Saturday, July 3, 2021

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


Statewide 7-Day Average Positivity is 0.51%   

43,330 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours  

2 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday—Lowest Since September 20, 2020  

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress combatting COVID-19.  

"New Yorkers have achieved remarkable progress and thanks to the hard work of our essential workers, our health professionals, and everyone else who made sacrifices to help slow the spread of the virus, we continue to be on a good trajectory," Governor Cuomo said. "Even so, we still cannot afford to get complacent with COVID. The best way to protect our hard-won progress is to build on it, which is why we need to get everyone vaccinated. If you still need to get your shot, I urge you to do so quickly at one of our sites where our health professionals are standing by to administer the vaccine to anyone free of charge."   
Today's data is summarized briefly below:  

  • Test Results Reported - 79,184  
  • Total Positive - 410   
  • Percent Positive - 0.52%   
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 0.51%   
  • Patient Hospitalization - 340 (-9)   
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 50   
  • Patients in ICU - 79 (-4)   
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 38 (-4)   
  • Total Discharges - 185,016 (+50)   
  • Deaths - 2  
  • Total Deaths - 42,976   
  • Total vaccine doses administered - 21,287,701 
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 43,330 
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 342,234   
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 69.7%  
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 64.3%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 72.4%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 65.6%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 58.0% 
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 53.1%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 60.2%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 54.3% 

Comptroller Stringer Audit: MTA Express Bus On-Time Performance Continues to Lag


MTA fails to provide customers with real-time information regarding delays affecting individual express buses along a route and lacks sufficient indicators for measuring express buses’ performance

MTA has set a modest goal of under 60% for on-time performance, expects a significant percentage of its buses will not operate on time

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released an audit revealing MTA express bus on-time performance continues to lag. The audit found that the agency has not set goals for a majority of indicators the MTA identified to measure express buses’ performance and where goals have been set, indicators are of limited value for assessing performance. MTA has set a modest goal of just under 60% for on-time performance; from that target the agency expects a significant percentage of its buses will not operate on time. Comptroller Stringer’s audit follows a previous 2015 report that found 31 percent of sampled express buses were not on time based on the MTA’s criteria.

“Thousands of New Yorkers rely on buses every day to commute to work, attend classes, see a doctor, and take their children to day care,” said Comptroller Stringer. “Riders who rely on and pay a premium price for express bus service shouldn’t be left waiting, uninformed of delays, or stranded at bus stops. As New York City continues to work toward a strong post-pandemic recovery, I urge the MTA to start putting our recommendations into practice immediately because a 21st century city deserves a 21st century transit system–fast, reliable, and responsive.”

Comptroller Stringer’s audit uncovered the following:

The MTA has identified nine performance indicators, including (but not limited to) on-time performance and travel time, by which it measures express bus performance. However, the way the MTA has implemented these performance indicators appears to reduce their utility:

  • For six of the nine performance indicators, the MTA has not set goals for measuring its express buses’ actual performance. Without such goals, it is unclear how the MTA can use those performance indicators to assess its performance.
  • For two of the three indicators for which goals have been set, the indicators appear to be of limited value for assessing express bus performance.
  • For on-time performance, the MTA has set a very modest goal of just under 60 percent. From that target, it appears that the agency expects that a significant percentage of its buses will not operate on time in accordance with its own schedules.

Additionally, although the MTA can identify those express bus routes that are low-performing, such as on-time performance as low as 23 percent, the agency stated during the audit that it had not received any recommendations from its Road Operations unit for schedule or route modifications for any express bus routes during the review period.

The audit also found that the MTA does not have an adequate process for providing customers with real-time information regarding delays affecting particular buses along a bus route. When a delay impacts a particular scheduled bus, the MTA generally notifies customers only if the resulting service gap is (1) twice the scheduled interval between buses or (2) more than an hour. This policy of leaving customers uninformed of delays of up to one hour creates a significant risk of seriously inconveniencing customers.

To address these issues, Comptroller Stringer’s recommendations include:

  • The MTA should establish goals for all publicly reported performance indicators so that Road Operations personnel gain a clear understanding of management’s expectations.
  • For its on-time performance target, the MTA should consider increasing the percentage of express buses that it expects to operate on schedule.
  • The MTA should ensure that Road Operations: (a) identifies possible route and schedule modifications for express buses that do not meet performance goals; and (b) recommends appropriate modifications to the MTA’s Operations Planning department.
  • The MTA should provide customers with real-time notifications of service delays impacting individual bus trips and measure its performance in doing so.

To read Comptroller Stringer’s Audit Report on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Monitoring of Its Express Bus Services, click here.


Mayor Bill de Blasio attended the Destination Tomorrow event Tuesday June 29th not only to show his pride, but he had a job to do while he was there. The first lady Charlene  McCray spoke about her lesbian relationship upon coming to New York City, and the many deaths among the LGBT community at that time, when the community was shunned, and not accepted. She introduced her husband Mayor Bill de Blasio who said that New York City now has the largest LGBTQ community in the whole world.

Mayor de Blasio praised the Destination Tomorrow office on East 149th Street, and called up its Executive Director Sean Coleman to receive a Proclamation from him. The mayor read  proclaiming June 29th 2021 as Destination Tomorrow day in the City of New York. Mayor de Blasio also called up Junior LaBeija to receive a certificate of recognition for his work in the LGBTQ area. The mayor also recognized some former and future elected officials on hand. FormerCity Council Speaker Melisa Mark-Viverito, future city council members Althea Stevens and Marjorie Velazquez, and March 23rd special election winner in the 15th City Council District Oswald Feliz. There was entertainment for the Mayor and First Lady, along with many questions after the event was over.

First Lady Charlene McCray introduces her husband Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Mayor Bill de Blasio with Sean Coleman of Destination Tomorrow holding his proclamation given to him by the mayor, with First Lady Charlene McCray.

Presumed winner of the16th Council District Althea Stevens (white dress), Presumed winner of the 13th Council District Marjorie Velazquez (yellow), former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Elisa Crespo former 15th council candidate.

Councilman Oswald Feliz was sitting next to 14th Council District candidate Socrates Solano, but left for a more important meeting, before the mayor introduced him.

One of the entertainers, Dominick.

The mayor enjoyed the show, as you can see.

Consumer Alert: New York State Division of Consumer Protection Offers New York Consumers Safe Celebration Tips This 4th of July


Taking Necessary Precautions Can be Life Saving Actions for Outdoor Celebrations with Fireworks, Grills

 The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) today reminded New Yorkers to keep safe while celebrating Independence Day. The celebration of the 4th of July is a time-honored summer tradition of family outdoor fun, grilled food, and fireworks. However, it could also be dangerous if New Yorkers do not take the necessary precautions to have a safe and enjoyable time.

DCP partners with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in its year-round efforts to educate consumers to help prevent accidents and injuries. The CPSC reported a 50 percent increase in deaths and injuries from fireworks-related incidents from 2019 to 2020. In 2019, the CPSC estimated 15,600 fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries, with 66 percent of them occurring between June 21 and July 21. The largest spike occurred in young adults ages 20-24.

“We have much to celebrate this year on Independence Day as we have come so far in our battle with COVID-19,” said Secretary of State Rossana Rosado who oversees the NYS Division of Consumer Protection. “We want to make sure all New Yorkers stay safe over this long holiday weekend by following basic tips while enjoying fireworks and grilling.”

New York State permits the sale of sparkling devices by registered sellers from June 1 until July 5 annually and allows consumers 18 or older to use sparkling devices. Currently, sparkling devices are illegal in the City of New York as well as in the counties of Albany, Bronx, Columbia, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange (prohibited in the Cities of Middletown and Newburgh only), Queens, Richmond, Schenectady, Suffolk, and Westchester. In 2020, firecrackers and sparklers were the biggest source of emergency room-treated fireworks injuries. It is illegal for anyone under 18 years of age to use sparkling devices in New York State.

Sparkling devices are ground-based or handheld sparking devices that produce a shower of colored sparks or colored flame, crackling or whistling noise and smoke. They do not launch into the air. Any other types of fireworks including firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, spinners, and aerial devices are illegal statewide.

Tips for Using Fireworks Safely:

  • Only purchase sparkling and novelty devices from New York State registered temporary seasonal retailers. A list of registered retailers is available here
  • Never use or make professional-grade fireworks.
  • Do not buy or use fireworks that are packaged in brown paper; this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and are not for consumer use.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees This is hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person or occupied area.
  • Always wear eye protection when using sparkling devices.
  • Light fireworks outside, one at a time, then move away from them quickly.
  • Keep a bucket of water, garden hose, or fire extinguisher handy, in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device, to prevent a trash fire.

Tips for Using Outdoor Grills Safely:

Before lighting the grill do a safety check.

  • Inspect the hoses on a gas grill for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing and that all connections are secure. Replace if necessary.
  • Check for propane gas leaks. Open the gas supply valve fully and apply a soapy solution with a brush at the connection point. If bubbles appear, there is a leak. Try tightening the tank connection. If that does not stop the leak, close the gas valve and have the grill repaired by a qualified professional.
  • Make sure the grill is clean. Regularly cleaning the grill, as described in the owner’s manual, and cleaning the grease trap, will reduce the risk of flare-ups and grease fires.
  • Only use grills outside in a well-ventilated area. Never use a grill indoors, in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, next to your home or under a surface that will burn.
  • Gas and charcoal grills present a risk of fire and/or carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning that could result in injury or death. Thousands of gas or charcoal grill-related injuries are reported in hospital emergency departments each year. While most of the injuries are burns, a few of the charcoal grill injuries are often related to carbon monoxide.

Once the grill’s lit.

  • Keep the grill hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease.
  • Never leave a grill unattended. If a flare-up occurs, adjust the controls on the gas grill or spread out the coals on a charcoal grill to lower the temperature.
  • If a grease fire occurs, turn off the gas grill and use baking soda and/or a kitchen fire extinguisher to put out the fire.
  • Keep children away from the grill area. The outside surface of a grill can get hot and burn when touched.

To learn more about consumer safety,  or to file a marketplace consumer complaint against a business or individual, please contact the Division’s Consumer Helpline at (800) 697-1220 or visit its website at Follow the Division of Consumer Protection on social media at Twitter: @NYSConsumer  and Facebook:


 Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Acting Commissioner Sandra Abeles today announced that the groundbreaking just cause law for fast food workers goes into effect on July 4 and that resources for employers and employees are now available. Under the new law, fast food employers cannot fire or lay off workers, or reduce their hours by more than 15 percent without just cause or a legitimate economic reason. The just cause law adds critical new job protections for fast food workers in addition to the existing fair scheduling protections under the City’s Fair Workweek Law. 

“For too long, fast food workers—a predominately minority and female workforce—have been treated as if they were disposable and yet they have been there for us on the frontlines throughout the pandemic,” said DCWP Acting Commissioner Sandra Abeles. “These workers deserve better and no worker should be left jobless for unjust reasons – ever. This vital law will bring additional stability to the lives of these low-wage workers and ensure they can’t be fired on a whim.”


Under the new just cause law, fast food employers:


  • Cannot fire or reduce hours without just cause. Employers must give workers who passed their probation period retraining and an opportunity to improve and can only fire underperforming workers after giving them multiple disciplinary warnings in a year or for egregious misconduct. 


  • Cannot lay off current workers except for economic reasons. Layoffs must be in reverse order of seniority, with the longest-serving workers laid off last.


  • Must give a written explanation for firing, reduction of hours, or layoff.


  • Must give laid-off or current workers priority to work newly available shifts. Employers must advertise open shifts on posters in the restaurant and by text or email. Employers can only hire new workers if no laid-off or current NYC workers accept the shifts by the posted deadline.


The just cause protections go into effect on July 4 and workers can immediately enforce their rights in court through a private right of action. DCWP will begin enforcing the just cause law on September 2. Beginning in January 2022, workers also can request to resolve their complaints through binding arbitration by a DCWP administered panel of arbitrators.


Under the Fair Workweek Law, which went into effect in November 2017, fast food employers in New York City must also give workers regular, predictable general schedules, two weeks’ advance notice of their work schedules covering specific dates, premium pay of between $10-$75 for schedule changes, and the opportunity to work newly available shifts before hiring new workers. Fast food employers also cannot schedule workers for a morning shift the day after a night shift unless workers consent in writing and are paid a $100 premium to work the shift. Similarly, fast food employers must obtain workers’ written consent before adding any time to their work schedules with less than two weeks’ notice and may not penalize them for declining to work. Under the Law, retail employers must also give workers advanced notice of work schedules and may not schedule workers for on-call shifts or change workers’ schedules with inadequate notice.


Fast food employers must post the new NYC Fast Food Workers’ Rights Notice in English and any language that is the primary language of at least five percent of the workers if available on the DCWP website. Employers and employees can visit or call 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) for the new Notice, which will soon be available in 16 languages, as well as an overview of the law, information about the required progressive discipline policytemplates, and soon-to-be added FAQs about the law. Starting this month, DCWP will be conducting a series of educational walks and roundtables to educate workers and employers about the new protections.


Team AOC - Register now: Summer programs for students and English classes for adults now open


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Congress

After the COVID-19 pandemic forced New York City public schools to shut down, we mobilized our community of volunteers to provide free, 1:1 tutoring sessions for families struggling to juggle work, childcare, and remote learning.

We’re proud to announce that our Homework Helpers program is now expanding through the summer to offer English and math tutoring, immersive learning experiences, and English language classes for adults. Check out our full summer program catalogue and register for sessions here.

We have lots of different options for students of all ages to take part in tutoring and classes this summer. They include:

  • For K-12 students we’re offering classes in English and math, as well as art classes, creative writing courses, book clubs, theatre workshops, cooking lessons, and more.

  • We also have a language access program that will help parents and guardians build their English skills, vocabulary, and ability to communicate with school teachers and the broader community.

Our programs this summer will combine both in-person and virtual meetings.

Session registrations are confirmed on a first come, first served basis, so make sure to submit your registration form soon before they fill up!

Click here to see our summer programs catalogue, learn more about our programs, and to register for any of these sessions.

Please forward this email to anyone in the community who may be interested in these summer programs.

Thank you,

Team AOC


Assemblyman Victor M. Pichardo - New York State committed to advancing civil rights, fighting for equality for all


 “On July 2, we mark the 57th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This monumental piece of federal legislation was the result of years of hard work from countless tireless advocates who stood strong against hate and demanded equality for all. As we celebrate this day, it’s critical that we use this time to recommit ourselves to ending discrimination and making everyone – no matter their race, sex or religion – feel safe within our communities.

     “New York State has a long history of fighting against bigotry and continues to make great strides toward equality. This year, my Assembly colleagues and I passed critical legislation to further protect civil rights, including the Gender Discrimination Act, which expands protections for transgender and nonbinary people by allowing individuals to designate their sex as X on New York State driver’s licenses and government documents, as well as makes it easier and safer for individuals to petition for a change in name or sex designation (Ch. 158 of 2021). We also worked to reform prohibitive and discriminatory voting laws, which have historically targeted people of color, by restoring voting rights to formerly incarcerated New Yorkers (Ch. 103 of 2021). 

     “While these critical laws are milestones in the fight against hate, we still have a long ways to go. We can never forget the trailblazers who made the Civil Rights Act possible, and I’ll continue to fight against inequities in our society and work to end discrimination.”

The New Bronx Chamber of Commerce - Bronx Business News You Can Use


Legislative Updates, New Grants, Events and Much More
Please click View/Allow Images so you don't miss a thing!
The Friday Extra
The Friday Extra
In this week's Friday Extra, President Lisa Sorin addresses:

  • Small Business information
  • Two important pieces of legislation
  • Bronx Chamber member information

Wishing our viewers a Happy and Safe Fourth of July!
Bronx Chamber Events
Upcoming: Bronx Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala
Mark Your Calendars
For Our 2021 Gala on September 30th:
The Bronx Is Back In Business

We're going to make it a night to remember! 

Ruben Diaz Jr. - Bronx Borough President
Lucy McMillan - Arnold & Porter
Aurelia Green - Former Deputy Bronx Borough President (posthumously)
many more to announce
Available Growth & Recovery Grants
$800 Million Small Business Recovery Grant Program
Click Here for a helpful webinar on the $800 million small business recovery grant program, which will provide funding to small and micro businesses and small for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations to help them recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.

More Grant Resources & Tips
The deadline to apply for a PPP loan has passed; applications are no longer being accepted. But there are other loan opportunities you may have access to — you just have to know where to look. This guide outlines small business loans and alternative funding options, while this one lists more than 30 grants, loans and programs. And, the U.S. Small Business Association offers these seven SBA loan programs, which you may qualify for, as well.
Stacy's Rise Project 2021
Created to help bridge the funding gap for founders, the Stacy’s Rise Project has been connecting and empowering business owners for years. Mentorship and monetary support helped this brand rise from a humble sandwich cart to the nation’s supermarkets. And it’s these same resources that today’s small business owners need to succeed – now, more than ever. So that’s exactly what Stacy’s is offering to 10 entrepreneurs in their journey to make their dreams a reality with the latest iteration of the Rise Project.

The Stacy’s Rise Project™ supports small businesses through funding, mentorship and community. Eligible small businesses selected as Stacy's Rise Project finalists will receive $10,000 and mentorship. Apply by sharing how a grant and mentorship opportunity would help grow your business. 

Deadline July 9th
Bronx Chamber Member Spotlights
Orange Bank & Trust
Dr. Bob Lee speaks to Anthony Mormile, Senior Vice President and Senior Commercial Loan Officer, and Vanessa Baijnauth, Associate Vice President and Relationship Manager of Orange Bank and Trust Company, who join the program to speak about the grand opening of their bank's branch in the Bronx.
OPEN Bx Rx Monday I Orange Bank & Trust Company
Metro Optics Eyewear
Congratulations to our Bronx Chamber member Metro Optics for making the list on Vison Monday Magazine Top 50 retailers in the US!
Waste Management - Share the Green
Share the Green is a virtual event that will engage women-owned businesses across the U.S., giving them access to a robust corporate supplier network and a platform for growth. The overall goal of Share the GreenSM is to advance female supplier diversity in the corporate supply chain. This unique opportunity welcomes women-owned businesses across a variety of industries to apply for your chance to meet executives from some of the leading corporations across the U.S. Applications are open starting June 14.
What You Should Know
Five Chamber Letter to Congress on Antitrust
To our members of the New York Delegation to Congress: House continues to consider a package of antitrust bills aimed at the technology sector. The package is incredibly far-reaching, as would be the consequences if enacted into law. From local entrepreneurs and small businesses who leverage online tools and systems, to the communities across New York City who have flourished following investments from our country’s largest and most innovative companies, there is cause for concern. Read the 5 Chamber Alliance response to the bills.

No Labels
President Biden describes the infrastructure agreement he negotiated with a bipartisan Senate group as “a once-in-a-generation investment to modernize our infrastructure that will create millions of good-paying jobs and position America to compete with the world and win the 21st century.” No Labels agrees with the president which is why they believe Congress should move immediately to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill. We explain the significance of the proposal’s key provisions in a new chart available HERE.
Amazon's Black Business Accelerator
Amazon - one of our newest Bronx Chamber Corporate members - recently announced their new, multi-year, multi-million dollar initiative, the Black Business Accelerator: aimed at supporting, promoting, and growing small, Black-owned businesses. The financial grant applications open up July 1.
Amazon is committing $150 million over the next four years to help thousands of Black entrepreneurs reach hundreds of millions of customers. This program, created in partnership with Amazon’s Black Employee Network, the U.S. Black Chamber Inc., and others acknowledges that Black entrepreneurs have less access to capital, mentorship, and growth opportunities, and have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amazon is optimistic about the potential for this program to help generate wealth for Black entrepreneurs, their employees, their families, and their communities. To learn more, visit
NYC Business Quick Start Program
NYC has launched NYC Business Quick Start, a concierge service for small businesses that provides sole point of contact to help navigate City regulations, as well as a public dashboard. The program guarantees a 48-hour response to all small business inquiries and will cut processing time by 50 percent.
The new program will help you: 
  • Understand key City rules and requirements to avoid fines and violations
  • Connect to government agencies to get the permits and licenses you need for your business
  • Learn how to resolve any violations your business has received