Please follow this post for updates. (Last Updated 5/18/2020 @ 4:15 P.M.)
STATE OF EMERGENCY AND LIMITING ACTIONS
Mayor Sundquist has extended the Local State of Emergency effective 9:00 A.M. on May 16, 2020. This will remain in effect for 30 days. This follows the previous Local State of Emergency declaration which began on April 16, 2020 and March 17, 2020. This follows Chautauqua County declaring a State of Emergency, which went into effect March 15, 2020 at 5:00 P.M. No further limiting actions or orders have been declared and filed. However, the following limiting actions have been imposed by Governor Cuomo following New York state’s Emergency Declaration on March 7, 2020:
- Governor Cuomo has extended the PAUSE Act through 5/15/2020
- GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCED ON 3/20/20 THAT ALL ‘NON-ESSENTIAL’ BUSINESS AND NONPROFITS WILL BE REQUIRED TO SEND 100% OF THEIR WORKFORCE TO WORK FROM HOME EFFECTIVE 8:00 P.M. SUNDAY, MARCH 22, 2020, UNLESS THEY FALL UNDER THE FOLLOWING ESSENTIAL SERVICES:
- Grocery Stores
- Shipping Companies
- Health Care Organizations including research and laboratory services
- News Media Organizations
- Banks and Related Financial Institutions
- Airports and transportation infrastructure
- Trash collection
- Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations
- Essential manufacturing including food processing and pharmaceuticals
- Industries that are critical to the supply chain
- Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, child care and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public.
- ALL NON-ESSENTIAL PUBLIC GATHERINGS OF ANY KIND ARE NOW CANCELED OR POSTPONED AS OF THIS TIME. ANY CONCENTRATION OUTSIDE THE HOME MUST BE LIMITED TO WORKERS PROVIDING ESSENTIAL SERVICES
- Governor Cuomo announced that face masks will be required to be worn in busy public places (such as grocery stores). This is anywhere where social distancing is not possible.
- Governor Cuomo has announced a 90 day moratorium on residential and commercial evictions
- All State, County, and Local parks have no fees. Feel free to enjoy the parks but please maintain social distance.
- Restaurants and bars may serve take out or delivery only. Waivers have been issued for beer and liquor take out. We will note that consumption of alcohol in a vehicle or on the street is still illegal under New York’s Open Container Law. Please take it home and enjoy responsibly. More information from the State Liquor Authority can be found here: https://sla.ny.gov/Restrictions-in-Response-to-COVID-19
Empire State Development has now posted guidance intended to assist businesses in determining whether they are an essential business and steps to request such designation which can be viewed here: https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026.
- Governor Cuomo has announced that all indoor portions of malls, amusement parks, and bowling alleys will be shutdown effective 8:00 P.M. on 3/19/2020.
Additional limiting actions being taken by the City is the the suspension of downtown and alternate parking regulations until March 31, 2020, to allow businesses downtown to participate in take-out and curbside pickup services. Parking garages will be un-staffed with gates open. All playgrounds and basketball courts in City parks and on Jamestown Public Schools property will be closed and roped-off starting March 31, 2020.
Jamestown is in the Western New York Region for reopening, as announced by Governor Cuomo. The Regional Control Room is led by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Mayor Sundquist is one of only 2 members from Chautauqua County. The NY Forward Plan was announced by Governor Cuomo to outline opening procedures. Industry guidelines and safety compliance forms will be made available to businesses as soon as they become available. Currently the Western New York Region has met 5/7 metrics required to reopen. Once reopen, the region will open the following industries in phased openings:
Phase 1: Construction, Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, Select Retail for Curbside Pickup Only, Agriculture, Fishing, and Forestry.
Phase 2: Professional Services, Finance and Insurance, Retail, Administrative Support, Real Esate, Rental, and Leasing.
Phase 3: Restaurants and Food Services.
Phase 4: Arts, Recreation, Entertainment, and Education.
There will be at least 2 weeks in each phase before the next phase. There can be a pause put on a phase for longer periods of time or phases can be withdrawn if metrics are not kept at the safe level.
MORATORIUM ON EVICTIONS:
From the State’s Website (https://hcr.ny.gov/covid-19-helpful-links-and-faqs):
Q: I am now out of work because of the virus and can’t pay my rent, can my landlord evict me?
No. On March 20th, the Governor signed an Executive Order implementing a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants. At this time, eviction proceedings have been suspended and no one can be evicted in New York State until at least August 20th.
A link to the Executive Order can be found here:
A link to moratorium extenstion announcement can be found here:
While there is a temporary moratorium on evictions, there is currently no moratorium on a tenant’s obligation to pay rent or an owner’s obligation to provide essential services. Economic relief may be available through unemployment insurance or other emergency social services. You should also consult a lawyer if you have questions relating to your specific lease. Here are NY State Bar Association links to legal service providers Statewide https://www.findalawyernys.org/ http://lawhelpNY.org/ http://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/
For more information visit: https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/housing/
For unemployment assistance visit: https://www.ny.gov/services/get-unemployment-assistance
For information on paid sick leave visit: https://www.governor.ny.gov/programs/paid-sick-leave-covid-19-impacted-new-yorkers
Q: What should I do if my landlord gives me an eviction notice?
There is a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants. At this time, eviction proceedings have been suspended and no one can be evicted in New York State until at least June 20th.
If you are a rent stabilized or rent controlled tenant and feel you are being harassed by your landlord, file a complaint with HCR’s Tenant Protection Unit at: email@example.com or Office of Rent Administration at: https://hcr.ny.gov/harassment
Non rent stabilized tenants can report harassment to AG’s office. https://ag.ny.gov/uploads/tenant-harassment-prevention-task-force-complaint-form
Additionally, while the courts have temporarily limited filings, significant acts of harassment may rise to the level of hazardous living conditions and may be an exception to the temporary moratorium on nonessential cases. A link to the administrative order can be found at: https://www.nycourts.gov/whatsnew/pdf/AO-78-2020.pdf
Q: My lease expires March 31, 2020. My landlord informed me via certified mail that he is not renewing my lease nor will he rent month to month. I have not secured a place. Will I be covered by the mortgage/rent moratorium?
Yes, at least temporarily. On March 20, 2020, implementing a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants. At this time, eviction proceedings have been suspended and no one can be evicted in New York State until at least June 20th.
Q: Do I still have to pay rent during this outbreak?
While there is a temporary moratorium on evictions, there is no stay or moratorium on a tenant’s obligation to pay rent or an owner’s obligation to provide essential services. The Executive order states in part:
There shall be no enforcement of either an eviction of any tenant residential or commercial, or a foreclosure of any residential or commercial property for a period of ninety days.
A link to the Executive Order can be found here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-2028-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency.
Additionally, New York’s Administrative Judge issued a temporary order that no new papers will be accepted for filing in nonessential court cases. In the context of housing, examples of essential cases, wherein the court will still accept filings, are: illegal lockouts, cases to restore tenants to possession, extremely hazardous living conditions, but not non-payment or holdover evictions. A link to the administrative order can be found at: https://www.nycourts.gov/whatsnew/pdf/AO-78-2020.pdf
While there is a temporary moratorium on evictions, there is currently no stay or moratorium on a tenant’s obligation to pay rent or an owner’s obligation to provide essential services. Beyond the moratorium on evictions, at this time there is no specific COVID-19 related economic relief for tenants. For some, economic relief may be available through unemployment insurance or other emergency social services. You should also consult a lawyer with questions relating to your specific lease. Here are NY State Bar Association links to legal service providers Statewide https://www.findalawyernys.org/ http://lawhelpNY.org/ http://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/
Q: Many small businesses have closed and renters have lost their jobs. Will there be a rent freeze or will landlords be required to suspend rent payments for tenants who are out of work?
There are no plans at this time to suspend rent payments, but this is an evolving situation. Governor Cuomo is committed to protecting New Yorkers, and assuring no New Yorker is forced out of their homes during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Q: Can landlords in New York attach late fees to partial rent payments during the coronavirus?
The Governor has issued an Executive Order (202.8) which can be found at: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-2028-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency
Also, there is a court administrative order (https://www.nycourts.gov/whatsnew/pdf/AO-78-2020.pdf) which, among other things, places temporary stay on evictions but does not excuse a tenant’s obligation to pay rent at this time, and there is no specific additional COVID-19 related economic relief for tenants or landlords and their respective rights and responsibilities are still binding.
You should also consult a lawyer with questions relating to your specific lease. Here are NY State Bar Association links to legal service providers Statewide https://www.findalawyernys.org/ http://lawhelpNY.org/ http://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/
SMALL BUSINESS EMERGENCY LOANS
- New York State has been approved by the Federal Government as an Economic Injury Disaster State due to COVID-19. Small businesses and private nonprofits can start the application process for emergency, low-interest loans at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
- More information can be found here: SBA Loan Fact Sheet
- In response to the COVID-19 crisis and the impact it is having on businesses throughout Chautauqua County, the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) is providing low-interest loans not to exceed $10,000 to businesses throughout Chautauqua County. This emergency funding, which originates from the Al-Tech Loan Fund, can be used for working capital needs, and the normal application and securitization requirements are being relaxed. While these emergency loans are to be paid back in their entirety, they will be interest-only for a minimum of three months, and leniency is being exercised in terms of normal collateral requirements. For more information or to apply for this program, please contact the CCIDA at 661-8900 or visit ccida.com.
Please refer to the Chautauqua County Department of Public Health COVID-19 Webpage for the most up to date local information: https://chqgov.com/public-health/novel-coronavirus-covid-19
Residents should follow the Health and Safety Guidelines published by the Center for Disease Control, which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html. We are encouraging residents to be proactive and stay home whenever possible.
If you feel sick:
- STAY HOME, except to get necessary medical care. If you have a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and especially if you are 65 years or age or older, are pregnant or have chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, a compromised immune system, chronic lung disease and/or cancer, call your healthcare provider.
Some ways you can take precautions:
- Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
- Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing the “happy birthday” song to yourself twice slowly).
- If soap and water are not available, use hand-sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Cover your cough. Cough into your elbow or a tissue. Throw tissues in the trash. Wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as phones, computers, door knobs, elevator buttons, light switches, toys, and serving utensils.
Please see the following for more health information: https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus
CITY OF JAMESTOWN ACTIONS/CLOSURES
The following precautions will be taking place to ensure the safety and potential exposure of residents and City employees:
- City Hall is closed and a minimal number of employees are in.
- All residents are encouraged to use online payments, mail in payment, or utilize the City Express Payment Drop Box or to call the Clerk’s Office.
- All passport applications are halted for the months of March and April. Residents seeking passports should visit the United States Postal Service office.
- All code enforcement officers are directed to limit inspections to external buildings only. Inside building inspections are no longer permitted during this time, except for emergency situations only.
- Jamestown City Court has been centralized to Mayville by the order of the Chief Judge. All arraignments shall be held in Mayville or conducted by video conferencing in the City Jail. Court Security will still be placed at the entrance of the building. No visitors will be allowed in the City jail area.
- We are following the workforce reduction order, and will be sending all non-essential City staff to work from home. This workforce reduction does not include any Police Officers or Firefighters.
CITY COUNCIL/BOARD AND COMMISSIONS MEETINGS
All boards and commission meetings are being rescheduled, with the exception of City Council. At this time, there will be limited access of public meetings to personnel, appointed members, and credentialed media only. The public will be asked to leave.
All meetings will be via live stream on the City’s website (www.jamestownny.net/live) and transcribed for the public.
Any member of the public wishing to make a comment to be read into the record should email or mail comments to the Clerk’s office by 5PM the day before a public meeting. Comments can be emailed to Clerk@CityofJamestownNY.com. This is in accordance with the Governor’s executive order.
Please refer to this informational sheet, created by the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County for information on any food, clothing, housing, and mental health assistance during this time: 4.09.2020 COVID Resource Sheet
Increased unemployment benefits are available. Please refer to the New York State Department of Labor “How to File a Claim” web page: https://labor.ny.gov/ui/how_to_file_claim.shtm
Jamestown Public Schools have closed for the rest of the school year. Please see https://www.jpsny.org/coronavirus for the latest information and updates.
Beginning Thursday, March 19, our community partners will be able to provide limited childcare for Jamestown Public School students whose parents cannot be excused from work at this time.
Childcare services will be provided five days a week beginning this Thursday from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM at the following locations:
- For any JPS student in grades K-5, childcare will be provided at Ring Elementary by the YMCA and Fletcher Elementary by the YWCA.
- For any JPS student ages 3 and 4, childcare will be provided by the YWCA, A Children’s Place, and Chautauqua Opportunities.
Breakfast and lunch will be provided by the Jamestown Public Schools.
Interested parents must register in person on Wednesday, March 18, by visiting Fletcher Elementary School or Ring Elementary School between the hours of 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Please bring verification of employment and work schedule with you to the registration.
For meals only, all JPS students may pick up grab-and-go school meals at the following locations:
- Washington Middle School
- Jefferson Middle School
- Persell Middle School
- Jamestown High School.
Meals will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the drop off zones at the middle schools and at the pool doors location at JHS. We recommend that you visit the pick-up location closest to your home.
If you are having difficulty picking up meals, please call your school’s main office.
Again, we are encouraging residents to call. Most of your questions can be answered over the phone. Please do not come into City Hall unless absolutely necessary. Here is a list of Department Phone Numbers:
Clerk’s Office: 716-483-7612
Department of Public Works: 716-483-7545
Department of Development: 716-483-7541
Mayor’s Office: 716-483-7600
Thank you and please stay safe.