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$50 fine for commuters who won't wear a mask

NY to issue fines to people not wearing masks on trains, buses

The emergency rule is designed to increase the state's mandatory mask compliance on the region's public transportation while providing a level of assurance to commuters that the transit system is safe. It takes effect on Monday.

"We have to be able to say to the riding public, 'yes everyone will be wearing masks,'" Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters. "If they don't have a mask, the MTA will give them a mask to wear. If they refuse to wear a mask they will be evicted from the system. If they are not wearing a mask, we will enforce the mask-wearing rule."

Patrick Foye, chairman of the MTA, said compliance with the state's mask order is already high, including more than 90% on the LIRR and 96% on city buses.

"But we want to drive it even higher," Foye said, adding that the MTA has distributed 4 million masks across its system. "Achieving universal mask compliance is our goal."

The number of new positives reported today: 73 in Nassau, 52 in Suffolk, 336 in New York City and 757 statewide.

The chart below shows the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New York City and in the state. Search a map and view more charts showing the latest local trends in testing, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Mortgage protections expire soon. Distressed homeowners need to be ready.

Nearly one in 10 Long Island homeowners have fallen behind on their mortgages, and housing advocates and attorneys are urging them to seek help before it gets worse.

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More than 60,000 Long Island homeowners had missed at least one mortgage payment by July — a nearly threefold increase from a year earlier, according to figures provided to Newsday by Black Knight Inc., a mortgage industry technology and data provider. That means almost 9.5% of local borrowers were delinquent, up from 4% a year before, the company said.

As the pandemic continues, lenders’ forbearance programs are allowing many homeowners to skip at least three mortgage payments. Federally backed mortgages typically offer more flexible terms such as allowing borrowers to delay payments until the end of the loan term, but many privately held mortgages require a lump-sum payment as soon as the forbearance ends.

For those who have fallen behind, “what will hurt is if they do nothing and keep their head in the sand,” said Gale D. Berg, director of pro bono attorney activities at the Nassau County Bar Association. Once the forbearance periods end, she said, "the floodgates are going to open and there's going to be a mess."

High school football, volleyball seasons moved to spring

The New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association announced Wednesday that the fall sports deemed high risk — football and boys and girls volleyball — will be postponed statewide until March 1, 2021.

The fall high school sports season for low to moderate risk sports (girls tennis, girls swimming/diving, boys and girls cross country and boys and girls soccer) is set to begin on Sept. 21. The winter sports, which include competitive cheer for Long Island, were to start on Nov. 16, but that date was pushed to Nov. 30 to give the fall season more time.

The traditional spring sports will move from March 15, 2021, to an adjusted start date of April 19.

“We’ve been saying since Day One that we’re listening to everything that is coming from the executive director’s office at NYSPHSAA so we can make the most informed decision possible,” said Tom Combs, the executive director of Section XI.

Suffolk high school athletic directors were planning to meet on Thursday to discuss having spectators at events and how to proceed after this announcement.

William Floyd student arrested after remote-learning protest

The showdown between a William Floyd High School senior and administration officials reached a breaking point Thursday when he went to school despite being on suspension for violating the district's hybrid learning plan — and he was arrested and charged with criminal trespass.

School officials threatened to close in-person learning for the "foreseeable future" if Maverick Stow continued to attempt to attend school in person each day.

On Tuesday, Stow, 17, went to school despite it being his scheduled day for remote learning and was issued a five-day suspension. On Wednesday, Stow returned to school, and was told by school officials he faced criminal trespass charges if he did so again. On Thursday, he went to the high school again and was arrested by Suffolk County officers.

Asked earlier why he was headed to school despite the suspension and threats of arrest, Stow said: "Well, I’ve just been trying to go to school — and they’ve been consistently disallowing me to. … Well, today’s going to be the criminal trespassing. I’m going to go into school and they’re going to call the police and I’m going to be arrested this morning."

More to know

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday that sought to overturn Cuomo’s executive order halting evictions during the pandemic.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits was unchanged last week at 884,000, a sign that layoffs are stuck at a historically high level.

Century 21 Stores has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is shutting all 13 stores across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida.

When a New York American Water emergency request was granted to again postpone a series of rate hikes and charges, one element was missing: how much ratepayers will have to pay when the delayed increases are due.

The new online system for obtaining absentee ballots got 221,000 requests in its first week — about half of all absentee ballots sought during the entire 2016 presidential campaign, according to the state Board of Elections.

News for you

Spending time safely with grandparents. The pandemic made it challenging for some grandparents to see their grandkids. Wondering what you can do together? We've got a list of five activities — including in-person options for those ready to venture out, and virtual ones.

Movies to stream and see in theaters (maybe). Local cinemas remain dark, but when they do reopen, there will be plenty to see. In the meantime, settle for streaming. Here are 20 movies to keep on your radar.

Pressing questions for educators. At a Newsday virtual forum on Wednesday, educators and administrators said schools may need to reevaluate the ways they teach, test and run extracurricular activities in the pandemic. Read about and watch a replay of the webinar here.

Jake's 58 is back. The casino in Islandia is open for business after it shut down in March. Newsday's Steve Langford takes a look at the new safety precautions put in place. Watch here.

Plus: Now that school's back in session, we want to hear from you. How's it going? What is your school doing right? Have there been any issues? Tell us about your school experience here.

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Commentary

Colleges aren't doing enough to control COVID-19. America's experiment in reopening universities in an ongoing pandemic is already teetering, writes Max Nisen for Bloomberg Opinion.

The novel coronavirus is spreading at some schools so much, it's driving up infection rates for whole counties. Too few schools have containment plans that reflect the basic threats: an already high COVID-19 case rate in the U.S., and the tendency of young adults to socialize and underestimate the consequences of carelessness.

The recipe for protecting a community from COVID-19 is no secret. Social distancing and masking are vital, and it's essential to test broadly, isolate the infected and trace their contacts. These steps don't work so well if they're done halfheartedly, however, or if an outbreak is already out of control. Many schools that have acted too slowly need to pause in-person classes and other activities and rethink their strategies.

Most colleges are broadly limiting gatherings to a certain number of people and attempting to test students and trace the contacts of those who test positive. Many schools also encourage students to use apps that will notify them if they've been near an infected person, and/or require students to certify their health status daily by filling out symptom questionnaires.

Such measures rely on broad cooperation from students, and regular testing. After all, app notifications and tracing can work only if you can find out who's infected — including people who never develop symptoms.

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