The spread of COVID-19 has deeply impacted the lives of all New Yorkers. In addition to the threat the virus poses to people’s health, the pandemic has changed the way we go to work and school, access health care and other critical services, and interact in our communities and beyond. Information about closures of services and institutions, policy changes, and what your rights are can change day to day. This page will be updated to ensure that New Yorkers know where to find accurate and trusted information.

Last updated Wednesday, April 8

How to Stay Updated

Q.How to Stay Updated
A.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remains the best resource to get information on keeping yourself safe from the virus, identifying symptoms, and reviewing reported cases across the country.  

For up-to-date information on actions taken by the Governor and the state Department of Health to combat the virus and assist New Yorkers, visit the state Department of Health website.  

To receive important announcements on COVID-19 via text alerts, text “New York” to 81336 for state updates. Text “COVID” to 692-692 for New York City updates or text "COVIDESP" to 692-692 for updates in Spanish. 

Physical Distancing and Business Closures

Q.Physical Distancing and Business Closures
A.

As of Sunday, March 22, all non-essential workers have been ordered to stay home and non-essential gatherings of any size are banned. While New Yorkers are encouraged to practice social distancing and stay at home, there is currently no curfew in place. Essential services and stores will be open, including grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants that serve delivery and take-out. For more information, visit the New York State Department of Health website.

Schools 

Q.Schools 
A.

Public schools (K-12) in New York City are closed through at least April 20. Remote learning for students begins March 23. Students who do not already have tools for remote learning may be able to receive devices and tablets over the next few weeks. You do not have to have home WiFi to use these devices, but Spectrum is offering students free internet services through at least May 15. As information is changing rapidly, your principal will probably have more up-to-date information than the central DOE office. Please check with your school for information about obtaining a device. 

All schools will provide “grab-and-go” breakfast and lunch daily for anyone under 18 years old. For more information, visit the state Department of Education website

Starting on March 23, Regional Enrichment Centers will be open for the children of first responders, healthcare workers, transit workers, and others in every borough. If your child receives special education or medical services through their public school, they may also be able to access these services through the enrichment centers. Please check with your principal for details.  

All other K-12 public schools in the state will be closed until at least April 15. Districts are using various methods to get instructional materials to students, so please check your district website for information. In addition, our NYCLU chapters across the state may be able to assist. 

As of March 25, SUNY campuses are not closed, but students are discouraged from returning to campus until further notice. Campuses are currently remaining open for students with special circumstances. Most classes are transitioning to remote learning until further notice, and campuses are contacting students with additional details. For more information on SUNY’s response to coronavirus, visit their website

CUNY schools have instituted remote learning as of March 19. CUNY schools are closed between March 27 and April 1 for a "Recalibration Period" to allow students and educators to adjust and plan for remote learning. Classes will begin again, remotely, on April 2. Beginning April 1, CUNY is enacting a flexible credit/no credit policy. For more information on CUNY’s response to coronavirus, visit their website.

Voting and Elections

Q.Voting and Elections
A.

New York’s presidential primary election has been postponed until June 23. Absentee ballots will be available for all New Yorkers for the June 23 primaries. For more information, or for instructions to obtain and cast an absentee ballot, contact your county’s Board of Elections.  

The 2020 Census form was mailed out to all residences in March. You can fill out the questionnaire by mail, by phone, or online. For more information, visit the Census Bureau website. The 2020 Census does not have a question on citizenship and there are strong privacy safeguards to protect personal information. 

Housing and Utilities 

Q.Housing and Utilities 
A.

All eviction proceedings and pending orders are indefinitely suspended statewide as of March 16th. If you receive an eviction notice, contact your landlord and the court’s coronavirus hotline, (833) 503-0447.

New York utilities will keep power, heat, gas, and water on for all customers, to support people who are unable to pay their bills due to the coronavirus.  

Health Insurance

Q.Health Insurance
A.

If you do not have health insurance, a special enrollment period is now open through April 15. You can apply for coverage through the NY State of Health website, and by phone at 855-355-5777.

Unemployment 

Q.Unemployment 
A.

If you have lost your job due to the coronavirus, the seven-day waiting period to apply for unemployment insurance benefits is waived. For more information and to apply for benefits, visit the state Department of Labor website.

Courts

Q.Courts
A.

The New York state court system is making a plan to postpone non-essential services and proceedings. Sign up for updates for court closures from the New York State Unified Court System website. To find out if a particular court is open, call the court’s coronavirus hotline, (833) 503-0447.