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Help on the way to New Yorkers affected by COVID-19

Local News

The latest executive order by Governor Cuomo on Friday shut down 100% of the state’s nonessential workforce until further notice, which is a scary time for many individuals and business who rely on their weekly earnings to make ends meet each month.

Fortunately, help for displaced workers is on the way.

At the state level, Governor Cuomo and state legislators last week passed a comprehensive Paid Sick Leave policy that guarantees job protection and financial compensation for any worker put on a mandatory or precautionary quarantine due to COVID-19.

The type of compensation provided will depend on a variety of factors. Those who are quarantined but working from home do not qualify for these benefits (more here).

Additionally, if an employer is closed due to COVID-19 or a quarantine order, employees may immediately apply for Unemployment Insurance. The seven day waiting period has been waived and a new schedule has been made to process claims faster.

A federal stimulus package is also making its way through Congress with funding to provide additional help for middle class workers, which is currently being debated in the U.S. Senate.

As for small business owners who may be struggling, the Small Business Administration has revised its criteria for those seeking an economic injury declaration of up to $2M due to COVID-19.

This measure was taken to make the qualification process faster and easier for states seeking assistance, while expanding access to SBA Disaster Assistance Loans for small businesses.

Members of the Senate have also proposed legislation that would allow them to apply and receive grants quickly through the Treasury Department.

Additionally, state legislators have called for the establishment of a $890 million Small Business Emergency Assistance Fund that would come from settlement funds set to be used during economic uncertainty.

If passed, that funding would be distributed through grants, loans and emergency assistance relief to provide small business owners interest-free loans, repurposed tax credits and other possibilities.

Locally, various groups are doing their part to provide needed services and resources to the community.

The United Way for Cortland County has launched a special food insecurity fund, with 100% of money raised being distributed across the community’s food pantries, which are currently responding to an increased demand from local families.

To support the rapidly escalating need, go to and click the GIVE HELP NOW button.

For those in need of food or any other services, call 2-1-1 or visit

Cortland Beer Company and several other distilleries across Central New York are converting their distilling machines to ethanol production in response to the urgent need for hand sanitizer.

CBC says it will have a limited supply of bulk hand sanitizer to donate to any local businesses or institutions in short supply.

For information, contact

Hospicare and Palliative Care Services is launching a regular Facebook live series to support anyone that is grieving or struggling with isolation.

Their bi-weekly 15 minute wellness sessions will run Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am, with presentations by the interdisciplinary Hospicare team. Series will continue until their able to host support groups again (currently on hold till 4/15).

  • Tues March 24, 10am – Guided Meditation with Laura Ward
  • Thurs March 26, 10am – Breathing for Relaxation with Sara Worden
  • Tues March 31, 10am – Therapeutic Harp with Jayne Demakos
  • Thurs April 2, 10am – Tools for Senior Isolation with Jen Gabriel
  • Tues April 7, 10am – Spiritual Guidance with Edie Reagan
  • Thurs April 9, 10am – Gentle Stretching with Sara Worden
  • Tues April 14, 10am – Therapeutic Harp with Jayne Demakos

All programs will be recorded live on Facebook and will be available after on our Facebook page, blog ( and our Instagram page (@hospicareNY). Series is free but donations are appreciated.

Several churches have announced they’ll be streaming masses online, including:

  • Cortland United Presbyterian Church (live-streamed on Facebook Sundays at 10:30 am)
  • Grace Christian Fellowship (pre-recorded for viewing on website every Sunday at 9 am)
  • St. Mary’s Parish (live-streamed on Facebook daily)

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