New York City is in Phase 4 of reopening now, which includes zoos, botanical gardens, and professional sports (without fans). A look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is ourregularly updated coronavirus FAQ. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.
Here's the latest:
- Cuomo Calls Trump's Unemployment Relief Order "Laughable" And "Impossible"
- Trump's NJ Golf Club Members Defy Mask-Wearing, Social Distancing Protocol
- With The $600 Weekly Federal Assistance Gone, Here Are Some Resources For Unemployed New Yorkers In Need
- Some NYC Teachers Say They’re In The Dark On How To Reopen Their Classrooms
5 p.m.: The economic fallout due to coronavirus is putting renters nationwide into an increasingly tough spot.
Bloomberg's CityLab reports a new U.S. Census Bureau survey shows 34 percent of renters in the U.S. had little to no confidence they'd have the cash to pay August's rent, just as the $600 weekly pandemic payments expired.
The survey found 27 percent missed rent or mortgage payments in July. The highest rates of missed payments, above 31 percent, are concentrated in Southern states, Nevada, and New York, according to the Household Pulse Survey.
The troubling nationwide numbers come on the heels of the end of the national eviction moratorium that helped some tenants. In New York, many tenants are anxiously awaiting updated guidance on how courts will handle evictions moving forward.
Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo's order that gave way for the courts system to continue a pause on pre-pandemic eviction warrants was extended to September 4th. The Office of Court Administration spokesperson told Law360 on Friday the eviction moratorium guidance "continues to be in effect," but has not yet announced new guidance tied to the governor's eleventh hour executive order.
Some 14,000 households face eviction warrants from January, February, and March of this year, according to an analysis by the Department of Social Services. Should the moratorium entirely lift, they would not be protected under a recent law halting evictions for families who suffered financial hardship during coronavirus.
On Saturday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order saying it is "the policy of the United States to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, residential evictions and foreclosures" during the crisis, but the order failed to provide any funding for renters or mortgage-holders. The order directs the heads of the Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to "consider" whether measures on halting evictions are "reasonably necessary." It also directs the Treasury and Housing and Urban Development heads to "identify any and all available Federal funds" for renters and homeowners.
Cuomo Calls Trump's Unemployment Relief Order "Laughable" And "Impossible"
1:15 p.m.: President Donald Trump's latest memorandum that ostensibly reduces federal unemployment benefits to $400 a week is "laughable" and "impossible" for New York State to comply with, Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a press call on Sunday.
On Saturday, Trump signed a memorandum reducing unemployment benefits from $600 to $400 a week after the initial federally-funded payments lapsed last month. But the federal government would only fund 75 percent of it.
States would have to pay 25 percent of the new weekly $400 payment, already criticized as legally questionable.
"The concept of saying to states, you pay 25 percent of the unemployment insurance, is just laughable," Cuomo said from Albany on Sunday.
The new unemployment order—as 1.5 million people continue to collect benefits in New York—would cost New York $4 billion, Cuomo said.
"What the president has done has made it impossible, impossible on the states," Cuomo said. "This is going to have to be resolved. I don't know if the president is genuine in thinking the executive order is a resolution, or if this is just a tactic in the negotiation, but this irreconcilable for the state."
"I suspect this is just a chapter in the book of Washington COVID mismanagement," Cuomo said. "[Trump] can't do it with an executive order. It's on shaky ground, legally, but even to the extent that he's executed executive orders, they aren't going to meet the demand."
In addition to the unemployment benefits reduction, Trump ordered federal agencies to evaluate if a federal eviction moratorium is needed; deferred interest payments on federal student loans until the end of the year; and delayed payroll taxes for workers making less than $104,000 a year for September to December, the Washington Post reports. Trump wants the payroll tax delay to be made permanent -- a move that would impact funds for safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare.
During a mask-free press conference on Saturday from New Jersey (see below), Trump blamed Democrats for the unemployment benefits extension being done via executive action instead of through legislation passed by Congress, though it was Republicans who initially wanted to slash the pandemic payments to $200 a week.
In response to Trump's announcement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Saturday the president "still does not comprehend the seriousness or the urgency of the health and economic crises facing working families."
"These policy announcements provide little real help to families," Pelosi and Schumer said. "For instance, not only does the President's announcement not actually extend the eviction moratorium, it provides no assistance to help pay the rent, which will only leave desperate families to watch their debt pile higher."
Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have repeatedly slammed the federal government for lack of substantial coronavirus relief for city and state governments.
New York State faces a $30 billion budget hole over the next two years without federal aid. Some state lawmakers have demanded the governor support taxes they say would raise $35 billion—but those measures involve taxing the ultra-rich, and the governor has refused to support the measures, claiming the rich will flee the state.
In New York, the coronavirus testing positivity rate dipped to .78 percent—which was the lowest since the beginning of the pandemic—amounting to 515 positive tests 65,812 tests reported on Saturday. Seven people died of coronavirus on Saturday statewide.
Trump's NJ Golf Club Members Defy Mask-Wearing, Social Distancing Protocol
During a press conference on Saturday at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club, President Donald Trump publicized his legally dubious move to expand various pandemic-related relief measures and signed executive actions for them. While it's unclear that the president actually has the power to enact these orders, Trump was, when questioned by a reporter about the lack of social distancing and mask-wearing at the event, unbothered by the specter of the pandemic that has now afflicted more than 5 million Americans and claimed at least 162,455 lives.
New Jersey recently rolled back indoor gatherings to 25 people; previously, it had allowed for 25% of indoor capacity or 100 people maximum. However, NJ says, "Weddings, funerals, memorial services, and religious and political activities protected under the First Amendment must be limited to 100 people or 25% of a room's capacity -- whichever number is lower. All attendees at indoor gatherings must wear face coverings and stay six feet apart."
At the Trump National Golf Club on Saturday, a reporter asked,"You said that the pandemic is disappearing, but we lost 6,000 Americans this week. And just in this room, you have dozens of people who are not following the guidelines in New Jersey which say you should not have more than 25 people," adding, "Why are you setting such a bad example?"
According to NJ.com, Trump answered that the guests "pretty much all have masks on," and explained, "You know, you have an exclusion in the law. It says — exactly — ‘political activity’ or ‘peaceful protests.’ And you can call it ‘political activity,’ but I’d call it ‘peaceful protests’ because they heard you were coming up. And they know the news is fake. They understand it better than anybody."
The reporter was booed by Trump supporters who cheered the president on, according to the White House press pool report. At another event at the golf club on Friday night, guests were seen without masks; according to the Washington Post, "Some people had their temperatures checked at the door; many didn’t. The group or more than 100 mingled in one small section of the 5,000 square-foot ballroom, with mere inches between each person."
Regarding the executive orders, the NY Times reports, "It was not clear what authority Mr. Trump had to act on his own on the measures or what immediate effect, if any, they would have, given that Congress controls federal spending." Or, as a CNN political analyst put it, "Any schoolkid will tell you, assuming they go back to school, that Congress passes laws and the White House enacts them. "