Lower Manhattan Hunkers Down, as Coronavirus Crisis Grinds On
Multiple residents of Lower Manhattan have now tested positive for the pandemic coronavirus, including one tenant at Gateway Plaza in Battery Park City, who has been hospitalized and is breathing with the assistance of a mechanical ventilator, according to a range sources with direct knowledge of the circumstances.
In a separate development, a resident of Battery Park City died on Saturday after plunging from the 16th floor of his building at 400 Chambers Street, in an apparent suicide.
On a more encouraging note, a teacher at P.S./I.S. 276 (also located in Battery Park City), who exhibited symptoms that warranted a test for coronavirus, has been confirmed to be free of the disease.
As of Sunday night, Lower Manhattan (along with the State as a whole) is subject to the “New York State on Pause” executive order issued on Friday by Governor Andrew Cuomo, which directs that all “non-essential” businesses cease “in-office” operations through April 19. This effectively means that no commercial enterprise (apart from those exempted because they are deemed to be vital to public safety and civic order) may continue to function, apart from remote working.
Among the several dozen exceptions provided for in Mr. Cuomo’s order are a broad range of businesses related to healthcare (such as hospitals and other medical facilities, along with pharmacies), suppliers of subsistence needs (such as grocery stores, along with restaurants and bars, but only for takeout and delivery), and providers of basic goods and services such as banks, laundromats, and hardware stores.
For Lower Manhattan dwellers, this order will curtail (but not eliminate) basic services that many residents rely upon. The Governor’s mandate exempts building staff who work on maintenance, cleaning, and security, which arguably covers not only custodial personnel, but also doormen and concierges. In practical terms, however, many local buildings are preparing for staff reductions that may be caused by illness, and some are making provisions for employees to begin temporarily lodging within their facilities. Several of these buildings have also begun compiling lists of residents willing to volunteer to fill in for staff members, in the event that absenteeism spikes.
Parking garages are also exempted from Mr. Cuomo’s order, under the heading of “essential transportation infrastructure,” which appears to preclude (at least for the time being) the concern voiced by some residents that, if garages were to cease operations suddenly, their cars would be locked inside. That noted, employees at several local garages canvassed by the Broadsheet said that they are operating on skeleton crews, as a result of management cutting back staffing levels.
For purposes of Executive Order 202.6, “Essential Business,” means:
1. Essential Health Care Operations, Including:
research and laboratory services
walk-in-care health facilities
emergency veterinary and livestock services
medical wholesale and distribution
home health care workers or aides for the elderly
doctor and emergency dental
nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers
2. Essential Infrastructure, Including:
utilities including power generation, fuel supply and transmission
public water and wastewater
telecommunications and data centers
transportation infrastructure such as bus, rail, or for-hire vehicles, garages
hotels, and places of accommodation
3. Essential Manufacturing, Including:
food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages
household paper products
4. Essential Retail, Including:
grocery stores including all food and beverage stores
restaurants/bars (but only for take-out/delivery)
hardware and building material stores
5. Essential Services, Including:
trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal
mail and shipping services
building cleaning and maintenance
child care services
warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
storage for essential businesses
6. News Media
7. Financial Institutions, Including:
services related to financial markets
8. Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations, Including:
homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support
9. Construction, Including:
skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers
other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes
defense and national security-related operations supporting the U.S. Government or a contractor to the US government
11. Essential Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses, Including:
fire prevention and response
building code enforcement
emergency management and response
building cleaners or janitors
general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
12. Vendors that Provide Essential Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services:
technology support for online services
child care programs and services
government owned or leased buildings
essential government services
If the function of your business is not listed above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an essential business.
Houses of worship are not ordered closed however it is strongly recommended no congregate services be held and social distance maintained.
Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet.
Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, should only be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.
To request designation as an essential business, please click here.
Restrictions on requesting designation as an essential business:
Any business that only has a single occupant/employee (i.e. gas station) has been deemed exempt and need not submit a request to be designated as an essential business.
Businesses ordered to close on Monday, March 15, 2020 under the restrictions on any gathering with 50 or more participants, including but not limited to, bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, casinos, auditoriums, concerts, conferences, worship services, sporting events, and physical fitness centers, are presumed to be compliant with NYS issued restrictions and must remain closed and are not eligible for designation as an essential business for purposes of this guidance.
For Guidance on cleaning and disinfection of facilities, refer to the New York State Department of Health Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID -19 at: