold, but it could be weeks before localities and other recipients of state aid get their money. Another $370 million in grants to upstate cities is also being put on hold, according to The Wall Street Journal, as the state waits to pull the trigger on sweeping state budget cuts to public schools, health care and local governments. The governor told reporters Tuesday that it might be several weeks before the fiscal picture becomes any clearer as efforts continue to secure tens of billions of dollars in new federal aid – according to reports, the U.S. Senate is unlikely to pass another stimulus bill before June at the earliest. (City and State)
  • Elections. The Democratic Presidential Primary is reinstated for June 23, 2020, due to court order. The Early Voting period for State and Federal June 23rd Primary will be June 13, 2020 – June 21, 2020. All eligible voters should receive postage-paid applications in the mail. A PDF version of the New York State Absentee Ballot Application Form can be found hereMany primaries for Congressional seats and special elections (including Queens Borough President) will be held on the date.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 19, 2020
  • Hospital visits. Governor Cuomo authorized a pilot program that will allow limited hospital visits to designated hospitals. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 19, 2020

Update: May 18, 2020

  • New York City’s Orthodox Jews make up half of all plasma donors in this country volunteering blood to help treat COVID-19 patientsLondon’s Daily Mail reports. The paper quotes Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic, who is running a study on the effects of plasma to treat the virus, as calling “our Orthodox friends” the most numerous of participants in a plasma donation study.“’I would be shocked if they were less than half the total,” Dr. Joyner said. Thousands of Americans who have recovered from coronavirus are donating their blood to plasma clinics in the hope that it can be used to treat other people struck down by the virus (Jewish Week)
  • New York City Faces Substantial Fiscal Challenges in the Weeks and Months Ahead, New York City Independent Budget Office. At both the national and local level, the economic damage is enormous, with unprecedented numbers of workers being laid off and furloughed, pushing the unemployment rate to 14.2 percent in April; real (inflation-adjusted) U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to fall by 30.2 percent in the April to June quarter leading to a decline of 5.8 percent for the calendar year as a whole. The U.S. economy is almost certainly already in recession—what is not certain is how long and severe it will be.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 18, 2020, Weekly
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 18

Update: May 17, 2020

  • EMS Week. Today marks the start of EMS Week 2020, an annual initiative to promote public safety among all New Yorkers and celebrate the life-saving efforts of more than 4,400 members of FDNY’s Emergency Medical Service. The FDNY celebrates each year in conjunction with National EMS Week. “EMS Week is a time each year when we stop to acknowledge and celebrate the tremendous work of our EMTs and Paramedics. COVID-19 has forced us to postpone or cancel our events this year, but I think every New Yorker – and those around the world – have witnessed the heroic efforts of our members during this pandemic and realized why they are rightfully known as ‘the Best’ in our city,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro.
  • Jobs. Testing was key to controlling the virus spread. Now, it will be key to monitoring the virus
    as we reopen. In New York State (including Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester) you can apply to serve as a (paid) contact tracer. Here is the link for NYC positions. The work is done remotely.
  • When are we going to reopen? New York is reopening. Click here for the New York Regional Monitoring Dashboard. See which metrics are holding us back.
  • Helping communities plan for, respond to, and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us for the stakeholder calls (click on the links for documents):
  • COVIDwatcher. Columbia University has rolled out a new research tool called CovidWatcher which will track COVID-19’s impact on New York City neighborhoods in real time, filling in critical gaps in knowledge of the virus to better understand the needs across New York. Please share the survey tool ( with your community. It should take about 15 minutes to complete. The survey is intended for everyone to fill out, regardless of symptoms or concerns about exposure.
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 14, May 15, May 16, May 17, 2020
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 15, May 16, 2020
  • Protect Against Flu: Caregivers of Infants and Young Children

Update: May 14, 2020

  • Five out of the 10 regions in New York are scheduled to begin phased reopening tomorrow, having achieve all seven metrics for reopening. NYC and Long Island are 4/7; Mid-Hudson 5/7. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 14, 2020
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 14, 2020
  • Cybersecurity: Top 10 Routinely Exploited Vulnerabilities. Sophisticated foreign cyber actors often exploit the same holes in your cyber practices. DHS and the FBI tracked the most common ones. Most of the list will make sense to your technology department or consultant. Share it with them. One tip is critical: “Cybersecurity weaknesses—such as poor employee education on social engineering attacks and a lack of system recovery and contingency plans—have continued to make organizations susceptible to ransomware attacks in 2020.” 

Update: May 13, 2020

  • Two Queens Men Charged After Buying Three Illegally Defaced Firearms and Two Assault Rifles. A criminal complaint was filed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Daniel Jou and Joseph Miner with receiving and possessing multiple firearms with obliterated serial numbers.  “As alleged, after Joseph Miner praised extremist violence and expressed racist and anti-Semitic hatred on the internet, he and his co-defendant bought a collection of illegal firearms capable of inflicting mass bloodshed,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “What the defendants did not know was that they were buying the guns from an undercover federal agent who had been investigating their plan to buy weapons that would be impossible to trace. As alleged in public filings, law enforcement authorities began investigating Miner in late 2019 when he posted on social media accounts his interest in obtaining assault weapons and other firearms for a racial civil war or racial holy war.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 13, 2020
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 13, 2020

Update: May 12, 2020

  • Senate hearing. “If we do not respond in an adequate way when the fall comes, given that it is without a doubt that there will be infections that will be in the community, then we run the risk of having a resurgence,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a Senate panel (follow the link for the New York Times article).
  • FEMA Releases Kit to Help Organizations Plan for Resuming Full Operations During COVID-19. As organizations across the country plan for when and how to resume full operations while protecting the well-being and safety of their employees and communities, FEMA has created an Exercise Starter Kit to help organizations facilitate their own internal workshops based on reconstitution planning principles and the White House’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again and a FEMA fact sheet on “Planning Considerations for Organizations in Reconstituting Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The kit for organizations and government agencies includes a fact sheet, sample slides and a facilitator guide with suggested questions.
  • Anti-Semitic incidents at record levels. In 2019, ADL recorded 2,107 antisemitic incidents in the United States, the highest number since ADL established the Audit in 1979. The high number of incidents came as the Jewish community grappled with vicious and lethal antisemitic attacks against communities in Poway, Jersey City and Monsey, and a spree of violent assaults in Brooklyn.The 2019 ADL Audit of Antisemitic Incidents found that the total number of antisemitic incidents in 2019 increased 12 percent over the previous year, with a disturbing 56 percent increase in assaults. The audit found there were, on average, as many as six antisemitic incidents in the U.S. for each day in the calendar year. Register for the webinar discussing the audit here.
  • And now for something completely different. The WNYC show “Radiolab” recently posted a profile of 19th-century physician Ignaz Semmelweis. Starting in 1847, he promoted hand-washing in Vienna’s General Hospital to reduce diseases associated with childbirth—and was castigated for it. The segment features Dr. Nancy Tomes, historian of medicine at Stony Brook University.

Update: May 11, 2020

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the first step in “how do we reopen without taking a step back?” His metrics indicate that three Upstate regions will be ready to reopen by the end of this week. “June is when we’re potentially going to be able to make some real changes if we can continue our progress,” Mayor de Blasio said today. The Governor presented three categories of “Business Precautions” that will guide reopening practices throughout the state:
    • People: Adjusted workplace hours and shift design; Social distancing; and Restricted Non-essential travel
    • Places: Masks required if in frequent contact with others; Strict cleaning and sanitation standards
    • Processes: Continuous health screening to enter workplace; Continuous tracing, tracking and reporting; Liability
      The Community Security Initiative, a joint program of UJA-Federation and JCRC-NY, is preparing a guide to organizational reopening and reentry. Feel free to direct any questions that you have to our team at Click to the Governor’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 11, 2020.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 11, 2020, Weekly

Update: May 10, 2020

Update: May 7, 2020

  • Gift card scams.  Another new phishing campaign is around, with scammers impersonating known individuals (likely using display name and/or email address spoofing). They request recipients to purchase gift cards for essential workers. The sender asks for the codes on the back of the gift cards after purchase in order to distribute the funds. In an email shared with the NJCCIC, the sender impersonated the town’s mayor (some scams impersonated rabbis) with a subject line of “FOR OUR ESTEEMED STAFFS:” and requested seven $100 gift cards. While recipients may ordinarily be suspicious of an email containing grammatical errors and requesting the purchase of gift cards, referencing the recipient by name and claiming the request is for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic may make these emails appear more genuine. Never purchase gift cards and send the codes to someone without verifying the request first via a separate means of communication. These unusual requests should be handled with increased suspicion.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update May 7, 2020
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 7, 2020
  • Dr. Fauci and Rosh Hashanah. Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Orthodox Union Thursday that it would be possible for people to gather in synagogues for the Jewish High Holidays in the fall if contact tracing is implemented to avoid a second wave of the pandemic. Read the article in the Forward.

Update: May 6, 2020

  • Active shooter guidance for special needs populations. DHS CISA has a new active shooter preparedness resource. The Active Shooter Preparedness: Access and Functional Needs video provides information that organizations may incorporate into their emergency action plans to ensure that persons with access and functional needs are properly considered during an active shooter incident. This video was developed in coordination with the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, FEMA Office of Disability and Integration, Society for Human Resource Management, and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services / Office of Access and Functional Needs. It is currently available via the DHS YouTube website (, and will be posted onto the CISA Active Shooter Preparedness website in the coming days. 2019 FBI Active Shooter Report. 
  • Once again, we’re not being invaded. Three JetBlue A320 aircraft will conduct a flyover salute near Manhattan, Queens & the Bronx on Thur. 5/7 at 7pm. The salute will coincide w/the 7pm clap to honor frontline healthcare workers. The aircraft will fly at approximately 2,000ft.  Please follow social distancing guidelines if viewing in public. For more details:
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update May 6, 2020
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 6, 2020

Update: May 5, 2020

Update: May 4, 2020

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today outlined additional guidelines for when regions can re-open. The state will monitor four core factors to determine if a region can re-open:

  • New Infections: Based on guidelines from the CDC, regions must have at least 14 days of decline in total net hospitalizations and deaths on a 3-day rolling average. In regions with few COVID cases, the region cannot exceed 15 net new total hospitalizations or 5 new deaths on a 3-day rolling average. In order to monitor the potential spread of infection in a region, a region must have fewer than two new COVID patients admitted per 100,000 residents per day.
  • Health Care Capacity: Every region must have the health care capacity to handle a potential surge in cases. Regions must have at least 30 percent total hospital and ICU beds available. This is coupled with the new requirement that hospitals have at least 90 days of personal protective equipment stockpiled.
  • Diagnostic Testing Capacity: Each region must have the capacity to conduct 30 diagnostic tests for every 1,000 residents per month. The state is rapidly expanding capacity statewide to help all regions meet this threshold.
  • Contact Tracing Capacity: Regions must have a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents, and additional tracers based on the projected number of cases in the region. The state is currently building an army of contact tracers with Mayor Bloomberg to meet the needs of each region statewide.

The Governor also outlined new safety precautions that each business (Comment: and probably nonprofits when the time comes) must put in place upon re-opening to help lower the risk of spreading the virus. Businesses will be required to:

  • Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace;
  • Enact social distancing protocols;
  • Restrict non-essential travel for employees;
  • Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others;
  • Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards;
  • Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace;
  • Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases; and
  • Develop liability processes.

Update: May 3, 2020

  • FEMA is coordinating two shipments totaling a 14-day supply of personal protective equipment to all 15,400 Medicaid and Medicare-certified nursing homes in America. The first shipments are expected to begin next week. The shipments are meant to supplement existing efforts to provide equipment to nursing homes. HHS and FEMA have expanded items supplied by the International Reagent Resource (IRR) to help public health labs access free diagnostics supplies and reagents.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 1, 2020, May 2, 2020, May 3, 2020
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 1, 2020, May 2, 2020,

Update: April 30, 2020

Update: April 29, 2020

Update: April 28, 2020

Update: April 27, 2020

  • IPads for some nonpublic school students. the New York City Department of Education (DOE) announced that students in nonpublic schools who receive special education and related services from the City, will be eligible to apply for the free iPad distribution program. A parent or school leader can apply to this program at: The student ID number is the found on the student’s IESP. The progress is due to advocacy by Teach NYS, UJA Federation of New York and The Jewish Education Project. 
  • It’s not an invasion. (Tuesday at noon) To honor frontline medics, doctors, first responders, and essential personnel, eight (8) US Air Force Thunderbird F-16 Jets with red, white and blue markings, and seven (7) US Navy Blue Angel Jets will be conducting a flyover, viewable in much of NYC, Long Island and Westchester (download the route here). Residents should observe the flyover from the safety of their home-quarantine and social distancing should be practiced at all times.
  • Antibody testing. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s April 27 Coronavirus Presentation. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that 14.9% of New Yorkers – and 24.7% of New York City residents – were found to have COVID-19 antibodies, according to updated results of a statewide study of 7,500 random people.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 27, 2020, Weekly
  • Alternate side of the street parking. The New York City Department of Transportation today announced that the suspension of Alternate Side Parking regulations will be extended through 5/12. Payment at parking meters will remain in effect throughout the city.

Update: April 26, 2020

  • The Forward: Orthodox Jews organize to donate plasma by thousands
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to slash aid to localities by $8.2 billion and cut state agency budgets by 10% unless new federal aid comes through in the coming weeks, according to an updated state financial plan released Saturday The plan is based on Boston Consulting Group projection of the economic impact assessment from COVID-10 on NY State. Here is the Governor’s Sunday briefing presentation.
  • The Importance of Planning and Best Practices for Houses of Worship. April 29, 2020, 1 PM – 2:30 PM – Join the Region II National Preparedness Division webinar specifically for Houses of Worship and Faith-Based organizations. Register here.
  • Absentee voting. Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order mandating that the NYS Board of Elections automatically mail all registered voters postage-paid applications for an absentee ballot for the upcoming June 23 elections, saying: “No one should have to choose between their health and their civic duty.”
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 26, 2020
  • Recovery cost tracking webinar. April 29, 2020, 4 PM – New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) invites local private non-profit organizations (PNPs) to join us to discuss best practices and key considerations for COVID-19 cost recovery. During this presentation, we will discuss the importance of tracking labor, contract work, materials/supplies, and equipment costs related to COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. We will also discuss examples of tools that can be used to help manage your costs and financial data to support potential reimbursement claims through federal funding programs, such as FEMA Public Assistance (PA). This webinar will be the second presentation in a series hosted by NYCEM focusing on COVID-19 cost recovery for PNPs. Register hereClick here to listen to the first presentation.

Update: April 23, 2020

  • Governor Cuomo presented the preliminary Phase I results of an antibody study, collected over two days in 19 counties and 40 localities across NY State. People were tested at random in grocery stores and other box storesl Statewide the weighted infection rate is 13.9% and the death rate may be lower than some estimates. That means 2.7 million people infected statewide, with 15,500 total fatalities (or approximately 0.5% of the people infected. See the Governor’s full presentation here. The testing will continue on an ongoing basis and as the sample size grows, so does the reliability of the data.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 23, 2020
  • Your facility is closed, but is it secure? Here are some tips to foil thieves and vandals

Update: April 22, 2020

  • Contact tracing. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Mike Bloomberg today announced a new nation-leading COVID-19 contact tracing program to control the infection rate of the disease. Mike Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies have committed organizational support and technical assistance to help build and execute this new program. The contact tracing program will be done in coordination with the downstate region as well as New Jersey and Connecticut and will serve as an important resource to gather best practices and as a model that can be replicated across the nation. There has never been a contact tracing program implemented at this scale either in New York or anywhere in the United States. Learn more here.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 22, 2020
  • Anti-Semitism. Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the Moshe Kantor Database for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism researchers reported that there was an 18% rise in violent antisemitic incidents worldwide over 2018, the highest rise since 2014. There were 456 major violent anti-Semitic attacks; 53 attacks on synagogues; 169 attacks on individuals; and seven murders. There is now a new crop of antisemitism: COVID-19-related antisemitism. People are using the pandemic to spread racism, xenophobia and antisemitism. This kind of antisemitism proposes that Jews as a collective and Jews as individuals are behind the spread of the virus or are directly profiting from it.

Update: April 21, 2020

  • White House meeting. Governor Cuomo met with President Trump today in the White House to discuss testing. They agreed that the state will be responsible for managing the actual tests in state laboratories. The federal government, meanwhile, will take on the responsibility of supply chain issues that are beyond states’ control. The President and Governor also discussed much-needed funding for the states — and the White House team understood our need.
  • Regional openings. New York will will make reopening decisions on a regional basis, depending on the facts on the ground, recognizing that not all regions are impacted with COVID-19 in the same way. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will coordinate Western New York’s public health and reopening strategy, and former Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy will volunteer as a special advisor to coordinate the Finger Lakes’ public health and reopening strategy.
  • CDC: Psychological First Aid: Addressing Mental Health Distress During Disasters. Webinar: April 22, 2020 at 1 p.m. ET.
  • NJ Office of Homeland Security: Facts on COVID-19 Rumors and Disinformation
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 21, 2020
  • Ramadan Mubarak. The Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins on the evening of Thursday, April 23 and ends on Saturday, May 23, 2020.  This year’s Ramadan comes as the world responds to the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and as a result, many Ramadan celebrations and traditional religious gatherings involving more than 10 people will not take place.

Update: April 20, 2020

  • Federal purchasing. HHS and FEMA continue to provide federal support to state run testing. HHS and FEMA have expanded items supplied by the International Reagent Resource (IRR) to help public health labs access free diagnostics supplies and reagents. Consolidating testing supplies under the IRR simplifies the resource request process for states and territories and alleviates the burden on public health labs on needing to work with separate suppliers for swabs, reagents and other diagnostic testing supplies.
  • Best practices. FEMA and HHS have centralized best practices and lessons learned to help medical practitioners, emergency managers, and other stakeholders learn from each other’s approaches. The FEMA Coronavirus Emergency Management Best Practices page contains resources for all levels of government, private sector, academic institutions, professional associations, and other organizations responding to the pandemic.
  • Zoombombing investigation. Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. announced an investigation into recent anti-Semitic “zoom-bombing” of Jewish religious services in Westchester, which were being video streamed in an effort to bring people together while following social distancing directives. The incidents took place via a Jewish center video stream Friday, April 3, 2020, and a second incident the following week from another congregation. In both cases, congregation leadership had sent email invitations for anyone to join the interactive video stream. In both incidents, an unknown person or persons logged into the Zoom-based video conference and interrupted the services with anti-Semitic acts, including posting swastikas and other offensive material for all participants to see.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 20, 2020, Weekly.
  • Capalino+Co: COVID Resources for Businesses and Nonprofits

Update: April 19, 2020

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo  commented that recent news is good, but only compared to terrible news.  “If the data holds and if this trend holds, we are past the high point, and all indications at this point are that we are on a descent,” Cuomo said. He continued: “The war is not won. The second phase will require us to:
    • Do no harm;
    • Be smarter-develop new testing;
    • Learn the Lessons Build Back Better

    The Governor repeated. “Don’t get arrogant. This virus has been ahead of us every step of the way. This is only halftime in this entire situation,” he said. “The beast can rise up again. We know that.”

  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 19, 2020
  • Check out the guidance on the CDC webpage on Stress and Coping
  • Your facility is closed, but is it secure? Here are some tips to foil thieves and vandals.

Update: April 13, 2020

Update: April 12, 2020

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Please join JFNA for an important webinar on the current state of the program, including updates on Small Business Administration guidelines related to independent contractors and more, and how we can all work together to ensure that additional resources and improvements are made to the program. If you have already accessed the program, here is a chance to help others in need get the same benefit. If you have not yet accessed the program, here is a chance to help make sure the program is there for your organization. TOMORROW, Monday, April 13, 4:30 PM ET.  REGISTER NOW.
  • Societal stressors may bring more hate. In a letter to faith leaders, DHS Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security, Brian Harrell, noted that “… stressors caused by the pandemic may contribute to an individual’s decision to commit an attack or influence their target of choice. When you begin efforts to reconstitute services and welcome congregants back into your houses of worship, please also review your security plans and ensure procedures are in place to protect your facilities and visitors. Although there are no imminent or credible threats at this time, there has been an increase in online hate speech intended to encourage violence or use the ongoing situation as an excuse to spread hatred.” Click here for the full letter.
  • The IRS issued notices on April 9th delaying the filing deadlines for Form 990s, Form 990-T, and many other non-individual tax returns until July 15 at the earliest. Read the announcement.
  • Health industry funding. On Friday, the Department of Health & Human Services released the first tranche of $30 Billion out of the $100 Billion for health care providers as they grapple with COVID-19 needs and expenses. The funds are part of the CARES Act Public Health & Social Service Relief Fund (nicknamed “The Marshall Fund”). All facilities that have received Medicare fee for service (FFS) reimbursements in 2018 are eligible for this initial rapid distribution. There is no application form to fill out, the funds will be directly deposited in partner agency accounts who qualify at some point this week. On average, the funds will amount to 6% of the Medicare funds providers received in CY 2019. In other words, if a provider billed  $100 million in 2019, they would receive $6 million via direct deposit.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 11 2020
  • Funding resources. NYC Emergency Management Community Preparedness Grant Funding Tracker.Note: NYC EM compiled this list of resources for the community to use, but these resources are not directly connected to NYC Emergency Management. They can’t guarantee any availability of resources/accuracy of information.
  • Times of Israel: German exhibit on Black Death goes viral, then virtual; shows Jews were blamed
  • Census. To complete the census, go to and enter your name and address, or call 844-330-2020, to complete by phone. It only takes ten minutes to answer the ten questions the census asks, yet it affects the next ten years of our city’s future and will impact how our city will rebound from this crisis.
  • Rush hour speeds on the BQE are up 288%!

Update: April 7, 2020

  • The community owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Chevra Kadisha’s everywhere (, for their selfless, holy work. Here are their “Guidelines for Levayahs (funerals) and Cemeteries“, written to allow for the proper respect for the departed in keeping safe.
  • From our friends at the Human Services Council: Yesterday, the State of New York released guidance for contracted nonprofit human services providers. The guidance outlines performance requirements for funding during COVID-19.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today Fun at Home, a free new digital platform to provide safe, fun, and entertaining virtual activities for New York City’s teens and young adults. This first-of-its-kind campaign combines city and community resources to engage teens who are at home during the COVID-19 crisis, and also provides tips to cope with the public and mental health challenges that may arise during this difficult time.
  • Celebrate Passover safely by following these #FDNYSmart tips
  •  Previously released data suggests that coronavirus death and infection rates are much higher in communities of color in New York City – reflecting national trends – given the rates of confirmed cases in neighborhoods with large black and Latino populations – an issue that was the subject of a Tuesday morning press conference by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. While New York state and California have not released death rates by race or ethnicity, data from Chicago shows that black people account for about 68% of the city’s deaths.
  • Last week the White House and the CDC released new recommendations for everyone to wear a face covering outside the home. While staying home is still preferred, wearing a cloth covering and keeping appropriate physical distance will help protect others—even if you are not currently symptomatic with COVID-19–on those limited occasions you do have to go out.

    The CDC has given very good information about how to make masks that are suitable, so that we can continue to reserve medical masks and PPE for healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update: April 6, 2020

Update: April 5, 2020

Update: April 3, 2020

  • And now for something completely different. Enjoy this parody from the NY Gilbert and Sullivan Players, “I am the Very Model of Effective Social Distancing.”
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update
  • New studies show that pre-symptomatic people may spread the virus:
    • NYC is advising New Yorkers to wear face covering when outside and near people
    • Cover your mouth and nose in public
    • Use a scarf, bandana or a piece of clothing
    • DO NOT use a surgical and N95 masks —those are for health care workers and first responders!
  • NYC: I’ve been affected by Coronovirus (COVID-19). What benefits might I be eligible for?
  • Thank you @GovernorAndrewCuomo, @NewYorkStateSenate and @NewYorkStateAssembly for the inclusion of the #NoHateInOurState package in the NYS Budget. The package includes $25M for at-risk nonprofits, including houses of worship; the Josef Neumann Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act (in memory of a victim of the Hanukkah attack in Monsey) and additional funding to support the NYS Police Hate Crimes Task Force. Each element of the package to counter hate directed at the Jews and others is an important component of our fight against hate.Through the enactment of this package, New York State’s leaders scored a trifecta.

Update: April 2, 2020

  • FEMA Daily Briefing Points: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Whole-of-America Response
  • NYPD is carrying out moment-by-moment analyses of Hate Crimes: At no time is hate and discrimination of any kind ever tolerated in New York City, but amid its ongoing Coronavirus response, the NYPD is reinforcing the importance of reporting all hate crimes and bias incidents. Since the outbreak, the Hate Crime Task Force has investigated 11 cases where all the victims were Asian and targeted due to discrimination based on the Coronavirus pandemic. To date, investigators have apprehended the wanted subjects in seven of these cases.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Brief Apr 2, 2020
  • An message from Nassau County Executive Laura Curran to faith leaders ahead of the upcoming Easter and Passover holidays. See also

Update: April 1, 2020

  • Census Day. Today is officially Census Day. Every household should have received a form in the mail, but you can also fill it out at the secure online site or by phone. Fill out the paper form that you received in the mail, call in to 1-800-923-8282 or use your code to fill it out online at Many Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods are “hard-to-count”. JCRC-NY is joining with local partners to advertise in media outlets that target these neighborhoods. Here’s a sample of our ad.
  • NYC Emergency Management COVID-19 Daily Brief April 1, 2020
  • Nonprofit New York Updates
  • NYPD Cybersecurity Brief, including Tips to Mitigate Against Phishing and Spear-Phishing Attacks, Basic Safeguards Against Ransomware, andCOVID-19 and Telephonic Cybersecurity: Vulnerabilities for Conference Calls.
  • Jewish Board webinars. The Jewish Board is offering two webinars in the next two days: Dealing with disruption: Strategies for thriving in the new normal and Helping Kids Cope with COVID-19. Click here for the details and registration.
  • Nonprofit New York’s COVID-19 Updates
  • Tech Resources for Nonprofits Impacted by COVID-19. TechSoup is committed to equipping nonprofits with the technology resources (including discounts on Zoom, etc.) needed to meet their mission, serve their community, and support their staff. Click here to learn more.
  • Stimulus scams. Congress has recently passed a large COVID-19 relief and stimulus package. As with other aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, fraudsters are exploiting the relief and stimulus to victimize the public. The U.S. Secret Service is observing a rise in stimulus relief fraud over the past several days and expect the fraud attempts to continue throughout the pandemic. See their bulletin here. 

Update: March 31, 2020

  • Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new hospital network Central Coordinating Team that will help facilitate a more coordinated and strategic approach among the state’s healthcare system in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The coordinating team will help implement the statewide public-private hospital plan, which the Governor announced yesterday, to share information, supplies, staff and patients among hospitals across the State. The team will be responsible for organizing upstate to downstate staffing; assisting Elmhurst Hospital and other stressed hospitals; setting patient thresholds for hospitals; organizing patient transfers to other hospitals and the USNS Comfort; coordinating State-City stockpiles and individual hospital stockpiles; and facilitating staffing recruitment.
  • NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update
  • Today, 5,657 uniformed members of the NYPD were on sick report which accounts for 15.6% of the Department’s uniformed workforce.  Currently, 1,048 uniformed members and 145 civilian members tested positive for the Coronavirus.
  • NYC Dept. of Finance sells tax liens for unpaid property taxes, water bills, other charges. Because so many families need relief, NYC is postponing the sale to August (from May).
  • Check our Nassau County’s Coronavirus resources. Most Nassau County offices are closed. You can find how to reach them here. Get the Suffolk County updates by clicking here.
  • ADL: How to prevent Zoombombing. As large numbers of people turn to video-teleconferencing (VTC) platforms to stay connected in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, reports of VTC hijacking (also called “Zoom-bombing”) are emerging nationwide. The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.

Update: March 27, 2020

  • UJA-Federation of New York briefing on the CARES Act
    Featuring experts from Jewish Federation of North America
    Sunday, March 29, 2020

    Please join UJA-Federation for a virtual briefing with federal nonprofit policy experts Stephan Kline, Interim Executive Director, Jewish Federation of North America’s DC office and Steven Woolf, Senior Tax Policy Counsel, Jewish Federation of North America.

    This briefing will include an in-depth analysis of the federal legislation and there will be time to answer your questions about how agencies can apply for the various loans and other provisions available to the nonprofit community. Link to Register (Zoom information will be shared after registration) For more information, contact Margo Paz at html bIf you are unable to participate, the program will be recorded.

  • The bill does not set aside funding for nonprofits, however, our communal institutions will be able to access $350 billion in new business continuity loans. These loans will be available for Jewish nonprofits, including: JCCs, synagogues, schools and others. The CARES Act also includes an above-the-line charitable tax deduction, resources to feed and house families and older adults, flexibility and new support for health care providers, and more. Here is JFNA’s one page summary of the provisions and you can find details here.
  • President issued a disaster declaration for New York (FEMA-4480-DR-NY) and certain nonprofits are eligible for FEMA public assistance which is administered through NYS DHSES (Private Non-Profit Eligibility Guidelines and RPA packet). This is a complicated process which is not intended to make up for loss of income. It will reimburse approved applicants for reasonable and necessary expenses for work directly related to the COVID-19 event. Some expenses such as the overtime costs necessary for disinfecting public spaces, hiring daycare workers to care for the children of medical workers and first responders (at the request of the city or state), emergency food services (at the request of the city or state), or the purchase of computers for students for distance learning may be eligible. Read the guidelines and submit questions to

Update: March 26, 2020

  • We are awaiting House passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Watch this space for more information on how nonprofits can access some of the benefits.
  • We can’t overstate the threat of cybercriminals taking advantage of the COVID threat (the latest allegedly from the Director-General of WHO urging people to click to a documents with treatments for COVID/click to schedule free testing). Responsibly click to NJCCIC’s security posts “Tips for Teleworkers, Remote Access Security” that provide telework program fundamentals, best practices for using remote access, and guidance on establishing device and home network security.
  • New York State’s income tax filing deadline is delayed until July 15, 2020. Because New York State requires electronic filing, the date for filing state personal income taxes automatically travels with the federal filing date, which is now July 15. Further guidelines will be released soon.
  • Arranging for mail pickup. What if your business is not essential, but a person must pick up the mail or perform a similar routine function each day? According to the NY State Essential Businesses FAQ‘s, ” A single person attending a non-essential closed business temporarily to perform a specific task is permitted so long as they will not be in contact with other people.”
  • NYC EM Private Sector COVID Update
  • Click to UJA-Federation’s Coronavirus Resources website for advice, learning opportunities and more.
  • And now for something completely different: Patrick Stewart is reading Shakespearean sonnets online. Make it so.

Update: March 25, 2020

  • As of 6:30PM, the American people still are waiting for a Congressional vote on the stimulus package. Some predict that the Senate will act tonight.
  • UJA’s $23M Aims to Assist Struggling Agencies
  • In NY, all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason are temporarily banned. New York State on PAUSE: 100% of the workforce must stay home, excluding essential services. Do your part and keep your distance. Stay at least 6 feet from others. Learn more at or call 311.
  • Please urge your representatives in the New York State Senate and Assembly to pass Governor Cuomo’s ‘No Hate in Our State’ package as-is to combat anti-Semitism and protect vulnerable communities from the scourge of hate and bigotry affecting our nation. To contact:
  • In a letter, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and our own Rep. Max Rose, Chairman of its Subcommittee on Intelligence & Counterterrorism asked DHS, “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend American life in new and unpredictable ways, we seek an understanding of how DHS is preparing for and mitigating potential homeland security threats from bad actors, such as violent extremists in the United States and abroad, who may seek to exploit vulnerabilities stemming from this metastasizing crisis.” See the full letter here calling attention to many of the developments mentioned on this page.
  • Washington Post. Terrorism laws may apply if people intentionally spread coronavirus, Justice Dept. says

Update: March 24, 2020

  • New York’s case count is doubling every three days. In his daily briefing Governor Cuomo commented, “I’m not asking the federal government to help New York just to help New York — I’m asking for everyone. New York is the first — if we learn how to blunt the impact here and bend the curve here, we can help other states who are next. Let’s learn how to act as one nation.”
  • Dr. Deborah Birx, the national coronavirus response coordinator, recommended, “Everybody who was in New York should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days to ensure the virus doesn’t spread to others no matter where they have gone, whether it’s Florida, North Carolina or out to far reaches of Long Island. We’re starting to see new cases across Long Island that suggest people have left the city.”
  • Former Israeli leader and Prisoner-of-Conscience Natan Sharansky offered tips to survive quarantine based on his experience in the Gulag.  Tip 2: “In prison, I didn’t know when I will be released or if I will be released at all. Don’t build your future plans based on the hope that in the next few days, or the next few weeks, it all will be finished. It does not depend on you. [emphasis added] So try to build plans which fully depend on you.”
  • Alternate side parking (street cleaning) regulations are suspended tomorrow, March 25 through Tuesday, March 31, 2020.  Parking meters remain in effect.
  • Two days ago we called your attention to an FBI alert warning of extremist groups that are encouraging their members (online) to spread the novel coronavirus to police and Jewish people in New York. While the online presence is real, an Israeli media outlet published a report that there were such people “roaming the streets.” Neither JCRC-NY nor the NYPD has heard of any such incidents. Please do what you can to contain any such rumors.
  • NYC Emergency Management’s  Situational Awareness call will be tomorrow, March 25th from 1-2pm. A representative from NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will provide updates regarding COVID-19 as well as review guidance for businesses. The dial-in number is: (800) 832-0736 and the room number (access code) for all users is: 52451.
  • More guidance from our friends at the Israel Trauma Coalition who keep producing quality guidance: Advice for parents on dealing with corona virus abroad, Advice for community Rabbis, Covid-19 Psychosocial advice to patients, Remote therapeutic intervention, Psychosocial support for teams working with elderly abroad, Psychosocial support for medical teams abroad

Update: March 23, 2020

Update: March 22, 2020

  • Hate. According to multiple open source media, the FBI sent an alert warning of extremist groups that are encouraging their members to spread the novel coronavirus to police and Jewish people. Reportedly, members of extremist groups are encouraging one another to spread the virus, if contracted, through bodily fluids and personal interactions at places where Jewish people may be congregated, to include markets, political offices, businesses and places of worship. The alert also reportedly said some white supremacists and neo-Nazis were also urging members who contract the virus to spread the disease to cops by using spray bottles.
  • Patrols. Yesterday the New York City Police Department began a new series of patrols in connection with monitoring locations and educating members of the public on safe social distancing.  Officers are stopping by public areas and reminding individuals gathered to be aware of their distance from each other.  In addition, we have now added larger supermarkets to our ongoing surveys of restaurants and bars.  Starting today, officers will be visiting nail and hair salons as well as other personal care locations to insure their compliance with current mandates.  Once again, our police officers, City businesses and all New Yorkers did a great job responding to a challenge.
    “We are proud of our officers.  They are a frontline in public safety, awareness & education. They’ve always been there for us and they are there for us now during this challenging time,” said Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo.
  • Scams. Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. They are using fake CDC emails and phishing emails to part victims from their money. See more information from the FBI here. More tips on cybersecurity from the State of New Jersey here.
  • From UJA-Federation.
    •  Important information from BDO about tax-free qualified disaster payments to employees in connection with COVID-19.
    • A new $75 Million NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund has been established to provide grants and loans to New York City-based social services and cultural organizations to support them in the COVID-19 Pandemic. For more information, please see this press release .
    • Two Requests for Proposals are live – one for human services and one for arts and culture. Please visit the NYC COVID-10 Response and Impact Fund site hosted by the New York Community Trust to review eligibility requirements and to apply.
    • No-interest loans are also available to human services and arts and culture nonprofit based in New York City through the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund.
  • Please support @SenatorLankford’s amendment to dramatically expand the universal charitable deduction in the latest relief package being debated now. Sign on to the National Council of Nonprofits letter here.
  • You can help (from a Ramaz alum). “I am a resident doctor on the Upper Westside at Mount Sinai West/St. Lukes and as you can imagine, things have been really intense at the hospital, really intensifying every day. My hospital and all the hospitals are running very low on protective equipment including masks, gloves, gowns, goggles, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes. This is putting the healthcare providers and other patients at risk of getting sick! I was wondering if Ramaz/KJ has any protective equipment to donate and if you could also spread the word to the amazing Ramaz/KJ community to donate any extra equipment they have! They can reach out to me to donate here or they can donate to their local hospital! Ramaz is stepping up and we thank all of the heroes in the medical community who are working so hard to get us through this.

Update: March 20, 2020

Maya Avishai’s au currant COVID Challah is rising in Rechovot.

Update: March 19, 2020

  • Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed an executive order mandating businesses that rely on in-office personnel to decrease their in-office workforce by 75 percent. This follows the Governor’s directive yesterday that all businesses implement work-from-home policies. Click here to see exemptions and other NY steps.
  • The U.S. State Department upgraded its travel warning, advising Americans who do not return “should be prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”
  • Prime Minister Netanyahu tightened the isolation rules in Israel “to save many lives”. For the next seven days, most people leaving their homes will be subject to fines. See more from Israel here.
  • Today, DHS issued “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19” advising such workers, “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.” The list identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing management functions, among others. The industries they support represent, but are not necessarily limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works.
  • Cybersecurity experts note that many bad actors are taking advantage of the crisis. Make sure that your protections are up-t0-date and you are not falling for the multitude of scams circulating. Get more tips from the DHS Cybersecurity mavens here.

Update: March 18, 2020

  • The surge of cases in Orthodox communities and a call from the White House brought clear guidance from their recognized leadership including the Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Corp, Moetzet Gedolai Hatorah, the Bet Din Tzedek of Crown Heights and more.
  • Click here for the NYS confirmed cases page.
  • The Governor and Legislature have an agreement on a bill guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of novel coronavirus.
  • Governor Cuomo signed an executive order directing all schools in New York to close by Wednesday, March 18 for two weeks ending April 1.
  • Casinos, gyms, theaters are closed until further notice.
  • Bars and restaurants are closed, but takeout can be ordered during the period of closure.
  • Strongly advise only services and businesses that are essential stay open after 8:00PM
    • Groceries
    • Gas stations
    • Pharmacies
    • Medical facilities
  • All local governments must reduce their workforce by at least 50%. Non-essential state workers are working from home.
  • New York State is waiving all park fees in state, local and county parks.
  • Testing is free for all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider.

Update: March 17, 2020

Update: March 16, 2020

The consensus regarding the need for social distancing is emerging at all levels of government. Today, the CDC issued updated guidance regarding events and gathering. If there is minimal or moderate spread in your community:

  • Cancel events for groups of 250 people or more.
    • Alert! Starting 3/15 and for 8 weeks, CDC recommends all events of 50+ people be cancelled or held virtually. See full recommendation.
  • For organizations that serve people who are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness, cancel events for groups of 10 people or more.

If there is substantial spread in your community, cancel events of any size.

New York State, New York City, Long Island and Westchester are already making recommendations along those lines, including many points of gathering: restaurants and bars must move to take out and delivery services and movie theaters, gyms, and casinos will be closed.  NY State courts will be closing for non-essential functions.

Here are some useful links from our friends at NYCVOAD:

  • Report cases of COVID-19 at your agency to DOHMH’s NYC Provider Access Line at 866-692-3641.
  • According to HSC, organizations can order cleaning supplies and medical supplies in bulk from the NYS Preferred Source Program’s website. Soaps and sanitizers can be found here. General cleaning supplies can be found here.
  • The Lawyer’s Alliance has guidance for nonprofits to protect themselves, including HR practices.  This was last updated on 3/10.
  • Linked In has online trainings for people working remotely, like time management.
  • Some tech companies are offering free access to tech services:
  • Waivers and Services available to the public
    • Evictions – NYC Courts announced a moratorium on evictions in NYC and suspended the issuance of new eviction warrants when a tenant fails to appear in court.
    • Water Service – DEP has suspended water service shut-offs and shutdowns for:
      • Failure to comply with Cross Connection
      • Orders to Cease and desist due to non-compliance
        • Note: Routine shutdowns due to emergencies, construction and repair will continue as normal.

Update: March 12, 2020


Update: March 11, 2020

  • “We have got to assume it is going to get worse and worse and worse.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, issued a stark warning to lawmakers that the coronavirus would continue spreading rapidly in the U.S. His comments came within hours of the World Health Organization declaring the outbreak a pandemic, confirming what many epidemiologists have been saying for weeks.
  • Today, Governor Cuomo announced a new cooperative effort with New York business leaders to voluntarily implement different work shifts and telecommuting in an effort to reduce density. Most SUNY and CUNY classes will be moved online, joining Columbia, NYU and many other higher education institutions.
  • Our best advice is that schools in our community that are not already closed by health authorities should plan for the eventuality that the pandemic could get worse. Those organizations that are able to use staggered hours and telecommuting should consider how they could implement their plans. Many organizations are canceling meetings or moving them to conference calls or Zoom.
  • In New York City, the Hebrew Free Loan Society announced that is offering a Coronavirus Financial Bridge Loan, of $2,000-$5,000 interest-free, for individuals with financial challenges caused by the outbreak. “For many working people in New York City and the surrounding area, several weeks without pay can quickly lead to a financial crisis,” the agency stated. For information about the loans: See other Jewish Week COVID-19 Updates here, Forward here.

Update: March 10, 2020

  • Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today accepted the recommendation of State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker for new emergency measures to contain the novel coronavirus cluster in New Rochelle. The area currently has 108 confirmed cases and is considered a “cluster.” The protocols include closing schools, houses of worship and other large gathering facilities within a one-mile radius in New Rochelle for a two-week period, from Thursday, March 12th to Wednesday, March 25th. The Governor has deployed National Guard troops to a Health Department command post in New Rochelle to assist with the outbreak. The troops are mobilizing to deliver food to homes and help with cleaning public spaces in the containment area. The Governor confirmed 31 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 173 confirmed cases in New York State (New York City: 36 (17 new), Nassau: 19 (2 new), Rockland: 6 (2 new)). Here is the transcript. 
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke about the high risk COVID-19 poses to seniors and noted that a coordinated task force of representatives from DOHMH, DFTA, NYCHA, HPD, HDC, NYCEM, and PEU are having daily meetings regarding the City’s elderly population. Read his transcript here.

Update: March 9, 2020

  • Governor Cuomo announced that 142 people in NY State tested positive for Coronovirus.
  • Today, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu announced, “”After a day of complex discussions, we have made a decision: Whoever arrives in Israel from abroad will enter quarantine for 14 days. This is a difficult decision but it is essential to maintaining public health, which takes precedence over everything. This decision will be in effect for two weeks. At the same time, we will make decisions to safeguard the Israeli economy.” See Israel’s Ministry of Health Coronavirus webpage here.
  • The New York Jewish Week has a Coronavirus Update covering developments in the story, including closings.
  • Recommendations from Mayor de Blasio:
    • Currently (March 8) 19 New York City residents are under mandatory quarantine and 2,176 are under voluntary home isolation. Those under mandatory quarantine receive daily calls and twice weekly unannounced visits by DOHMH. Upon identification, all individuals under voluntary home isolation will receive calls and texts with information and reminders to call a doctor or DOHMH if they feel sick or develop symptoms, such as fever and cough or shortness of breath.
    • To reduce overcrowding, the New York City is advising private-sector employers and employees to consider telecommuting where possible and to consider staggered start times for workers. Those who take the subways at rush hour should consider commuting to work via alternative modes of transportation, like biking or walking, if possible.
    • New York City is advising those with chronic lung disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or a weakened immune system to avoid unnecessary events and gatherings. If you have family or friends who have one of these conditions, do not visit them if you feel sick. Those with a history of smoking and vaping are more likely to experience serious illness related to COVID-19.
    • New York City agencies will be hosting another Community & Faith Leaders COVID-19 call which is scheduled for Thursday, March 12 at 2:00 PM. As a reminder this call is hosted by the NYC Department of Health and NYC Emergency Management Community Outreach Bureau. All guests will be muted and should email with questions. The call will start with a COVID-19 Updates followed by Q+A. The dial in number is (800) 832-0736. The room number (access code) for all the users is 5245195.
  • As our institutions adapt their Purim activities, we urge them  to consider business continuity plans. Here are two resources from Nonprofit New York:
  • The Israel Trauma Coalition distributed Advice for parents/caregivers to help Israeli families cope with the stresses arising from the spread of COVID-19 and to strengthen their resilience. The advice is transferable to our communities. English | Russian
  • Mazel tov! (JTA) Yeshiva University’s men’s basketball team continued its record-breaking season with a dominant second-round win in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Maccabees notched a 102-83 victory Saturday night over Penn State Harrisburg for Y.U.’s 29th straight win. The team is 29-1 this season. The game took place in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins University’s 1,100-seat Goldfarb Gym. Due to concerns about coronavirus cases in Maryland, spectators were not permitted to attend the game.

Update: March 8, 2020

  • Governor Cuomo declared a State of Emergency to help New York more quickly and effectively contain the spread of the virus. There are 16 additional confirmed cases of #Coronavirus in NYS, bringing total to 105. Westchester: 82 NYC: 12 Nassau: 5 Rockland: 2 Saratoga: 2 Suffolk: 1 Ulster: 1
  • On Friday, Governor Cuomo said he doesn’t believe it is necessary at this point for most New Yorkers to avoid sporting events, concerts and other crowded venues. But, he said, “my message would be if you are a senior citizen or immunocompromised I would think seriously about attending a large gathering now. I said that to my mother.” In general, seniors should also consider whether they should fly or board cruises.
  • Travel. Around the world, countries are taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Before you travel, be sure to check the CDC travel website for late-breaking information.
  • Students and staff in BOTH SAR Academy and SAR High School are now under precautionary quarantine through Monday, March 16 based on the last possible exposure of a positive case within our buildings. They are ordered not to leave their homes. SAR will provide families with the reading of the Megillah via Zoom.
  • Cybersecurity. The Department of Homeland Security CISA recommends the as organizations explore various alternate workplace options in response to COVID-19, CISA recommends examining security of information technology systems by taking the following steps:
    • Secure systems that enable remote access.
      • Ensure Virtual Private Network and other remote access systems are fully patched.
      • Enhance system monitoring to receive early detection and alerts on abnormal activity.
      • Implement multi-factor authentication.
      • Ensure all remote machines have properly configured firewalls, as well as anti-malware and intrusion prevention software installed.
    • Test remote access solutions capacity or increase capacity.
    • Increase awareness of information technology support mechanisms for employees who work remotely.
    • Update incident response plans to consider workforce changes in a distributed environment.

  • Agudath Israel’s program – Keeping Healthy, Keeping Calm – offered Halachic and general guidance for what we can and should be doing in the wake of recent developments in the Jewish community with regard to Coronavirus. The presenters included: Rabbi Zev Cohen,
    Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD (Chair of the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau, Chief of Infectious Diseases & Epidemiologist and Assistant Rabbi at Young Israel of Woodmere and Anshei Chesed) and Dr. Norman Blumenthal (Zachter Family Chair in Trauma and Crisis Counseling and Director of OHEL Miriam Center for Trauma, Bereavement and Crisis Response). Access the Recording via this link.
  • Rabbi at synagogue at center of NY outbreak diagnosed with coronavirus | Rabbi Reuven Fink, who also teaches at Yeshiva University, has been in quarantine after he was in contact with congregant who tested positive, institution says in tweet.

New Rochelle Young Israel Synagogue in Westchester County, New York (Google Maps)

His comments came within hours of the World Health Organization declaring the outbreak a pandemic, confirming what many epidemiologists have been saying for weeks.
The Wall Street Journal.

Update: March 5, 2020.

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) held a joint private sector engagement teleconference with the Department of Health and Hunan Services (HHS) earlier today. COVID-19 is an expanding global outbreak – with community spread occurring internationally and in the United States. An HHS official reported 60 cases in 12 states at the time of the call. The virus’ spread and actions taken by business to mitigate transmission have the effect of exacerbating cyber security risk due to:
    • Cyber criminals exploiting fear and desire for information to perpetrate phishing campaigns; and
    • Expanded use of remote connections to support broader telecommuting.
  • During a briefing on the novel coronavirus, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today confirmed 11 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the total to 22 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 22 individuals who tested positive for the virus, one resides in Nassau County, three reside in New York City and 18 reside in Westchester County. In response to the growing number of cases, the Governor activated the statewide Emergency Operation Center in Albany, as well as two Emergency Operations Center outposts in Westchester County: one in Hawthorne and one in New Rochelle.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio today updated New Yorkers on the City’s response efforts regarding COVID-19. As community transmission increases, the Mayor is reminding New Yorkers to take basic precautions while going about their lives: wash your hands, cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, stay home if you are sick and call your doctor if you experience the following symptoms: fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. Additionally, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene is asking New Yorkers who return from the following countries to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution: China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan.
  • Get some practical advice for staff who perform general cleaning and disinfection  from DOHMH’s  General Disinfection Guidance for Businesses and Non-Healthcare Settings. Also check out their Schools and Families Guidance for Novel Coronavirus.
  • As the coronavirus continues to spread, JFNA has compiled resources and other materials to help Federation communities stay informed and make important decisions related to missions, events and other programs.
  • Download and distribute the coronovirus flyer prepared by the CDC-  What to do if you are sick with the coronavirus disease.
  • See a featured post from the Times of Israel blog on Rabbinic leadership in the age of coronavirus with an overview of some rabbinic opinions.

Update: March 4, 2020.

UPDATE: We have learned of 5 new confirmed cases of #COVID19, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 11.

The cases are all in a single family from New Rochelle: A 46yo woman, her 45yo husband, and 3 of their children.

The entire family is under self-quarantine.

— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 4, 2020

City disease detectives are on campus to identify close contacts of the student and connect those individuals to testing immediately. As of this morning, two contacts have transferred to Bellevue hospital for testing.

— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 4, 2020

  • Today’s NYC COVID-19 report.
  • New resources: The Jewish Education Project has a resources page, including and excellent webinar and free access to a distant learning app for schools.
  • From SAR/ Young Israel of New Rochelle: The Westchester County Health Commissioner, Dr. Sherlita Amler, wrote the following in a letter to the Young Israel of New Rochelle community: “A quarantine means that both adults and children should remain at home. This means they should not go to work, attend school, go shopping or attend religious services or gatherings anywhere, and should have no guests, visitors or staff in their homes during this period.” According to NYSDOH, if people in self-quarantine begin exhibiting flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, etc), they should contact their physician immediately and call one of hotlines…” (See above) As per Governor Cuomo and NYSDOH, SAR High School will remain closed through Purim day and will re-open on Wednesday, March 11. SAR Academy will remain closed through Friday, March 6 and will re-open on Monday, March 9. In addition, under the direction of Governor Cuomo and NYSDOH, all High School students and faculty are asked to self-quarantine through Friday, March 6 as a precaution so that the Department of Health can better understand how quickly this infection is spreading through the community.
  • From Yeshiva University: We have unfortunately received news this morning that our student has tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as well as to all those affected. We are taking every precaution by canceling all classes on Wilf Campus in Washington Heights for Wednesday March 4, 2020. This includes all in-person graduate courses on that campus as well as at the boys’ high school.
  • Israel’s Ministry of Health confirmed an additional three cases, leading hundreds of Israelis to be placed in isolation.
  • Religious organizations: Many synagogues have asked us for guidance about upcoming events. We have been in touch with all of the major streams of Judaism and there is absolute consensus that synagogues should comply with the orders of their local health officials. That being said, see materials from the URJ here and the USCJ here. The RCA, OU and Yeshiva University will hold a conference call for rabbis on the subject tomorrow and the Agudath Israel is working on recommendations.

Update: March 3, 2020.

  • Jewish patient zero. A New Rochelle resident is the second New Yorker to test positive for COVID-19. He was transferred from a hospital in Bronxville to a facility in New York City. At the direction of New York State, Westchester County Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler directed that [Temple] Young Israel in New Rochelle halt all services immediately and for the foreseeable future due to potential COVID-19 exposure connected to the man who tested positive today.

Additionally, congregants of the Temple who attended services on February 22, and a funeral and a bat mitzvah at the temple on February 23 must self-quarantine until at the very earliest March 8.   Those who do not self-quarantine will be mandated to by the County Department of Health to do so.

  • SAR Academy, Westchester Day School and the Westchester Torah Academy all suspended classes for the day. One of the children of the New Rochelle man is a student at SAR High School. All of the schools are working with the appropriate health officials.
  • Another son is an undergraduate student at Yeshiva University. Yeshiva University reports that he has not been on campus since February 27th and is in quarantine with the other members of his family. Health officials are testing all family members for COVID-19. In addition, employees of the patient’s law firm are also quarantined, including a Cardozo student. The University is disinfecting all relevant common areas.
  • Governor Cuomo announced that he will amend the Paid Sick Leave Budget Proposal to specifically protect people who stay home from work because they are being isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19. The state will institute a new cleaning protocol at schools and in the public transportation system to help stop any potential spread of the virus.

Update: March 1, 2020. The spectre of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) hangs over individuals and organizations. The Jewish Insider reports on the scene at the AIPAC conference: “As attendees buzz about the latest developments with the coronavirus, many are opting to replace handshakes, hugs and fist bumps with the elbow bump. For its part, AIPAC is distributing thousands of travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer…” It is a respiratory illness spread from person to person, first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.How can I help protect myself? The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Get your flu shot — it’s not too late.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should

  • Contact your health care provider for guidance.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Community and organizational measuresOn March 1, 2020 officials announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in New York City. Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot:“While we hoped this moment wouldn’t come, it was something we prepared for. Our disease detectives have already identified close contacts of the patient, who may have been exposed, and will take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Despite this development, New Yorkers remain at low risk for contracting COVID-19. As we confront this emerging outbreak, we need to separate facts from fear, and guard against stigma and panic.”

If COVID-19 cases reach a certain level, state and local public health authorities may decide to implement:

  • Temporary closures or dismissals of childcare facilities and schools;
  • Other social distancing measures that increase the physical space between people, including:
    • Workplace social distancing measures, such as replacing in-person meetings with teleworking; and
    • Modifying, postponing, or cancelling mass gatherings.

Planning aheadThere is no need to panic, there is a need to plan. So what are the implications of temporary closures and/or social distancing? Consider what such steps would mean to your organizations.

  • Promote the behaviors that  help people protect themselves.
  • Authorities might suggest that we avoid mass transit. Can your employees work remotely?
  • Define your “mission critical” functions, i.e., what needs to get done — no matter what. That will vary from organization to organization, but think about payroll and payables. If you supply healthcare aids to the frail elderly or meals-0n-wheels you will need a more robust plan.
  • Do you have mass gatherings on your calendar (possibly including religious services)? Do you have a backup plan?
  • What about domestic or international travel? Are those trips necessary? Be sure to monitor U.S. State Department Travel Advisories at Travel.State.Gov.
  • Have you educated your employees and constituencies about how to protect themselves and others (see above)?
  • Have you reviewed and implemented the CDC Guidance for schools and employers? Have you notified your constituencies about your interim policies?

Additional resources: