While the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to have huge impacts on our health, it is also affecting our livelihood. We know it’s hard for everyone both emotionally and financially. Every sector is affected but we want to make sure all drivers are in the know and get a guide to resources should they need assistance.
Wear a Mask
There is new guidance from New York City and the CDC to wear masks whenever you are not in your home. Since Uber, Lyft, Via and the Taxi and Limousine Commission have not provided these, you can wear a scarf or make your own mask.
Homemade masks are not as effective as surgical masks so if you are driving customers in your vehicle, consider wearing two masks. Studies have shown that fabric folded four times instead of just two times is more effective at protecting you and wearing two masks is one way to do that.
The CDC has posted a few ways to make your own mask here:
The CDC also posted a video tutorial here:
HOW TO APPLY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION
IDG pushed for emergency relief for ride-hail drivers and gig workers and the federal #CARESAct passed and was signed into law March 27, 2020. This law provides expanded unemployment compensation, including for 1099 workers and workers who are partially unemployed. We urge you to apply for compensation for lost earnings due to the pandemic. Learn how to apply in New York State here:
HOW TO APPLY FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM APP COMPANIES
IDG pushed for the app companies to provide financial assistance to drivers who are told by a licensed medical professional to stay home and self-isolate due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The app companies have different policies about eligibility and required documentation. Learn how to apply here:
If you are told by a licensed medical professional to stay home and self-isolate, Uber, Lyft and Via have said they will pay you for up to 14 days.
HOW TO CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, shortness of breath, coughing, and a sore throat. If you have these symptoms, call 311 to see a doctor in New York City. If it is an emergency, call 911 immediately. You will receive treatment regardless of your ability to pay or immigration status.
New York State app-based and black car drivers have access to a free telemedicine benefit through the Black Car Fund. You and your immediate family can consult with a doctor via phone or video chat for free. Activate your Benefits by calling Drivers Benefits at 833-814-8590 from 8am to 8pm, or activate them online here: https://driversbenefits.org/activate-now/. Drivers Benefits can help you sign up for free or low-cost healthcare as well.
Free Meals for ALL New Yorkers:
ALL New Yorkers can pick up three free meals Monday-Friday from more than 400 locations.
Text ‘NYC FOOD’ or ‘NYC COMIDA’ to 877-877 to find a location or visit http://schools.nyc.gov/
- Meals can be picked up at all Meal Hubs 7:30 am to 1:30 pm, Monday through Friday
- Meals Hubs will operate for children and families from 7:30 am to 11:30 am, and for adults from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
- No one will be turned away at any time
- All adults and children can pick up three meals at one time
- Vegetarian and halal options available at all sites
- No dining space is available, so meals must be eaten off premises
- Parents and guardians may pick up meals for their children
- No registration or ID required
DRIVERS WELLBEING IS OUR TOP PRIORITY
The IDG has been reaching out to federal, city, state, local government, app companies and other organizations to gather leads and advocate for a quick relief for drivers.
- We spoke to Uber and they finally agreed to freeze drivers pro status. In this dire moment of uncertainty and hardship, the last thing drivers have to worry about shouldn’t be how to keep their priority access to the app. Uber also lifted the lockout. And Lyft followed suit.
- We are in contact with the TLC. They assured us they are working to find the best way they can provide relief to everyone impacted. They are thinking about everyone in or connected to the industry. It is not going to be easy or fast but it’s good to know they are working to help drivers.
- We’ve reached out to the major insurance companies including Hereford and American Transit to urge a 60 days minimum relief on insurance payment. Stay Tuned.
- Our wellness team and counselors are working around the clock to provide much needed assistance to drivers in distress.
- In collaboration with IDG Benefits, we have been informing drivers how to keep safe and advise every driver to call Telemed when they or their family members are not feeling well in order to get access to a healthcare provider by phone or video. This service is free to all drivers, sign up here.
- Our team is online 24/7 to assist drivers, answer your questions and give you the info you need: contact us
- We have been in touch with the City Council Speaker’s Office to expand unemployment insurance to cover gig workers. It is still at the early stages, we will bring more info as matter develop: New York City Council
- We’ve contacted the Attorney General’s Office for assistance to address leasing and lending companies to hold off requiring payments while this crisis is still ongoing.
- We’ve partnered with Encore Community Services and CityMeals to deliver meals to our city’s most vulnerable.
Please be safe and stay tuned. We are tirelessly working to make sure drivers are taken care of. Should you need any info not listed above, please feel free to contact us here
- If you do drive, be safe. 1- Keep windows open. 2- Wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer. Do not touch your face. 3- Try to avoid touching passengers or the things they touch like luggage. They will probably understand if you ask them to load bags in the car. 4- Get a commercial spray cleaner and clean inside and outside door handles and other hard surfaces. More details about how to keep safe driving can be found at Drivers Benefits or Driving Guild.
- If you are a small business owner in NYC affected by Covid-19, visit NYC Assistance & Guidance for info on grants.
- Food assistance, access to local pantries near you. Visit their site.
- Rental Assistance, visit their site.
- NY has expanded eviction suspension beginning Tuesday 3/17/2020.
- Federal tax return filing deadline is now July 15th 2020
- More info on NY State On Pause
- Stay up to date at Driving Guild, Facebook and Twitter.