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Pandemic forcing some LIers to relocate

For some, job losses during pandemic mean it's time to move

Some Long Islanders say they're left with no choice but to relocate to areas with a lower cost of living.

"You're in a high cost of living area and now all of a sudden you have no job, which means you have no money. You also have to consider that we're in a place where for so many people, it's hard to save," said Joshua Daniel, a real estate agent at Melville-based Emerald City Realty.

Inquiries from callers seeking help with relocation services have spiked in recent weeks, Daniel said, adding that people tend to look at southern states such as Florida, Texas and the Carolinas for relocation.

For Melissa and Rian Guy, making ends meet was already challenging before the coronavirus resulted in their permanent furloughs. They spent hours applying to more than 20 jobs a day for several days, she said. But it was all to no avail.

When they received federal stimulus money, "we saved all of it," he said. "We were determined because we realized it made no sense to stay. We're getting nowhere here. We're killing ourselves working just to live here without even being able to afford our own place."  

The number of new positives reported today: 45 in Nassau, 58 in Suffolk, 367 in New York City and 727 statewide.

The graph above shows the number of unemployment claims filed each week on Long Island. Search a map and view more charts showing the latest local economic trends, as well as trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

‘They don’t tell you anything... Then all of a sudden your mother's dead.’

In the 72 hours leading up to and through Easter, COVID-19 infections propelled the Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation into nightmarish end-of-life crises for patients who were isolated inside and loved ones who were locked out.

Over three days starting Friday that weekend, May Granito, 99, Catherine Virone, 93, Florence Gertler, 98, Julie Toves, 86, and Evelyn Gaglione, 73, lost their lives in the nursing home, and Kathleen Barbara, 71, died two hours after being transferred to a hospital.

Their families mark the fatalities as occurring from April 10 to April 12. Death certificates cite COVID-19 as causing the deaths of four of the women, their loved ones say, while the families of the other two are just as sure that COVID-19 took their lives.

“It’s really horrifying that they don’t tell you anything,” said Florence Gertler’s daughter Nancy Gertler, 63, of Great Neck. “And then all of a sudden your mother’s dead.”

Prompted by anguished accounts of Cold Spring Hills loved ones, a Newsday investigation captured a portrait of tragedy as the virus moved through one nursing home — a facility rated “much below average” by federal authorities based on health inspections.

Cuomo: Bowling alleys, NYC museums can reopen

New York continues to register low levels of the coronavirus, prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo to announce bowling alleys can reopen on Monday and low-risk cultural sites such as museums and aquariums can reopen in New York City on Aug. 24.

Cuomo also said he would issue protocols for the reopening of gyms on Monday.

The reopening of bowling alleys include limitations to practice social distancing and prevent gatherings of different groups of patrons, as will the reopening of museums and aquariums, he said.

New York continued a level of testing greater than any other state, he said, registering a low 0.85% level of new positive cases out of about 85,000 COVID-19 tests on Thursday. The state has had seven straight days below the 1% level of new cases.

You can now get PPE from a vending machine at Penn Station

From bottles of hand sanitizer to face masks, personal protective equipment are now included in two reconfigured vending machines at Penn Station, the LIRR said.

The Long Island Rail Road said the machines will help riders protect themselves and fellow passengers from COVID-19.

The machines, located on the 7th Avenue side of Penn Station near the LIRR waiting room and the 8th Avenue side by the exit concourse, join other PPE vending machines the MTA began rolling out at subway stations in July.

LIRR officials said more PPE vending machines are coming to other railroad stations in the coming weeks.

Mother honors late daughter with school supply drive

Leslie Friedman said her daughter, Samantha, would always go “above and beyond” as a teacher to buy necessary supplies for her students.

Now, Friedman is doing the same thing in her honor. She died in October 2018 after battling a brain tumor at age 27.

“Her kids were always her priority in the classroom,” she said. “She always felt that her children needed the supplies to get off on the right step.”

For what will be a challenging academic year because of the pandemic, Leslie Friedman donated 16 boxes of school supplies to Oakwood Primary Center in Huntington. This includes 200 folders, 250 marble notebooks and plenty of pencils, backpacks and face masks. She added that some supplies have been donated for teachers specifically.

“If kids are going to be in school and learning virtually, they’ll basically need two sets of supplies,” she said. “And I’m happy to help with that.”

More to know

The AMC Theatres chain will reopen more than 100 of its movie theaters on Aug. 20, adhering to various pandemic guidelines nationwide, though none on Long Island will open yet.

Stein Mart will close all 279 of its stores, including the only location on Long Island, as part of the off-price retailer’s bankruptcy.

Weekly unemployment claims on Long Island have declined to their lowest level since the pandemic began, as they fell to 5,300 last week, a nearly 31% decrease from the more than 7,600 initial claims filed the week before.

News for you

What to do in NYC before summer ends. The regular city hot spots may look a bit different this summer, but there are still private rooftop cabanas, "drive-in" movies and more activities that comply with social distancing guidelines. Check them out.

Starting a clothing line during quarantine. While quarantining in Locust Valley, Katie Sands, the lifestyle influencer behind @honestlykate, launched an activewear line. All the collection's pieces are under $100 and are available at phatbuddhawear.com.

Tour wineries and breweries, but on a bike. Pedal tours have resumed on Long Island, offering a chance to bike past North Fork vineyards, breweries and fruit farms. Find out where you can take a bike tour.

A 'vegan mashup' this weekend. Sweet Soul Bakery and Green Street Food Truck are bringing a Saturday installment of the Vegan Mashup to St. James. You'll find plant-based lobster rolls, fish tacos, grilled mac-and-cheese sandwiches there (and social distancing).

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Commentary

Biking and walking reduce emissions. Gyms in parking lots, restaurants in roads. It truly seems that the car’s stranglehold over Long Island’s culture is loosening, if only for the warmer months, writes Karen C Higgins, of Massapequa Park, in a letter for Newsday Opinion.

Let’s assume we go downtown by bicycle or walking. Then, beyond improving our pandemic lives, using our towns’ outdoor spaces for pedestrians rather than cars can radically reduce our car miles traveled and thus reduce the pollution we spew into the atmosphere. As of 2018, transportation accounted for 28% of greenhouse gases.

Efforts to be safe during the pandemic turn out to be ways to remodel our towns to be more climate friendly. This is a trend that was already on course. Let’s keep it up.

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