Manhattan COVID-19 News Roundup, Mar. 24, 2020

COVID-19 molecule
COVID-19 (Credit: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS)

De Blasio Warns of Imminent Equipment Shortages

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: William Alatriste)
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill De Blasio (D) went on CBS New York last Sunday, warning that shortages of key medical equipment needed to treat coronavirus patients would become a problem in ten days. 

Though grateful for the work that FEMA has been doing to contain the pandemic, De Blasio grilled the Trump administration’s handling of it.

“We have seen next to nothing from the federal government at this point,”  said the mayor. “Very, very little has arrived. The military has not been mobilized. The Defense Production Act has not been utilized in any way that I can see. Right now, I have to say, for New York, not just New York City, New York state, I think for a lot of the country, it sure as hell feels like we’re on our own at this point. We are not seeing action from the federal government.”

Johnson Fights Crowding in City Parks

Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

In an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Flatiron, West SoHo, Hudson Square, Meatpacking District, Columbus Circle, Times Square, Theater District, Garment District, Upper West Side) proposed several steps to reduce the number of people in city parks, the Daily News reported Monday.

These steps include removing or disabling barbecues as well as closing all playgrounds and athletic fields until the threat from the virus subsides. 

“We’re a cramped city in a lot of places, and our parks and playgrounds are like our backyards. But overcrowding is a serious issue right now,” Johnson asserted. “We also want to open up streets to pedestrians for exercise and fresh air to offset the loss. This won’t be forever, but we have to do everything we can right now to stop the spread.”

Chin, Et. Al. Seek Help for Street Vendors Amid Coronavirus Fallout

Council Member Margaret Chin
Council Member Margaret Chin

As the coronavirus pandemic has caused foot traffic to dip nationwide, Councilmember Margaret Chin (D-Battery Park City, Civic Center, Chinatown, Financial District, Little Italy, the Lower East Side, NoHo, SoHo, South Street Seaport, South Village, TriBeCa & Washington Square) and seven of her colleagues penned a letter to Mayor Bill De Blasio Tuesday to provide aid to the city’s street vendors who are increasingly struggling due to the slowing of their businesses, Gothamist reported.

The De Blasio administration has called to aid street vendors in the form of grants and loans, but Chin stated that current documentation requirements to obtain such financial relief is not viable for many of them under current laws. 

“Street vendors are primarily low-wage immigrant workers who rely on busy streets in order to survive day to day,” the letter reads. “the documentation requirements of the current grant and loan opportunities offered by NYC Small Business Services are next to impossible for them to meet.”