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The Week in Covid-19 (3/20/20): Brooklyn, Here's Everything You Need to Know so Far

Gov. Cuomo announced Friday that New York residents are ordered to stay indoors as much as possible to curb the spread of coronavirus
Photo: Terri Sharp from Pixabay

On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York residents are now ordered to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid the spread of coronavirus, and if they do leave the house — whether to do essential shopping or to exercise — they must stay six feet away from each other.

The order is the state's most drastic measure yet since the start of coronavirus crisis in New York City, and national guard are being deployed now to ensure the order is enforced.

Despite the governor's insistence this week that a lockdown, quarantine or "sheltering-in" order was not happening-- he called it rumors-- for all intents and purposes, this is what this is. And it goes into effect Sunday night.

All employees of nonessential businesses-- such as city transportation or healthcare services-- must remain at home.

But with the number of cases in New York State rising at such a fast rate, few will argue against Cuomo. He made the right decision.

  • As of Friday, March 20, there are 16,366 cases of novel coronavirus in the United States, according to CNN Health's tally of US cases. All 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, have detected coronavirus infections. So far, 215 people have died.
  • New York performed 10,000 tests overnight, bringing the total number of people tested in the state to 32,427. About 1,250 people are hospitalized, an 18 percent hospitalization rate
  • As of Friday afternoon, there have been at least 7,102 confirmed cases of the coronavirus discovered in New York, including 4,408 in New York City.
  • At least 35 people with COVID-19 have died in the state, which has the largest number of confirmed cases in the country.

Current Orders and Regulations in New York City and State

  • Banks will waive mortgage payments for 90 days and suspend foreclosures. Eligibility is based on financial hardship. Late payment fees and ATM overdraft fees are also suspended.
  • The New York City Department of Education is asking for volunteers for the city's Regional Enrichment Center to care for the children of NYC's first responders, health care workers, and transit workers. Fill out the application here.
  • New York City is mobilizing a surge staffing corps of about 9,000 licensed/retired medical professionals who can respond if increased healthcare system capacity is needed. If you're a licensed/retired medical professional, sign up here. 
  • Other volunteer opportunities are also available.
  • All New York City public schools are closed until at least Monday, April 20th, with remote learning beginning Monday, March 23rd. School sites are open for grab-and-go meals this week, from 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM, outside of main entrances of every school building.
  • Remote learning for students will begin, Monday, March 23rd.  The NYC Department of Education will provide computers and internet access to every student who needs it. Call (718) 935-5100 (press 5).
  • Retail shopping malls, amusement parks, and bowling alleys will close at 8:00 PM today.
  • All gyms, casinos, theaters, museums, cultural centers, night clubs, and concert venues are closed.
  • Restaurants, bars, and cafés will only serve food in the form of take-out and delivery.
  • Non-essential businesses are urged to close by 8:00 PM, excluding groceries, gas stations, medical facilities, and pharmacies.
  • The US Census Bureau has suspended all 2020 Census field operations until April 1st; please fill out the Census online and #MakeBrooklynCount.
  • The New York Stock Exchange will temporarily close the trading floor and move to all electronic trading beginning Monday, March 23rd.
  • All NYC Parks recreation and nature centers are closed to the public until further notice. Comfort stations in parks will remain open and regularly cleaned throughout New York City.
  • New York City's first drive-thru testing site opens in Staten Island, by appointment only.  Call (888) 364-3065.
  • Governor Cuomo has required non-exempt essential service businesses staying open to permits only 25 percent of a company's workforce in person at any given time.
  • Governor Cuomo signed the guarantee paid leave bill into law for New Yorkers under mandatory or precautionary quarantine. This order excludes essential services such as pharmacies, medical facilities, supermarkets, and the shipping industry.
  • President Trump signed a $100 billion relief bill into law to ensure free testing for every American, regardless of health insurance.
  • Telehealth services will be covered for those on Medicare. Call (800) 633-4227 or your doctor for more information.  Medicare now covers telehealth services without federal approval. If you need health with medical services, call 311.
  • The MTA remains open.  The Staten Island Ferry will continue to operate.
  • Alternate Side Parking (ASP) is suspended through March 24th. Parking meters are still in effect.
  • The federal government has sent a hospital ship to dock in New York Harbor, the USNS Comfort, which has about 1,000 rooms.
  • The New York City Department of Sanitation has closed all Special Waste Drop-Off sites until further notice.
  • Rideshares and car pools have been banned by executive order.  With the exception of families, there can only be one passenger per vehicle.
  • Parents and guardians of students with disabilities should send any questions to
  • The City will be opening an initial 100 centers to provide for the care and instruction of City workers' children.
  • The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office will stop prosecuting low-level offenses "that do not jeopardize public safety."
  • The US Treasury has announced that Americans have until July 15th to file their 2019 returns for up to $1 million in income. I have called on New York State to do the same.
  • A halt on all public gatherings of 50 or more persons is in effect.
  • Interest payments on federal student loans have been suspended.
  • Sussman Education is offering FREE distance learning programs if you do not have access to their paid services: Study Island, Study Island for Home, and EdOption Academy.
  • Edmentum Online Learning has a number of FREE services that support remote learning.
  • Teq has offered their professional development platform for FREE; educators can sign up for this service on their website.
  • All Brooklyn Public Library branches are closed until Tuesday, March 31st, visit their website for virtual storytimes and cultural programming.
  • All senior centers are closed except for grab-and-go meal pickup.
  • All hospitals will be ordered to cancel their elective surgeries.
  • A statewide eviction moratorium is currently in effect, including residential and commercial properties as well as foreclosures, according to the Office of Court Administration.
  • All in-person visits to City jails have been suspended.
  • Utilities have been ordered to not shut off service for gas, water, or electricity.
  • If you see price gouging, report it to 1 (800) 697-1220, fill out the complaint form on the New York State Attorney General's website, or email
  • All Brooklyn community boards and police precincts have postponed/cancelled their meetings.
  • Visit the New York City Department of Small Business Services for information on relief available for businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

Finally, if you are feeling sick, please wait three to four days before contacting a doctor. Use telemedicine services BEFORE going to the doctor's office, urgent care, or the ER. Thanks to our advocacy and Governor Cuomo's leadership, co-pays for telemedicine consultations have been eliminated due to COVID-19. For urgent care telemedicine, utilize NewYork-PresbyterianMount Sinai, or NYU Langone. For mental health telemedicine, reach out to Columbia Doctors. For diabetes telemedicine, reach out to NYC Health + Hospitals. If you know of other NYC services, email

*Thank you to the office of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for compiling much of the information in this list. For more updates and resources, you can visit the BP's coronavirus online update here.