CORONAVIRUS IN NYC: Outdoor pools closed this summer, de Blasio says; death toll tops 11K

Adam Warner
April 16, 2020 - 5:12 pm

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that New York City is expected to lose $7.4 billion in tax revenue over the next 15 months as the city grapples with the economnic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and widespread shutdowns. He announced widespread cuts, including to public pools, and warned New Yorkers to "keep expectations low" that public gatherings will return for the summer months.

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    Here are the latest figures:

    There have been 7,563 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 3,914 probable coronavirus deaths in the city, bringing the citywide death toll to 11,477.

    At least 117,565 have tested positive for the virus in the city. Here's the breakdown by borough:

    • Bronx: 25,638
    • Brooklyn: 31,279
    • Manhattan: 15,539
    • Queens: 36,220
    • Staten Island: 8,822

    The $89.3 billion budget for the 2021 fiscal year, which starts July 1, will focus on four priorities, de Blasio said: keeping people safe, protecting their health, making sure they have a roof over their head and food on their table.

    The budget has been cut by $6 billion from the $95.3 billion budget de Blasio unveiled in January. The mayor said sales, income and business taxes have all plummeted because of the virus and shutdown and the city is strapped for cash.

    "We had to shut down our retail stores. We had to shut down bars and restaurants. We had to change our lives fundamentally," de Blasio said.

    The city so far has spent over $700 million to handle the virus outbreak and expects to spend a total of $3.5 billion by the end of December.

    De Blasio said the city prepared for a rainy day, reserves which will help it get through the challenges brought by the coronavirus without making cuts to programs addressing critical health care, safety, shelter and food needs.

    "We got much more than a rainy day. We got a pandemic," the mayor said. "Before this crisis, we had the highest fiscal reserves in the history of New York City, and thank God we did."

    Among the cuts to the budget is the closure of outdoor pools across the city this summer, which is expected to save $12 million.

    De Blasio said people should "lower their expectations" this summer when it comes to outdoor activities like beaches and sporting activities since the city is still trying to control the spread of the coronavirus.

    "Every one of us would love to have our summer or some part of our summer," he said. "But let's make sure we get it right."

    He added: "we don't have a clear road map for how we get to summer activities... I don't see that happening any time soon."

    Key cuts to the budget:

    • Closing all outdoor pools for the 2020 season (late June to Labor Day) given COVID-19 - $12M in FY21
    • Suspension of 1,000 summer camp slots run by Parks Department for the 2020 season- $0.6M in FY21
    • Suspend E-Waste Collection (manufacturers still mandated to collect) (DSNY) - $3.4M in FY21 and outyears
    • Snow Savings (DSNY) - $52M in FY20
    • Reduce overnight Staten Island ferry service because of reduced demand - $600K in FY20 and $4.9M in FY21
    • Reduce funding for Vision Zero public awareness campaign - $1M in FY20 and $2M in FY21
    • Postpone Placard Abuse Enforcement Team (DOT) - $400K in FY20 and $800K in FY21 and outyears
    • Delayed April NYPD Cadet class until July due to training restrictions from COVID-19 (NYPD) - $1.1M IN FY20
    • Delayed April NYPD Officer class until July due to training restrictions from COVID-19 (NYPD) - $9.6M IN FY20
    • Monthly MetroCard underutilization for remaining 2 months of academic year (CUNY) - $6.8M in FY20
    • Delay in 3K Expansion to districts in 1, 12, 14, and 29 (DOE) - $43M in FY21

    De Blasio renewed his calls for help from the federal government, saying the city needs $5 billion to $10 billion to keep essential services running.

    "If the federal government fails us, the notion of this city recovering doesn’t work if we can’t do the basics," de Blasio said, adding that the federal government must cover all the lost revenue.

    He said President Donald Trump should speak to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about getting the city federal aid.

    “If you lead, the Senate will follow. If you are silent, they will not. It’s on you, Mr. President,” de Blasio said, adding that he spoke Wednesday to the Republican president and told him “his hometown needs him.”

    De Blasio also described a "tough day" when it came to coronavirus metrics. He said number of hospitalizations, ICU admissions and people testing positive had all gone up over the past day.

    "This is not what we're looking for. But we know we're going to do this stage by stage, step by step," he said.

      De Blasio also said that after initially lining up hotels to become temporary hospitals, the city is now planning to use 11,000 of the rooms as quarantine sites for some people in crowded apartments, for some homeless shelter residents and for health care workers who don’t want to risk infecting family members.

      “If there is a threat that someone might get infected in the home and it might spread amongst the members of that family, we have to guard against that,” he said.

      De Blasio said the city will work with community health centers to identify who needs the service and will start moving people into hotel rooms April 22.

      Initially, “our projections told us we might have to use a vast number of hotels, dozens and dozens, to be able to accommodate all the medical needs,” he said. “So far, thank God, that has not been the case.”

      The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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