Coronavirus Update, August 14, 2020

The City of Ithaca is creating a new “Ithaca Anchor Storefront Recovery Loan Fund” to help certain local businesses survive Coronavirus related revenue shortfalls, says the Ithaca Times.

The program will give assistance to businesses considered “anchors” to the city, either because of their critical location, importance to the local economic recovery or the community identity.

The city outlines in a press release that businesses who qualify will receive low-cost economic development loans of between $8,000 to $50,000. The loans will be serviced by the Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, and the program is a collaboration between the Ithaca Office of Economic Development, Tompkins chamber, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance and the Small Business Development Center.

Businesses interested in applying can find the full details on the INHS website, which is

Assemblymember Barbara Lifton, who represents New York’s 125th district, has proposed a bill that would document records of evictions state-wide and make those records publicly available.

Lifton says she introduced the legislation because understanding the trends and factors that lead to tenants being evicted may help prevent evictions in the future. She adds that there is currently no easy way to access eviction records. If the bill becomes a law, New York State would begin collecting data for all residential and commercial evictions, including the reason for eviction, money owed, zip code, and date of eviction.

This comes after Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the eviction moratorium to October 1st of this year, as millions of Americans face eviction as a result of economic fallout from the pandemic.

Looking at the local COVID-19 caseload, as of Thursday night there are 3 new cases of the virus confirmed in Tompkins, and 2 additional recoveries. According to the County Health Department, that leaves 9 active cases of COVID-19 in Tompkins.

In Schuyler County, again there are no new cases of COVID-19 reported as of Friday, according to their Health Department. All active cases have recovered.

Some details about Schuyler County school reopenings have emerged in the last day. The Odessa Montour School Superintendent Chris Wood says that the school district will likely be having in-person attendance this coming semester, reports the Odessa File.

Superintendent Wood says that he’s made contact with the majority of families of students in the district, and that over 500 students say they plan on attending in person. He adds that the other one hundred of the students surveyed were opting for remote schooling. Wood affirms that the schools were designed for a larger number of students than currently attending, therefore the classrooms are large enough to effectively enact social distancing.

Meanwhile, the Watkins Glen School Board has voted overwhelmingly to adopt a half-and-half plan, where all students would attend school on an alternating schedule. Superintendent Greg Kelahan says the idea of the plan was that they would never have more than 50% of the kids in the school at one time. Half of the students would attend Monday and Tuesday, the other half Thursday and Friday, with Wednesday being remote learning for all students.

According to the Odessa file, the plan will be further explained to parents next week.

New York is expecting a $14.5 billion dollar deficit this fiscal year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the state’s economy.

According to the Albany Times-Union, the state budget director says that the pandemic is doing more damage to the state’s economy than the Great Recession about 10 years ago. In an effort to recover from losses, the state has made major moves such as cutting payments to local governments by 20%, leaving less money for essential services like mental health and substance abuse treatment.

The state is expecting the budget reductions to continue or become permanent, and is expecting a $62 billion dollar deficit in the state’s economy through 2024.

Contributing writing by Ed von Aderkas and Peter Champelli