It was just one week ago that crowds flocked to Greenpoint’s parks and popular brunch spots as news of the global pandemic continues to be taken with varying degrees of seriousness, despite Italy’s dire consequences of ignoring the warnings coming from public health experts to practice stringent social distancing.
Warm spring weather may entice people to head outside again this weekend, but as Mayor de Blasio pushed for a ‘shelter in place‘ restriction this week, Governor Cuomo followed California’s lead on Friday in calling for everyone to stay indoors indefinitely.
New York City has emerged as the epicenter of the country’s crisis and it’s imperative that we all do our part to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. That means going outside this weekend, and for the foreseeable future, only for necessities such as food and medicine.
Walking, running and biking outside for exercise are still permitted, but not in groups, and a minimum of six feet between people should be maintained all times.
Brooklyn’s McCarren Park is bustling even as the state goes “on pause” over coronavirus.
“It’s kind of stupid,” a Greenpoint resident said. “I wish people would take it more seriously. Unless they act on closing parks, people will just keep coming.”https://t.co/peRw81tTUE
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) March 21, 2020
Governor Cuomo also announced a new directive on Friday morning requiring all non-essential businesses to close by Saturday at 8 p.m., including barber shops, nail salons and tattoo parlors.
Stores that will remain open include grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, farmer’s markets, all food and beverage/convenience stores and gas stations.
And during this weekend where our new, socially distant coronavirus realty has begun to fully set in, it’s time to pick up the pieces and help wherever possible.
Greenpoints’ beloved restaurants are shuttering at a rapid rate as hard working employees loose their jobs en masse; the restaurants hanging on for dear life have moved to takeout only. For those seeking a quick way to offer support, a crowdsourced list of restaurants is available here (feel free to add to the list) with links to purchase gift cards and make donations.
Now is also the time to volunteer and give to organizations helping to feed the hungry such as North Brooklyn Angels who are seeking volunteers to help power for their angelmobile, which distributes free healthy meals locally.
Starting Sunday (3/22), every NY resident must work from home and exemptions include those working in “shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions,” according to NYC Health.
While skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers are considered essential services, construction workers are also in the same category and concerned residents continue to send in footage of the neighborhoods’ active construction sites where social distancing is allegedly not practiced, including Greenpoint Landing.
As worries over mass layoffs and lack of wages grow, Governor Cuomo responded by introducing a 90-day mortgage relief plan that includes waived mortgage payments based on financial hardship, and waived fees for overdrafts, ATMs and credit cards.
Local leaders are now urging for renters who make up the majority of NYC residents to be bailed out as well. State Assembly candidate Emily Gallagher held a tenants rights virtual town hall on Friday calling for the suspension of rent collection during the coronavirus crisis.
Assembly Member Joe Lentol also introduced rent forgiveness legislation on Friday that would enable landlords to receive a property tax reduction if they offer rent forgiveness or a discount to their tenants.