Saturday, August 15, 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces New York State Will Provide Health Personnel to Allow 9/11 Tribute in Light Show to Happen Safely


"This year it is especially important that we all appreciate and commemorate 9/11, the lives lost, and the heroism displayed as New Yorkers are once again called upon to face a common enemy. I understand the Museum's concern for health and safety, and appreciate their reconsideration. The state will provide health personnel to supervise to make sure the event is held safely while at the same time properly honoring 9/11. We will never forget."

Governor Cuomo Announces Lowest Number of COVID-19 Hospitalizations Since March 17 and New Record-High Number of Reported Tests


Hospitalizations Hit New Low—523—Since March 17

88,668 Tests Results Reported Yesterday; 0.83 Percent Were Positive

5 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

SLA and State Police Task Force Observes Violations of State Requirements at 22 Establishments

Confirms 734 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 424,901; New Cases in 41 Counties

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced hospitalizations have dropped to 523, a new low since March 17. The Governor also announced a new record high number of COVID-19 tests reported to New York State - 88,668. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at

"In New York, we knew from the beginning that testing would be a key factor in controlling this new virus. We ramped up testing immediately and took a nation-leading role in developing capacity to test as many New Yorkers as possible, and I'm proud that we continue to raise the bar and we've broken our record high once again," Governor Cuomo said. "Yesterday's numbers - especially the new low in hospitalizations - continue to reflect the progress we've made during this pandemic, but we will keep monitoring the data and the alarming increases in cases around the country. My message is the same: stay New York Smart, wash your hands, socially distance, and wear masks!"

Yesterday, the State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force visited 1,344 establishments in New York City and Long Island and observed 22 establishments that were not in compliance with state requirements. A county breakdown of yesterday's observed violations is below:

  • Bronx - 5
  • Brooklyn - 12
  • Manhattan - 3
  • Queens - 1
  • Nassau - 1

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Patient Hospitalization - 523 (-31)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 76
  • Hospital Counties - 28
  • Number ICU - 120 (-7)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 58 (-1)
  • Total Discharges - 74,081 (+84)
  • Deaths - 5
  • Total Deaths - 25,244

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic

0.85 Percent of Yesterday's COVID-19 Tests were Positive; Seventh Straight Day of Percentage Reported Positive Under 1 Percent

3 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

SLA and State Police Task Force Observes Violations of State Requirements at 12 Establishments

Confirms 727 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State -Bringing Statewide Total to 424,167; New Cases in 43 Counties 

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday, 87,900 test results—a new record high—were reported to New York State. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at

"On the numbers it's been extraordinary, so congratulations to New Yorkers because their actions created this result," Governor Cuomo said. "While the other states are seeing real trouble we are doing very well - we have to protect the progress from outside our borders and continue to enforce compliance within our state among establishments."

Yesterday, the State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force visited 1,332 establishments in New York City and Long Island and observed 12 establishments that were not in compliance with state requirements. A county breakdown of yesterday's observed violations is below:

  • Brooklyn - 1
  • Manhattan - 4
  • Queens - 2
  • Nassau - 5

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Patient Hospitalization - 554 (-1)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 86
  • Hospital Counties - 28
  • Number ICU - 127 (+3)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 59 (+3)
  • Total Discharges - 73,997 (+90)
  • Deaths - 3
  • Total Deaths - 25,232

Governor Cuomo Announces Bowling Alleys Can Reopen at 50 Percent Capacity Starting Monday

Low-Risk Indoor Cultural Activities, Including Museums, Aquariums and Other Cultural Arts in New York City Will Be Permitted to Reopen Starting Monday, August 24

Face Coverings, Social Distancing and Other Safety Protocols Required at All Times 

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced bowling alleys throughout New York will be allowed to reopen starting Monday with strict safety protocols in place. Bowling alleys will be able to operate at a 50 percent maximum occupancy limit; face coverings and social distancing will be required at all times; every other lane must be closed; patrons need to stay with the party at their assigned lane; thorough cleaning and disinfection of shared or rented equipment between each use will be required; and all food service must follow all state-issued guidance. Due to restrictions on indoor dining, food and beverage service will not be allowed in New York City bowling alleys. 

The Governor also announced that New York City museums and other low-risk cultural institutions can reopen starting Monday, August 24. The institutions include museums, aquariums, and other low-risk indoor cultural arts. All institutions that reopen will be subject to state guidance. These institutions must obey strict safety protocols, including a 25 percent maximum occupancy limit, timed ticketing required with pre-set, staggered entry, strict enforcement of face coverings, social distancing, controlled traffic flow to avoid crowding, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.

"New York City's world-class cultural institutions have long provided comfort and creativity for generations of people in one of the world's most vibrant places, and when the COVID-19 pandemic began to threaten the city and this nation, it was especially heartbreaking to see them close their doors," Governor Cuomo said. "This pandemic is far from over, but we've determined that institutions can reopen if they adhere to strict state guidance and take every precaution to keep visitors safe, and I look forward to seeing them inspire New Yorkers once again. I'm also happy to report that we will be able to open bowling alleys across the state with strict safety protocols in place, providing a level of fun and recreation at a time when New Yorkers really need it."

R. Kelly’s Manager Charged With Placing Threatening Call To Manhattan Theater


  Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today that DONNELL RUSSELL, manager of music recording artist Robert Sylvester Kelly, better known as “R. Kelly,” was charged in two counts with threatening physical harm by interstate communication, and conspiracy to do the same, for placing a threatening phone call to a theater in Manhattan to prevent the December 4, 2018, screening of a docuseries exploring allegations of R. Kelly’s sexual abuse of minor girls and adult women.  RUSSELL is expected to make his initial appearance later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “As alleged, Donnell Russell used threats of violence to stop a screening of a docuseries devoted to exploring allegations of sexual abuse against women and minor girls by the recording artist R. Kelly.  By allegedly threatening a shooting at the theater, Russell prevented the screening, which was attended by a number of R. Kelly’s alleged victims.  Threats of gun violence aimed at intimidating and silencing victims of sexual abuse are unlawful as well as unacceptable.  We are committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting such crimes.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “It defies logic that a threat like the one alleged here could stop victims from speaking about their alleged abuse.  The violence Mr. Russell allegedly threatened succeeded in shutting down one airing of the documentary, but he was unable to silence the women featured in the film.  Each and every day, we do everything in our power to make sure victims of sexual abuse have the opportunity to be heard, and will continue to do so regardless of those who allegedly use violence as a means to stop them.”

According to the allegations contained in the Complaint[1] unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and publicly available documents:

DONNELL RUSSELL, then-manager for R. Kelly, participated in a coordinated effort, including through the use of threats of violence, to prevent the screening in December 2018 of a multi-part documentary or “docuseries” entitled “Surviving R. Kelly” at NeueHouse, a theater in New York, New York (the “Screening”).  The docuseries explores allegations that R. Kelly engaged in abusive sexual relationships with minor girls and adult women.

Throughout the day of the Screening, RUSSELL, who was located in Chicago, Illinois, worked with, among others, another individual associated with R. Kelly (“CC-1”) who was in New York the day of the Screening, to draft correspondence to an executive at the Lifetime television channel discouraging the executive from airing the docuseries.  Additionally, RUSSELL admitted that he sent NeueHouse a “cease and desist” letter to stop the Screening from going forward.  When that failed to stop the Screening, RUSSELL attempted to contact various law enforcement agencies in and around the theater, seemingly in a further effort to disrupt the Screening.  RUSSELL contacted a NeueHouse employee directly, via a landline associated with RUSSELL’s home address in Chicago, to threaten that there was a person in the theater with a gun prepared to shoot up the Screening (the “Threat Call”).  After receiving the Threat Call, the NeueHouse employee called 911.  NeueHouse cancelled the Screening and evacuated the theater.

RUSSELL, 45, of Chicago, Illinois, is charged with one count of conspiracy to threaten physical harm by interstate communication and one count of threatening physical harm by interstate communication, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.  The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and Special Agents with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 [1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Attorney General James Renews Suspension of State Debt Collection for Fifth Time as Coronavirus Continues to Impact New Yorkers’ Wallets


New Yorkers with Student and Medical Debt Referred to AG’s Office
Will Have Payments Automatically Frozen Through September 4, 2020

   New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that the state will, on Sunday renew for the fifth time, an order to halt the collection of medical and student debt owed to the state of New York that has been specifically referred to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) for collection. In response to continuing financial impairments resulting from the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the OAG will renew orders again from this coming Sunday, August 16, 2020, through Friday, September 4, 2020 — a date which coincides with Governor Cuomo’s most recent executive order tolling statutes of limitation and other legal time periods. After this period, the OAG will reassess the needs of state residents for another possible extension. Additionally, the OAG will accept applications for suspension of all other types of debt owed to the state of New York and referred to the OAG for collection.

“Although New York has had remarkable success in containing the coronavirus, too many New Yorkers are still enduring the financial hardships of this pandemic,” said Attorney General James. “We have the power to help tens of thousands of New Yorkers who are struggling to make ends meet, which is why we are again suspending the collection of state student and medical debt referred to my office. As we continue our work to stop the spread of this virus, we must also work to rebuild our economy and help New Yorkers get back on their feet, and that starts with ensuring our state’s residents are not unnecessarily burdened with additional debt payments at this time.”

Millions of New Yorkers, like Americans across the nation, have been impacted — directly or indirectly — by the spread of COVID-19, forcing them to forgo income and business. Since COVID-19 began to spread rapidly across the country in mid-March, tens of millions of residents across the nation have filed for unemployment, including more than 3.4 million in New York state alone. In an effort to support many New Yorkers economically impacted during this difficult time, Attorney General James will this weekend renew an order — first made in March and renewed in April, in May, in June, and in July — to ease the financial burdens for many workers and families by halting the collection of medical and student debt owed to the state of New York and referred to the OAG for collection through September 4, 2020.

The OAG collects certain debts owed to the state of New York via settlements and lawsuits brought on behalf of the state of New York and state agencies. A total of more than 165,000 matters currently fit the criteria for a suspension of state debt collection, including, but not limited to:

  • Patients that owe medical debt due to the five state hospitals and the five state veterans’ homes;
  • Students that owe student debt due to State University of New York (SUNY) campuses; and
  • Individual debtors, sole-proprietors, small business owners, and certain homeowners that owe debt relating to oil spill cleanup and removal costs, property damage, and breach of contract, as well as other fees owed to state agencies.

The temporary policy has also automatically suspended the accrual of interest and the collection of fees on all outstanding state medical and student debt referred to the OAG for collection, so New Yorkers are not penalized for taking advantage of this program.

New Yorkers with non-medical or non-student debt owed to the state of New York and referred to the OAG may also apply to temporarily halt the collection of state debt. Individuals seeking to apply for this temporary relief can fill out an application online or visit the OAG’s coronavirus website to learn more about the suspension of payments. If an individual is unable to fill out the online form, they can also call the OAG hotline at 800-771-7755 to learn more.

NYS Office of the Comptroller - DiNapoli: State Tax Revenues Down $3 Billion Through July


State tax receipts of $26.4 billion through the first four months of the state fiscal year were $3 billion, or 10.2 percent, below the same period last year, according to the July cash report issued today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“The shift of the tax filing deadline from April to July this year added to the revenue damage created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” DiNapoli said. “July numbers show more clearly the extent of the budgetary damage from the pandemic, which is driving both unanticipated spending and declining tax receipts. Washington’s continued delay on further federal response leaves the state, local governments, nonprofits and others with increasingly difficult questions on how to maintain the services New Yorkers need during this national emergency.”

Other items of note in the report:

  • Personal income tax (PIT) collections totaled $18.9 billion through July, $1.4 billion, or 6.8 percent, lower than a year ago. Receipts from PIT withholding were 1 percent, or $133.1 million, below the previous year, while estimated payments were 14.4 percent, or more than $1.3 billion, lower.
  • Sales tax receipts of $4 billion for the first four months were down $1.2 billion from a year earlier, a drop of 23.1 percent. The year-over-year decline in July, 8.6 percent, was the lowest since March.
  • All Funds spending through July totaled $53 billion, down $2.3 billion, or 4.2 percent, from the previous year, including a $1.8 billion decline in local assistance grants.
  • The General Fund ended the month with a balance of $14.4 billion, $7.8 billion higher than July 2019, reflecting a variety of factors including short-term borrowing authorized in the State Fiscal Year 2020-21 Enacted State Budget.

July Cash Report



Expanding initiatives provide street space for restaurants and recreation along select corridors and in pedestrian plazas

  Mayor de Blasio today announced 21 more locations for outdoor dining options as part of a City initiative that combines the Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs, while adding more seating in more outer-borough pedestrian plazas. The Administration is also adding four more locations in three boroughs for Play Streets, an initiative the City launched in July to provide children with safe, structured activities on Open Streets during summer weekdays. 

 Today’s announcement brings restaurant seating options to 16 more car-free streets on weekends for select corridors, with most of the new locations starting the evening of Friday, August 15th. New plaza locations with exclusive seating, collective dining, and open public seating include Westchester Square in the Bronx and Hillel Plaza in Brooklyn, along with Corona Plaza, Diversity Plaza, and the 71st Avenue Plaza in Queens. Last month the Mayor announced that the City would extend in-street dining through October instead of ending it by Labor Day, giving more than 9,500 participating restaurants two extra months to serve diners in safe, socially distant outdoor spaces. 


"Rebuilding a fairer and better city means using our urban landscape creatively, and I'm proud to build on the success of our Open Streets program," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "New Yorkers have sacrificed so much during this crisis and they deserve the opportunity to safely enjoy their neighborhoods and communities."


"Communities from across New York City are seeing the benefits Open Restaurants has upon its businesses and the joy it brings to residents, which is why we are continuing to see more and more streets open up to outdoor dining," said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. "By continuing to give restaurants innovative ways to serve their customers, we are not only helping to save these jobs and businesses but also providing New Yorkers a small sense of normalcy."


“We are so excited to see the Open Streets: Restaurants and Play Streets initiatives continue to grow, bringing new recreation opportunities and outdoor dining locations to our Open Streets and pedestrian plazas in all five boroughs,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We thank Mayor de Blasio and our many agency and community partners for keeping up the hard work and helping New Yorkers stay prosperous, healthy and socially active in the fresh air as we emerge step by step from the COVID crisis.”  


"Our City continues to benefit from the ever-popular Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs,” said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “As more restaurants get involved, we continue to see the great benefit these initiatives bring to our City and to the people who patronize these businesses.” 


New Open Streets: Restaurants Locations:



On Street

From Street

To Street


3rd Ave BID

Alexander Ave

Bruckner Blvd

E 134th St


Park Slope 5th Ave BID

5th Ave

Sterling Pl

Berkely Pl


Prospect Heights NDC

Vanderbilt Ave

Pacific St

Atlantic Ave


99 Favor Taste

61st St

7th Ave

8th Ave


Chinatown BID

Bayard St

Mott Street

Mulberry St


Calabria Restaurant dba Il Brigante Restaurant

Front St

Peck Slip

Beekman St


34th Street Partnership

32nd St

6th Ave




32nd St

31st St


Casa Nomad restaurant and Akin Hospitality Group


W 29th St

W 31st St


Mari Makan LLC

Spring St

Mott St

Elizabeth St



Elizabeth St

Spring St

Prince St


120 Marcus Meets Malcolm

W 120th St

Malcolm X Blvd

Mt Morris Park W


Flatiron 23rd St Partnership


W 28th St

W 29th St


Flatiron 23rd St Partnership


W 21st St

W 22nd St


Friends of Diversity Plaza

37th Rd

75th St

74th St


The Angiuli Group

Minthorne St

Bay St

Victory Blvd



The first round of Open Streets: Restaurants locations, announced July 2nd, focused on streets that were already participating in the Open Streets program, and on corridors represented by organizations that have worked with DOT on street closures in the past. The second tranche announced, July 17th, added 26 new locations. A third round, announced on July 31st, included 15 locations. Today’s announcement brings the citywide total to 76 participating streets and 9 pedestrian plazas.


The hours of operation for this new expanded seating option for restaurants will be from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday nights, and noon to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.


New Play Streets include locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island, in partnership with the Police Athletic League and the Staten Island Open and Play Streets Coalition:









Start Date

End Date





170th St

Webster Ave

Park Ave




M,T, W, Th

12pm - 5pm

Red Hook


Wolcott Street

Richards St

Van Brunt St




M,T, W, Th

12pm - 5pm

Port Richmond


Hill St

Tompkins St

Warren St





12pm - 4pm

Port Richmond


Henderson Ave

Alaska St






12pm - 4pm


At Play Streets locations, children participate in independent crafting and art projects that include making kaleidoscopes, birdhouses, rhythm drums, and cloud climbers. Giant board games such as Connect 4 and Jenga are also available. Sports drills include basketball, frisbee, softball, wiffle ball, kickball, and laser tag. Reading corners, dance classes, cardio and yoga exercises are also be provided. All programming is creatively designed to meet social distancing guidelines.


Play Streets locations are launching on a rolling basis until September 4th. Hours vary by location, but will generally be from 10 AM to 5 PM and include streets adjacent to NYCHA developments as part of the Mayor's Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. Vehicles are not permitted to enter the streets during the hours of the full street closure. Organizing Partners will be responsible for setting up barricades and posting signage, as well as restoring the Open Street condition at the end of their programming. They will also post No Parking signage with days and times ahead of starting their activations.


The following Open Streets will be changed or removed from the program:







Shorten One Block


Willow St (Middah to Pierrepont)

Willow St (Middah to Clarke)



2nd Place (Smith St to Henry St)


Move & Shorten Two Blocks


Livonia Ave (Mother Gaston to Powell)

Livonia Ave (Powell to Junius)



Butler St (Gregory Pl to 4th Ave), Gregory Pl (Baltic St to Butler St)




Margaret Corbin Drive (Ft Washington to Cabrini Blvd)




Under Open Streets, pedestrians and cyclists are free to use the roadbed of each street. No through traffic is permitted, with remaining vehicle traffic limited to local deliveries, pick-ups/drop-offs, necessary city service, utility, and emergency vehicles only. Such drivers are alerted to be hyper-vigilant and to drive at 5 MPH along these routes. Regular Open Streets operate from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, with timing varying slightly depending on staff availability.


If you have questions about Open Streets or would like to request an Open Street in your community, please contact your NYC DOT Borough Commissioner's office.