Chapter News, New York Related News

NYC’s Coronavirus Update from the Mayor’s Office – March 17

A message from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office for International Affairs regarding NYC’s response to COVID-19.


Dear Colleagues,

In an ongoing effort to keep you informed about the City’s response to COVID-19, below are the latest updates from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press conference on March 17, 2020:


A decision HAS NOT yet been made but New Yorkers should prepare for possibility of shelter in place order; that decision may come in the next 48 hours

• A lot of considerations must be made first; the City will work closely with the State to decide if this is the right strategy to implement
• “In my view, I think the right guidance to give all New Yorkers is even though a decision has not been made by the city or by the state, I think New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order…That decision should be made within the next 48 hours.” – Mayor Bill de Blasio, March 17 press conference

 Testing Capacity

Health +Hospital, NYC’s public health care system will partner with Bio-Reference Laboratories to perform 5,000 COVID-19 tests per day; testing with this lab starts Thursday

• The focus will be on tests of those who are hospitalized and the most vulnerable in society

Health Care Guidance

For those who are sick with mild or moderate cold and flu symptoms, please stay home. Do not go to ER or clinic. Those services need to be reserved for the sickest among us.

• If you are experiencing these symptoms, do not go to work or go out socializing
• Wait 3 or 4 days, if symptoms do not improve, call your health care provider for assistance


814 confirmed cases in New York City
7 deaths in New York City

Public Schools

NYC Public Schools are closed until April 20

• Provisions are being made for children of first responders, health care workers and transit workers
• Schools are providing breakfast and lunch for children this week
• New plans will be in place to continue providing meals going forward

Students will begin distance learning programs on March 23

Medical Care

• NYC is mobilizing a Medical Reserve Corp of about 9,000 licensed/retired medical professionals who can respond if increased capacity is needed in our health care system, and we are calling on more qualified New Yorkers to join and serve. You can sign up at

Correction Facilities

City is suspending in-person visits to inmates at Department of Corrections Facilities


City is cancelling the special election for Queens Borough President

Cultural Scene

Restaurants, bars and cafes are now limited to take-out orders and deliveries

Movie theaters, museums, cultural centers, concert venues, clubs and commercial gyms are closed until further notice

Recreation centers, youth programs and afterschool programs are closed to indoor activities; there is still a possibility for outdoor activities

Price Gouging

• The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) has put into place an emergency Rule that makes price gouging illegal for any personal or household good or any service that is needed to prevent or limit the spread of new coronavirus (COVID-19). This Rule is in effect and makes it illegal to increase prices by 10 percent or more for items like face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, soap, tissues, cleaning products, and medicines.
• Any business found to be overcharging on customers 10 percent or more than before COVID-19 will be issued a violation. The fine for price gouging is $500. DCWP encourages consumers who are overcharged to file a complaint at or contact 311 and say “overcharge.”
• DCWP also reminds New Yorkers that they have the right to sick leave and should use it if they are feeling ill. Under the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, employers with five or more employees who work more than 80 hours per calendar year in NYC must provide paid safe and sick leave to employees. Employers with fewer than five employees must provide unpaid safe and sick leave. Covered employees have the right to use safe and sick leave for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member.

Alternate Side Parking

Alternate Side Parking rules are suspended from March 18-24. Payment at parking meters remains in effect.

Staying informed

• The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has a coronavirus factsheet available in 22 languages, as well as updated information and guidance at
There is a lot of misinformation spreading, especially online. For the latest updates, from the City, text COVID to 692-692


NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs