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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Last Updated: Tuesday March 31, 2020, 4:48pm

Due to the fast-changing situation, information on ACCESS NYC may not reflect the latest updates. 

Learn more from the City Agency Services Updates page.


For information on how to help stop the spread of coronavirus, available resources, and other updates, visit the NYC Health Department (DOH) website.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses like pneumonia. The 2019 novel coronavirus causes a respiratory disease called COVID-19. Infections with this new virus have been reported in many areas, including the United States and New York City. To learn more, see the Coronavirus Factsheet.

Health care and testing
All New Yorkers should consider themselves potentially exposed to coronavirus. That means that everyone should stay home as much as possible, even if they do not have any symptoms of COVID-19.

You should consult with your doctor if you:

  • Have fever, cough, shortness of breath or other cold or flu-like symptoms and do not feel better after three to four days
    Have mild symptoms and are an older adult or have any of the chronic health conditions listed above
  • Use telephone, text, telemedicine or a patient portal to reach out rather than going to your doctor in person. You and your provider will decide if you need to come to medical care.

If you need help finding a health care provider, call 311.

Immigrants and public charge
On March 13, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that seeking or using healthcare services related to COVID-19 will NOT be considered under the public charge rule, even if the services are Medicaid-funded. Learn more from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA).

Anyone who needs help during the COVID-19 crisis should seek care without fear, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay for health services. To learn more about health care and testing, refer to the section above.


Understanding benefits for workers affected by COVID-19

If the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has affected your work, you may be eligible for certain benefits. Refer to the chart below to understand which benefits you may be able to get in your situation.

various nyc worker benefits related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) 1

various nyc worker benefits related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) 2

Download a PDF of the COVID-19 benefits images above.

Updates to Unemployment Insurance

Other benefits
To find other benefits, such as food, rent and cash assistance, and more, please visit the relevant sections on this page.

Understanding Workers’ Rights

Monitor for ongoing updates, or read a summary of City workplace laws while facing the impacts of COVID-19.

Updates to Paid Safe and Sick Leave


Unemployment Benefits and Health Insurance
The Unemployment Benefits and Health Insurance FAQ provides guidance for those recently unemployed due to COVID-19. (PDF, March 19)

FAQ in other Languages: 繁體中文 | 简体中文 | Español | 한국어 | 日本語 | Русский | Kreyòl ayisyen | বাংলা | Italiano | Polski | ײִדיש | العربية | Français | اردو | فارسى | ελληνικά | עברית | हिन्दी | नेपाली | ਪੰਜਾਬੀ | Tagalog | Tiếng Việt

Free/Low-Cost Health Care
NYC Care provides low-cost or free healthcare for all New Yorkers regardless of ability to pay or immigration status.

Call the 24-hour NYC Care service at 646-NYC-CARE (646-692-3373) to enroll and make an appointment. 

Primary care, specialty, and emergency services (including hospital stays) are all available for NYC Care members. For help in other languages, visit


Emergency food
If you need emergency food assistance, call the Emergency Food Hotline at 866-888-8777 or 311 to find a local pantry or kitchen. There is no income limit for emergency food. Learn more about Emergency food.

Food Pantries
Find a food pantry with FoodHelp NYC.

NYC Food Delivery Assistance
The City of New York is providing assistance to New Yorkers during the COVID-19 crisis by delivering meals to those who cannot access food themselves. Learn more at

Free meals for K-12 students
All NYC children can get three free meals a day from the NYC Department of Education (DOE). Through Friday, March 20, meals are available at the entrance to every school from 7:30am–1:30pm. Beginning March 23, meals will be distributed at more than 400 sites across the city. Find a location near you.

How to pick up a meal:

  • No registration, ID, or documentation is required
  • You can pick up all three meals a day at the same time
  • No dining space is available, so you must eat meals away from schools

Senior residents and food
For seniors ages 60 years and older who have disabilities or access or functional needs, NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA) provides home-delivered meals . Call 311 and learn more from DFTA.

SNAP (food stamps) benefits online
You can now use your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to shop online for fresh produce and groceries and have them delivered. Use your EBT card at these online stores in NYC:

Note: You can’t use SNAP benefits to pay delivery fees. Be sure to confirm that an online store delivers to your home address. Learn more from HRA.

Apply for SNAP (Food Stamps) at ACCESS HRA.

WIC COIVD-19 Updates: 

  • WIC on-site appointments are limited however many NYS WIC offices are available to provide services by phone for appointments.
  • NYS WIC is not suspending any eWIC cards, although there are scams online stating this. Benefits are valid through your family’s “Benefits Valid Through” date.
  • You can check your WIC benefit balance by:
    – Checking WIC2Go, the mobile app
    – Checking your last store receipt
    – Visiting your store’s customer service desk
    – Calling the eWIC card Customer Service at 844-540-3031
    – Visiting

For questions about food or formula availability, visit the vendor management agency to find locations in your area for help.


Domestic violence
In an emergency, dial 911. Call the NYC Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-621-4673, TTY 866-604-5350 (if you’re hearing impaired) to speak with a counselor. Learn more about how Family Justice Centers can help.

Risk of homelessness and rent assistance
Homebase will help you develop a plan to overcome an immediate housing crisis and achieve housing stability. Call 311 to find out how Homebase can help and learn more from HRA.

Programs and services for youth who are experiencing homelessness are expected to continue providing basic services. Learn more from DYCD website.

Section 8
NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Section 8 voucher holders having trouble paying rent because of income loss should email

Rent Arrears and Cash Assistance
If your work schedule was reduced as a result of the coronavirus and you are unable to pay your rent, you can apply for a Cash Assistance special grant request to get benefits for emergencies.


Unemployment Insurance
NY State (NYS) is dropping the 7-day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 closures or quarantines.

The federal CARES act was signed into law March 27, 2020. The act provides enhanced Unemployment Insurance benefits and Pandemic Assistance (PUA) for New Yorkers. Learn more from NY State Department of Labor.

NYS Dept. labor is extending telephone filing hours as follows:

  • Monday through Thursday, 8am to 7:30pm
  • Friday, 8am to 6pm
  • Saturday, 7:30am to 8pm

Call 888-469-7365 if you have questions about unemployment benefits.

Apply for Unemployment from NY State.

Receive assistance with job seeking from NYC Small Business Services. Workforce 1 is operating virtually.


Vulnerable populations and children of frontline workers
Regional Enrichment Centers will be available all day starting Monday, March 23 for the children of first responders, healthcare workers, transit workers, and the most vulnerable student populations. If you think your child may be eligible, fill out an enrollment form.

Learn more about the centers on the DOE’s website.

Free internet at home
Charter is offering free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. New student households don’t have to pay installation fees

To enroll, call Spectrum at 844-488-8395.

Devices for remote schooling
The NYC Department of Education is helping families that need remote learning devices. Please fill out the survey below if you need assistance:

After school and enrichment programs
All DYCD-funded programs based in NYC DOE schools, including Beacon, are closed until schools reopen. More than 60 Cornerstone and COMPASS Center-based programs are modified or open, providing food distribution through partnerships with DOE Grab and Go Meals, Food Bank, FreshDirect, and the existing food being delivered to centers. Open centers are also an information resource for their communities. DYCD-funded afterschool programs are conducting virtual check-in and/or remote learning, wherever possible.


NYC Well
An infectious illness outbreak can be stressful to you and your loved ones. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, sad, anxious, and afraid, or to experience other symptoms of distress, such as trouble sleeping. To reduce your stress and to manage the situation more resiliently, try to remain positive, remind yourself of your strengths, connect with friends and loved ones and use healthy coping skills.

If your symptoms of stress become overwhelming, reach out for support and help. You can contact NYC Well, a confidential 24/7 helpline, staffed by trained counselors. They can provide brief counseling and referrals to care in over 200 languages.

If you’re worried about how your child is dealing with the stress of COVID-19, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on managing stress and anxiety.

Mental Health Support While Staying Home
If you need mental health services during the COVID-19 crisis and identify resources, please visit ThriveNYC’s new guide to mental health services you can access while staying home, by phone or online. This guide includes information about services tailored to the needs of aging New Yorkers, veterans, students and young people, and people harmed by violence, crime or abuse.

All services are free to New Yorkers, regardless of insurance coverage or immigration status.


Internet – Xfinity WiFi
Until further notice, all Xfinity WiFi Public Hotspots are now open to everyone on the “xfinitywifi” SSID. 

  • Public hotspots can be found in small/medium businesses and outdoors in commercial areas. 
  • Non-Xfinity subscribers need to accept Terms and Conditions to access the network and repeat when requested to continue to receive free unlimited access. 
  • Find a WiFi Public HotSpot on this map and learn more from Xfinity WiFi.


For more information about these and other benefits, explore additional resources and services on ACCESS NYC’s Program Directory.

For more resources available, see HELP NOW NYC’s Assistance for Individuals.

Updated March 31, 2020