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It is crucial to stay on top of the important events that are occuring this season. Voter registration and Census completion were our top priorities at the beginning of the month and, after much success, have shifted our focus to encouraging eligible community members to exercise their right to vote as we also continue protecting our community throughout the pandemic.

Although our office remains closed as we continue to go through this pandemic, we are still available by phone Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM – 6 PM at 212-256-9036, to answer any questions or concerns you may have. We can also be reached through our Virtual Community Center.

Week of Action

After a successful Week of Action in August, AMPHS is holding its second Week of Action beginning Wednesday, November 4th until November 7th to help spread COVID-19 awareness. We will be canvassing our businesses with resources that they need to stay protected. These resources include PPE and posters to ensure both business staff and community members remain safe during this pandemic. We are still seeking volunteers to join us and hit the streets with us, if you are interested you can register via our form here.

COVID Hotspot Zones

During the beginning of the month, as a response to an uptick in COVID-19 cases in several neighborhoods of Brooklyn (including Sunset Park), Queens, and Orange County, Governor Cuomo placed restrictions in these neighborhoods by creating color-coded zones. 

The three types of zones includes: 

  • Red Zones, which were experiencing, and continue to experience, school closings for both public and non-public schools and participate in full remote learning. Restaurants can only offer take out food. Only essential businesses are allowed to remain open. Mass gatherings are prohibited. Any individual who encourages, promotes or organizes mass gatherings can be fined up to $15,000 per day. Houses of worship (churches, synagogues, etc.) can remain open at 25% of their capacity, up to a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.
  • Orange Zones, experiencing school closings for both public and non-public schools and should participate in full remote learning. Outdoor dining is allowed, with a maximum of 4 people per table, and indoor dining is not allowed. High risk non-essential businesses (such as gyms, personal care businesses, etc.) will be closed. Houses of worship (churches, synagogues, etc.) can remain open at 33% of their capacity, up to a maximum of 25 people, whichever is less.
  • Yellow Zones, in which all public and non-public schools may remain open. Eating is allowed indoors and outdoors, with a maximum of 4 people per table. Essential and non-essential businesses remain open. Non-essential meetings should be limited to a maximum of 25 people for both indoor and outdoor settings. Any individual who encourages, promotes or organizes mass gatherings can be fined up to $ 15,000 per day. Houses of worship can remain open at 50% of their maximum capacity.

Sunset Park had originally been designated as an orange zone, however, as of October 22nd, it has been designated as a yellow zone and overall, in Brooklyn, all zones that were previously orange were moved to yellow. All previously red and yellow zones remain red and yellow, respectively.

As of October 30th, Governor Cuomo has released guidelines on testing protocols for schools located in red and orange zones.The guidelines require mass testing in schools before they reopen followed by vigilant symptom and exposure screening conducted daily. Impacted schools can reopen as early as Monday, November 2nd,  however students and faculty must be able to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before going back to the classroom. New York State will provide rapid test kits for schools wishing to participate. For additional details about the guidelines click here

To find out if your neighborhood has been designated a zone or to find updates for your zone, you can click here. Senator Andrew Gournardes has also compiled a hot zone reference guide here.

Voting

Election Day is only a few days away on Tuesday, November 3rd and voting will take place as usual in-person at your designated poll site from 6:00 AM–9:00 PM.

However, there are now many ways you can vote even BEFORE Tuesday, November 3. In-person Early Voting began on Saturday, October 24 and will continue through Sunday, November 1st. There are a limited amount of Early Voting poll sites and yours could be different from your normal poll site. Due to high turnouts in several sites, hours for these Early Voting sites have been extended. You can confirm your Early Voting poll site and the hours of operation by clicking here.

Also, if you cannot read or write in English you can bring a friend or family member to your polling site to assist you with interpretations. The polling site may also have interpreters available to assist in the case that you do not have anybody available to accompany you.

If you opted to vote by absentee ballot in this election and submitted your request for an absentee ballot by October 27th and have not received it yet, you can track it here.

Once you receive and complete your absentee ballot, there are 3 ways you can submit it. First, you can simply mail it in. Second, you can physically drop it off at your local Board of Elections office. And third, you can drop it off at your Early Voting site starting October 24th.

Make your voice heard by exercising your right to vote! If you cannot vote but have friends, family, and loved ones who are citizens and can vote, encourage them to vote–it is crucial in shaping the direction of our future.