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New Governor directives slash non-essential in-office workforce and ease financial hardship for those impacted by COVID-19

"Announces 90-day mortgage relief for New Yorkers, including waived mortgage payments based on financial hardship and no negative reporting to credit bureaus - Waived fees for overdrafts, ATMs, and credit cards

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed an executive order that all businesses with non-essential in-office personnel decrease their in-office workforce by 75%. This directive does not apply to the following industries:

  • Shipping
  • Media
  • Warehousing
  • Grocery and food production
  • Pharmacies
  • Healthcare providers
  • Utilities
  • Banks and related financial institutions
  • Other industries critical to the supply chain

Businesses that don’t fall under those categories must adhere to work-from-home policies in order to decrease their in-house workforce by 75%, starting March 20, at 8pm. 

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership has broken it all down even further:

  • The EO takes effect Friday 3/20/20 at 8PM 
  • The 75 percent reduction mandate is for employees on site at any given time 
  • This mandate applies to both profit and non-profit employers 
  • Employers are strongly encouraged to have employees work from home where and when possible 
  • The EO contains a list of essential businesses that are exempt from the mandatory reduction.  These essential businesses include: 
    • Essential health care operations including research and laboratory services 
    • Essential infrastructure including utilities, telecommunication, airports and transportation infrastructure 
    • Essential manufacturing, including food processing and pharmaceuticals 
    • Essential retail including grocery stores and pharmacies 
    • Essential services including trash collection, mail, and shipping services 
    • News media 
    • Banks and related financial institutions; providers of necessities to economically disadvantaged populations 
    • Construction 
    • Vendors of essential services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences or other essential businesses 
    • Vendors that provide essential services or products, including logistics and technology support, childcare and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public 

The Governor has also announced that there is some relief coming to those facing financial hardship. The Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued a new directive to New York State mortgage servicers that over the course of the next 90 days, there will be payments waived for mortgage borrowers who are directly impacted by coronavirus, among other measures. This is the first step towards alleviating financial hardships for those who are being negatively impacted financially due to the crisis at hand. The measures are as follows:

  • Waiving mortgage payments based on financial hardship;
  • No negative reporting to credit bureaus;
  • Grace period for loan modification;
  • No late payment fees or online payment fees; and
  • Postponing or suspending foreclosures.

“We know what we have to do to contain the spread of this virus – reduce density and person to person contact – and based on new facts we are getting every day, we’re taking further steps to keep more New Yorkers at home while keeping essential services running,” said Governor Cuomo, who also asked DFS to instruct state chartered banks to waive ATM fees, late fees, overdraft fees and fees for credits cards for New Yorkers. “At the same time, we know there is going to be an economic impact across the state and we are taking new actions to support the thousands of New Yorkers and small businesses who are suffering. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be disruptive, but we will get through this together.”

While there was no reference made about whether this directive applies to commercial or residential mortgage holders, we’re assuming it’s both. Also, we’re hoping that building owners that are taking advantage of the waived mortgage payments are passing along favorable payment reductions to their tenants.

Lead image: Photo by Austin Distel

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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