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COVID-19 Update: May 31

COVID-19 Relief Legislation

The Assembly returned to session this week to pass vital legislation that will help New Yorkers during this unprecedented public health crisis. This includes measures that will help families stay in their homes, protect critical library and school funding, ensure unemployed workers receive the benefits they need and protect health care workers and at-risk populations.

During the past several weeks, I’ve been working hard in our community to assist my constituents in any way I can, and my Assembly colleagues have been doing the same. From helping individuals navigate the unemployment insurance process to setting up food drives and testing sites, we’ve all been working together to help one another through this difficult time.

Along with others passed in a package of relief bills for small businesses was legislation I introduced,A.10409, which authorizes governments to issue a single resolution extending all building permits and zoning approvals issued before March 7, 2020, for an additional 120 days.

Legislationthat would allow for industrial development agencies (IDAs) to implement a state disaster emergency loan program that provides up to $25,000 loans to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations was also passed. IDAs would also be authorized to offer grants for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and other fixtures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

BillA.10522which established the Emergency Rent Relief Act of 2020 was also passed, this legislation creates a short-term rental assistance program for renters whose income was less than 80% of the area median income (AMI) and spent more than 30% of their income on rent prior to March 7.  Using federal money from the CARES Act, vouchers would be paid directly to landlords to cover rent through July. $100 million would be made available for the program and preference is given to households with the greatest economic and social need. Read more about this billon my blog here.

The measures we passed this week are an important first step, but there’s still much more work to be done to help our families, friends and neighbors weather these unprecedented challenges.

Phase 2 Guidance Released

Guidance for Phase 2 reopening has been updated on the NY Forward website here. Phase 2 of reopening includes:

  • offices

  • real estate

  • essential and phase II in-store retail

  • vehicle sales, leases, and rentals

  • retail rental, repair, and cleaning

  • commercial building management

  • hair salons and barbershops

To read more about specific industry guidelines visit

Economic Impact Payment Update

The IRS recently announced that some Economic Impact payments may be sent on a prepaid debit card known as The Economic Impact Payment Card  The Economic Impact Payment Card is sponsored by the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, managed by Money Network Financial, LLC and issued by Treasury’s financial agent, MetaBank®, N.A.

If you receive an Economic Impact Payment Card, it will arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.”  The Visa name will appear on the front of the Card; the back of the Card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A.

Information included with the Card will explain that the card is your Economic Impact Payment Card.  You can visitEIPcard.comfor more information.

Adventure at Home - Local Recreation Activities 

The Department of Environmental Conservation is hosting a virtual series called Adventure at Home, designed to help New Yorkers find ways to take advantage of outdoor recreational activities in their own communities. This week, Fish NY staff offered tips and tricks on how to get started fishing from anywhere in the state. State parks, trails and beaches remain open for safe and socially distanced walking, hiking, biking and more.

Mask Requirement Executive Order

Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order that permits store owners to deny entry to people who refuse to wear masks. Many stores have already implemented policies to this effect, and this order clarifies that they are within their rights to do so. Widespread mask-wearing is an effective tool against Coronavirus.

City of Albany Parking Ticket Late Fees and Credit Card Fees Removed

City of Albany Treasurer, Darius Shahinfar announces parking ticket late fees and credit card fees will be removed through June 30, 2020.

To remove late fees, individuals must first request the fee removal.  Tickets may be searched and viewed online at license plate, ticket or vehicle identification numbers, or by calling (518) 434-5006.

The best way to request your fee removal is by e-mail, or via mail at City Hall, Rm. 203 Albany, NY 12207.  When contacting the Bureau, be sure to leave your license plate number and/or your name, phone number, e-mail, or ticket number(s).

Local Restaurants

Remember to support local restaurants and order delivery or take-out from your favorite local spot!

For a comprehensive list of businesses located in the 108th Assembly District who are currently still offering take out or delivery options see below:

City of Albany:

Also, continue to check out theRensselaer County Chamber Facebook Pageand theRensselaer County Tourism Facebook Pagefor daily updates!

Helpful Reminders

  • Unemployment Insurance - The one-week waiting period for Unemployment Insurance claims for workers directly affected by COVID-19 has been eliminated. The Department has also announced that they are changing the unemployment insurance job search requirement that is currently in place. No work search activities will be required during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information check out the DOL page here:

  • Those in need can call 2-1-1 from any phone for a free, confidential referral to resources providing food, shelter, rent assistance, childcare options and other essential services. The helpline is also able to answer questions and provide referrals for COVID-19 related concerns. Simply dial 2-1-1 or visit

  • If you believe your business is an essential service but has not been included on ESD’s list, you can apply for ‘essential service status’ at this link:

  • Charter will be providing free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription (where service is available), at any service level up to 100 Mbps, as well as opening up Charter WiFi Hotspots across our footprint for public use. For more information or to enroll in the program please contact 1-844-488-8395

  • The Capital District YMCA will provide childcare for emergency personnel who do not have the option to work from home, as defined by The New York State Education Department. For more information visit:


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