COVID-19 update: Disaster loans should be available to victims of looting, says Velázquez
On the front lines of the war on COVID-19, there are many civilian heroes going out of their way, as volunteers and contributors. Also, many who are elected to serve are going the extra mile. In this column the Eagle hopes to give our readers an ongoing update on those fighting in the front lines.
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez has written Gov. Andrew Cuomo urging him to officially designate damage from recent looting of small businesses a disaster. Doing so would allow impacted New York City small businesses to apply for federal disaster loans through the Small Business Administration. “Through no fault of their own, many small firms, who were already disproportionately affected by the economic disaster caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, are now also the victims of these attacks on their storefronts, resulting in broken windows, stolen merchandise, and graffiti tags,” Velázquez wrote. “Without disaster loans, many of these small businesses will face even greater challenges recovering given they are also navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and concomitant economic crisis.” The full letter may be found here.
Attorney General Letitia James on Monday announced that the Attorney General’s Office will make its Election Protection Hotline available for the upcoming June 23 election and during New York’s early voting period, which lasts from June 13 to June 21. The hotline will be available to troubleshoot and resolve a range of issues encountered by voters, including voting by absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 crisis or in-person at their polling place. “No one should have to choose between their health and their right to vote,” said Attorney General James. “Due to COVID-19, New Yorkers across the state are navigating new changes in how to cast their ballots in upcoming elections.”
Bend and Bloom Yoga is livestreaming its first year of Yoga in the Park, a series of virtual yoga classes, so that even during quarantine, yoga practitioners can have the opportunity to relax in nature. Classes started this past Thursday, with over 600+ people registering from around the U.S. Classes are free on Thursday evenings from 7-8 p.m. EST now through September 3rd live via Zoom and are held remotely in Prospect Park, safely distanced from the public. Each week, classes are led by a different Brooklyn-based yoga instructor, all from different studios.
As the new tax filing date of July 15 quickly approaches, U.S. Rep. Max Rose on Friday called on the IRS to extend the federal tax filing deadline three more months, to October 15. Rose cited concerns he’s heard from constituents and small businesses that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the July date is still far too soon. “As the newly imposed deadline for filing and paying federal taxes approaches, taxpayers are distressed, and reasonably so,” Rose wrote in a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. “The prospect of paying the entirety of taxes owed by July 15, or incur interest and penalties should they file an extension, is daunting.”
The MTA is piloting the use of Ultraviolet disinfection technology across entire train sets. The pilot is initially focused on identifying ways to eradicate COVID-19 in rolling stock, including trains at Corona, Coney Island, Jamaica and Pelham Maintenance Shops. “We continue to move full speed ahead with our efforts to explore any and every idea that might help keep our system safe during these challenging times,” said Senior Vice President for Subways at New York City Transit Sally Librera. “Ultraviolet technology is one of many outside-the-box ideas we’re pursuing to disinfect the system. I look forward to continuing to expand this pilot and learning more about how ultraviolet technology can best help us moving forward.”
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer has released the Annual Claims Report, covering data for 2019 Fiscal Year. The Claims Report includes breakdowns of personal injury and property damage claims as well as other categories of claims filed against the City and settlement costs paid by the City in the past fiscal year. “As our City grapples with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to be smart and strategic about how we’re using taxpayer dollars. That’s why we believe in taking a data-driven approach to the City claims process to measure tangible results and identify areas for improvement,” said Stringer.
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