NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Mayor Bill de Blasio said the economic challenge posed by the coronavirus is comparable only to the Great Depression.

“Very, very sadly, we are living through something like it. The number of people who have become unemployed in just the last few weeks is staggering and unbelievable, we’re just still beginning to understand the magnitude of it. And the only parallel is the Great Depression, and the suddenness with which this happened in some ways was even worse than what happened 80 years ago,” de Blasio said.

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De Blasio said another stimulus package is needed this month to “catch up with the totality of this crisis.”

De Blasio said he’s launching a tenant hotline through 311 to help them navigate the economic and housing challenges brought on by the crisis.


“A lot of tenants right now don’t know what their rights are. They don’t know how to navigate this. They’re running out of money, they want to know where they can get relief. And remember, what we can help you with is all the different ways you can get income: Making sure you get money from the stimulus. Making sure you get unemployment insurance. If you qualify for food stamps, that’s another way to put money in your pocket. We want to make sure that if there’s anything that people can get, they’re getting it, and that your rights are being recognized. No landlord can attempt to evict you. No landlord can tell you you have to leave temporarily because you’re sick. You have clear rights as tenants,” de Blasio said.

De Blasio has called for a rent freeze, and wants the state to allow tenants to be able to use security deposit to pay their rent.

Monday, he called on the state to extend the eviction moratorium to 60 days after the crisis ends. He also called on the state to allow tenants to pay rent on a deferred payment plan if they can show that they’ve lost their job and don’t have income.

WEB EXTRA: See De Blasio’s 4/13 Presentation (.pdf)

CBS2’s Marcia Kramer asked the mayor if he’s concerned about widespread business failure across the city.

“I do worry deeply about our businesses particularly our small businesses surviving this and being able to employ our fellow New Yorkers and keep us all going,” he said. “So, to save those businesses, we actually have to get the health care part of this right and, Marcia, I don’t think that means forever. I think that means doing it right for, you know, weeks or a few months, and really making sure we shut the door on this to the maximum extent possible, moving into that phase of low level transmission, getting through that to the point where we basically don’t have cases. We’ve got to get that right. That’s the best way to make sure that businesses can come back. In the meantime, it’s incumbent on our federal government to keep supporting small businesses. I’m done with the corporate bailouts. The big corporations are gonna find a way. But the bailouts we need, the support we need, is for small business. I know this is  something Senator Schumer keeps talking about, there’s more that needs to be done in the next stimulus. So let’s get the health care part right and that’s the way to actually save the small businesses and revive the economy.”

He unveiled a $10 million multi-media coronavirus outreach campaign “laser focused” on the hardest hit communities.

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“We’ve targeted 88 zip codes in New York City where we see the most disproportionate negative impacts of the coronavirus. That’s where the focus will be to get this information out. To make sure that some of the confusion that everyone’s feeling is addressed head on. That some of the myths and misunderstandings are addressed, that people are given more information about what they can do and where they can turn if they need help,” de Blasio said.

As of Monday, de Blasio said all New Yorkers can track leading indicators of the virus in the city by CLICKING HERE. Those indicators are admissions to the hospital due to COVID-19, people currently in New York City’s public hospital ICUs, and percentage of people testing positive. Those numbers have a 48-hour lag, due to data collection, de Blasio said. With that in mind, the numbers for April 11 are:

  • 383 new hospital admissions (down from 463 the day before)
  • 835 people in ICUs (down from 857)
  • 58.1 testing positive citywide (down from 59.3)

“So, day one of this new effort, I’m pleased to report we do see all the indicators moving in the right direction, moving downwards together. This is a very good day. This is day one. Now we have to keep working all together to keep these numbers moving in the right direction,” de Blasio said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

De Blasio was asked about the difference between him and Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the decision to reopen New York City public schools. He pointed out that he and Cuomo have been in lockstep throughout the bulk of the crisis.

“It is not shocking that sometimes there’s just differences of perspective because what I need to do to protect kids, and parents, and families, and educators in New York City. It may be a different reality than what the governor’s thinking about if he’s thinking about the whole state or the whole Tri-State region. But what I did, what the chancellor did, was to protect our people. Schools clearly need to stay closed. They will stay closed,” de Blasio said. “I’m telling you schools are not going to open because it won’t be safe to open them.

De Blasio announced alternate side parking was suspended through April 28.

The mayor urged all New Yorkers to continue to report social distancing violations as they become aware of them.

“In the next few days, we’re going to add another option where you can just submit a photo,” de Blasio said. “We want to make it easy. We want to make it fast. We want to make sure the enforcement is fast.”

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