New York Farm Bureau will be sending daily alerts at this time to keep you up to date on the latest COVID-19 news that may affect you, your farm family and employees. We know things are constantly changing, but we will do our best to keep you informed, offer guidance and share ways you may be able to help. We will do this for as long as it is necessary. NYFB is a community, and we are all in this together.
The Latest from Gov. Cuomo’s Daily Briefing on COVID-19*
- 7,067 deaths in NYS, according to officials.
- Current trend of cases is below all projected models: 90,000 bed capacity, 18,279 beds occupied, currently.
- Numbers showing that the social distancing measures are flattening the curve.
- Numbers of hospitalizations, ICU admissions and intubations are continuing to decrease.
- NYS is bringing in additional funeral directors to help.
- Mental health is a growing problem (domestic violence cases are rising).
- State is watching Rockland, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties as new hot spots.
- State is asking for blood donations in order to get plasma testing up and running. This is a joint effort with Connecticut and New Jersey.
- The New York Post stated Mayor Bill de Blasio mentioned May as a possible easing of restrictions, but Governor doesn't want to get into projections.
- The Governor says the state looks at data every day, and that drives the policy.
*Courtesy NY StateWatch
Gov. Cuomo has extended the Pause Act to April 29, which mandates non-essential workers to work from home and a six-foot social distancing space be observed in public places. Click here for more information.
For the latest number of infection cases, including a breakdown by county, click here.
Unemployment Insurance in New York Under the CARES Act
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the third emergency response package to deal with the economic fallout of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Included in this Act are a series of provisions to strengthen and extend unemployment insurance (UI) benefits known as the Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act. There are three significant provisions to this Act:
• Increased benefit amounts
• Extended time for benefits
• Extended coverage for individuals who are not typically eligible for unemployment benefits.
NYFB has prepared an extensive Fact Sheet for members on unemployment benefits under the CARES Act and procedures to apply to the NYSDOL which can be found here.
NOTE: NYSDOL is currently experiencing an extraordinarily high volume of calls and on-line applications. Following are instructions on when to apply:
If you are filing a new Unemployment Insurance claim, the day you should apply is based on the first letter of your last name:
• A - F file on Monday
• G - N file on Tuesday
• O - Z file on Wednesday
Missed your day? File on Thurs-Fri-Sat
Any claim you file will be backdated to the date you became unemployed. If you are eligible, you will be paid for all benefits due.
Extended telephone filing hours as follows:
Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m. to 7:30 pm
Friday: 8 a.m. to 6:00 pm
Saturday: 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 pm Telephone: 888-209-8124
A step-by-step process to file online by clicking this link.
USDOT Extends National Emergency Declaration for Commercial Vehicles through May 15
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended their expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak through May 15, 2020. The previous emergency declaration was set to end on April 12.
The execution of this emergency declaration allows motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks emergency relief from certain parts the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). Direct assistance means transportation and other relief services provided by a motor carrier or its driver(s) incident to the immediate restoration of essential services (such as medical care) or essential supplies (such as food and fuel) related to COVID-19 outbreaks during the emergency. A copy of the declaration can be found here.
AFBF Offers Farm Stress Training Program
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is offering their online farm stress training program to all state Farm Bureau members and staff for free. With impacts from COVID-19 adding to depressed commodity prices, declining farm income, labor shortages and many other pressing issues, America’s farmers are experiencing ever-increasing levels of stress. The Rural Resilience training provides value to anyone who is under stress and is designed for individuals who interact with farmers. Any Farm Bureau member may register for the free online training here.
State Website for Questions About Emergency Paid Family Leave and Disability
New York State employers have a new paid time off mandate for any of their employees under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity duly authorized to issue such an order due to COVID-19. This does not apply to any non-essential business closed as a result of any executive order, layoff, or any other employee leave request. This new required emergency sick time is (for employers of less than 100 employees) supplemented by enhanced Paid Family Leave (PFL) and NYS Disability (DBL) benefits.
The state has created a new website to answer your questions about this new program that can be found at this link. This should be your first resource for questions regarding the new New York State Emergency Paid Sick Leave Law.
“Stop the Spread” Posters Available in Multiple Languages
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is working with the State Department of Health to provide employers and employees with guidelines to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 at the workplace. Full guidance document can be found here in English and Spanish.
And links to signs can be found below:
Cornell CALS Institute for Food Safety Resources
Have a question regarding what to do if an employee tests positive, or need guidance on how to improve sanitation procedures? There’s a new resource from Cornell CALS, a “Standard Operating Procedure” that food processors and also farmers can utilize to design a plan in advance of an employee testing positive. Have the information that you need and the steps to take already prepared before a positive employee test. The first link is a risk management strategy checklist, designed more for food processors but also adaptable to farms. The second link is the Standard Operating Procedure which will be helpful to have completed in advance. As always, the Cornell Institute for Food Safety coronavirus resource page has an FAQ page, information on audits and cleaning protocols, and other resources.
Need information? View the following Cornell CALS and CCE Resource. Pages Updated Regularly.
- General Questions and Links
- Food Production, Processing & Safety Questions
- Employment & Agricultural Workforce Questions
- Cornell Small Farms Resiliency Resources
- Financial and Mental Health Resources for Farmers
- Two-Minute Spanish Language Educational Video on COVID-19
NY FarmNet is open
Please keep these numbers and websites available to call or share should you, a family member or friends need someone to speak with in these uncertain times.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255 (TALK), www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Crisis Text Line
Text “GOT 5” to 741-741, www.crisistextline.org
If you have concerns about how COVID-19 will affect your agricultural operation, please give New York Farm Bureau a call at 518-436-8495. We can only help those who ask. Who knows, maybe your question will cause us to get ahead of a problem instead of reacting to it after it has become a problem.
- For previous NYFB COVID-19 alerts and the latest info, click here.
- Click here for the latest information from New York State on COVID-19.
- The CDC has created a website for the latest news on the virus.
Click here to access it.
- COVID-19 Guidance from NYSDAM is available on its website. The department has also published a general resource guide for the agricultural community.