As part of the Federal Government's recently passed American Rescue Act, Nassau County will receive almost $400 million dollars to be used for COVID-19 relief. Earlier this week, I joined with my colleagues in the Legislative Majority to call on the County Executive to establish a separate relief fund specifically targeted to help veteran, fraternal and other community organizations who are struggling financially due to the pandemic.
Unfortunately, these organizations have not been eligible for any kind of federal assistance or loan programs that many other businesses were able to take advantage of. As a result, many are facing major difficulties in paying rent, property taxes and maintenance on their venues as they have been unable to host events for over a year. I have even heard of some who feel they may be forced to sell their building due to the extensive loss of revenue.
The Legislature’s plan for a community organization COVID-19 relief fund would be twofold: first, the organization would be reimbursed for money they have lost over the last year when they could not be open for events. Second, on-going relief grants would made available so that they can remain afloat until all of the restrictions have been fully lifted.
Veterans and fraternal halls are part of the very fabric of our community, and I will continue my efforts to help them until they can get back to utilizing their buildings for public and private events. We still await receipt of the funds from the federal government but when do receive them, I am hopeful that the Administration will respond to our call by creating a fund for this specific purpose. I will keep you apprised of this issue as it unfolds.
In other news on the COVID-19 front, all New Yorkers 30 years of age and older are now able to receive the vaccine. Beginning April 6, eligibility also goes into effect for all state residents 16 years of age and older. Statewide, more than 9 million total doses have been administered across all vaccination sites. Here in Nassau County, we have now passed the 500,000 mark of residents who have received at least one vaccine dose, which represents almost half of the entire adult population. These numbers make our Health Department one of the most effective in the state in getting the vaccine into the arms of residents. Well done, NC DOH!
This week, Pfizer also announced the results of a clinical trial that shows its vaccine is 100% effective on tweens and teenagers in preventing the coronavirus. This means that the Pfizer vaccine could soon start being available to kids as young as 12 years of age. The vaccine in adults is still considered 91% effective.
These latest developments are allowing us to take significant steps forward as we push toward herd immunity and opening up of more facilities and entertainment venues after over a year of shutdowns and restrictions. While it is still important to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines, each day brings increased optimism that we are closer to beating this virus at its own game. We’ve already lost enough. It’s time that we take back our lives and live without all of the fear associated with COVID-19!
As always, please feel free to contact me with any thoughts and ideas you may have with respect to the County or on any particular issue that you think I may be able to assist you with. You may contact me at (516) 571-6214 or by email at LSchaefer@NassauCountyNY.gov .
Laura M. SchaeferLegislator, District 14