Spring Covid Update: Moving Ahead With Reopening

Well, the Winter of Covid is finally in the rearview mirror and things are looking up in New York and much of the country. In early May, the Governor announced that most restrictions in the Tri-State region will be lifted on May 19; see details at bit.ly/May3update. With 50 percent of New Yorkers fully vaccinated, and 60 percent at least partially vaccinated, the test positivity rate has dropped to below 1 percent for the first time in months. And beaches and pools will be open by Memorial Day, with six-foot social distancing rules in effect.

Under the latest reopening guidelines, indoor social gathering limits increase to 250, and the outdoor gathering limit increases to 500. Restaurants will no longer have capacity limits, as long as tables remain six feet apart. Large-scale indoor venues increase to 30 percent capacity while indoor large-scale venues increase to 33 percent. Both require proof of vaccination or negative Covid test for entry.

“The tide is turning against COVID-19 in New York, and thanks to our increasing vaccination rates, as well as our successful, data-based regional approach, we’re able to take more steps to reopen our economy, help businesses and workers, and keep moving towards returning to normal,” Governor Cuomo said.

On May 17, the NYC subways will return to normal 24-hour schedules, while the midnight curfew will be lifted on outdoor dining and beverage service.

On April 29, Mayor de Blasio announced that bars, restaurants and tourist sites will have a “full reopening” on July 1. For the latest reopening regulations from the Mayors office, visit on.nyc.gov/2PLZYQc.

Flowers and trees are blooming in Central Park, and the construction boom is going strong.
Outdoor dining is here to stay in curbside and sidewalk street sheds, with outdoor music making a comeback.
Coney Island amusement park is open again. People are flocking to the Boardwalk, the Aquarium and the restaurants.

Holiday Covid Update: Stay Safe and Strong New York!

With the holiday season upon us, and Covid cases continuing to spike across the country, New Yorkers are urged to stay vigilant and maintain public health guidelines to reduce the chance of transmission or contraction of the disease. Governor Cuomo cautions “We should be on high alert and we should be even more diligent, because the virus spreads across state boundaries, and we’re in the party season. All I can do is warn New Yorkers and ask them to remember what worked for us: discipline and smarts.”

While NY currently has the third lowest positivity rate in the nation, and is being vigilant in requiring testing or self-quarantine after traveling out of state (http://bit.ly/newtravelrestrictions), we need to maintain our social distancing, wear masks, and gather outdoors in small groups, in order to keep the numbers low. As the cold weather comes on, many restaurants are adding tents or other outdoor enclosures, along with propane heaters, to extend the season so New Yorkers can continue to interact without fear of contagion.

When it comes to holiday celebrations, New Yorkers are warned to keep indoor gatherings small, stick to your “quarantine group,” and get a Covid test before and after spending time indoors with a larger group, to protect yourself and those around you.

For info from NYC, visit: https://on.nyc.gov/2I4AiKB

For info from the Governors office, visit: http://bit.ly/113covid

Even in the year of Covid, New York City has a festive feel as the holidays approach. Get outside and enjoy it—but wear a mask, keep your distance from others, and stay safe! Happy Holidays!
The angels are up and the lights are on the tree at Rockefeller Center
Saks has decorated its windows and the light show is on!

NY’s Vigilance Has Paid Off: Lowest Covid Hospitalizations in Five Months

New Yorkers—both in the City and beyond—have confronted the current pandemic in typical fashion: head-on, pragmatically and with determination. Never ones to be phased by a knock-down, New Yorkers are tough and resilient, and our willingness to follow public health guidelines and take the recommended precautions has paid off. We are now one of the few states in the country that is still seeing the number of cases drop on a regular basis. While we are clearly still in the midst of this health crisis, our actions are keeping it at bay as we protect ourselves and each other by wearing masks, keeping a safe distance from others, and interacting primarily outdoors where transmission is far less likely.

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State’s COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped to 518—the lowest number since March 18. Yesterday’s infection rate of .74 percent marked the 13th straight day with an infection rate below 1 percent. The number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs dropped to 120, matching the state’s previous low since March 16.

“Our state’s continuing fight against COVID-19 has taken tremendous hard work and discipline from all New Yorkers, and we’re seeing results—a new low for hospitalizations, 13 straight days of an infection rate below 1 percent and a match of a previous low for patients in ICUs,” Governor Cuomo said. “I want to commend New Yorkers for practicing the basic daily behaviors—social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks—that make an enormous difference in our capacity to slow the spread, save lives and bring the state’s infection rate from one of the nation’s highest to one of its lowest. But now isn’t the time to get complacent, and local governments must continue to enforce state guidance and New Yorkers must stay vigilant in the face of a continuing crisis throughout this country and around the world.”

In New York City, there were only 130 new cases reported on August 20th, down from a high of over 5300 per day in early April. Keep apprised of the latest news from NYC at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-main.pageand from NYS, including travel advisories, at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home

And in the meantime, enjoy New York, but do it safely!


Just as Saint George slayed the dragon, as depicted in this dramatic sculpture at the United Nations, New Yorkers will overcome Covid-19 and rise above the global pandemic. Keep it up NYC!

Please Follow Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order to Stay Safe & Healthy

We at Douglas Elliman will continue to do everything we can to assist our clients in combating the spread of COVID-19. This includes providing you and building staff with the most up-to-date information as it becomes available. Visit this link on our website for the latest updates: https://www.ellimanpm.com/w/coronavirus

We hope that life in our great City will return to normal before too long, but in the meantime, we urge you to follow the Governor’s public health directives, outlined below, to protect your own health and that of your neighbors, staff, friends, family and our greater community. Wishing you good health and safety in this very difficult and challenging time.

NYS on Pause

Residents Should Prepare for Potential Coronavirus Disruptions in Building Services

Douglas Elliman continues to monitor the information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMC). As you can tell from what is reported through the media and the various government agencies, the situation is fluid and evolving daily. As the virus spreads, the chances that residents and building employees will become ill increase. Obviously, we must hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

The continued spread of the Coronavirus could affect your building staff in a variety of ways. Staff members may become sick themselves, may be unable to come to work due transportation issues, school closures may require some staff members to stay home to take care of children, and some staff members may be unavailable to work in order to take care of an affected family member. No matter what the reason is, we must prepare to operate with a diminished staff. We have instructed the building staff not to come to work if they have any flu-like symptoms, whether or not confirmed to be infected with the Coronavirus. Service providers may face the same challenges.

A slightly reduced staff may cause mild service reductions: fewer trash pickups, no deliveries to apartments, etc. A more severe reduction may suspend the ability of the staff to perform work in apartments. The most severe reductions may require resident volunteers to step in to perform essential tasks such as trash removal and security. Should this occur, the resident manager will post resident volunteer sign-up sheets. Apartment alterations may need to be suspended.

As in any crisis situation, communication is key. If your building has BuildingLink or a similar service, please be sure that your contact information is up to date. Otherwise, please be sure that the resident manager has your phone numbers and email addresses.

Many residents of the building would no doubt desire to be informed if anyone who resides or works in the building has been exposed to the virus. In order to lower—to the extent we can—the building’s risk, the staff will continue to perform extra cleaning in highly trafficked areas to reduce the chance of transmission.

Nevertheless, as an added precaution, we request that any tenant who believes that they have been exposed to the virus follow public health protocols, and inform either your DEPM Account Executive or your resident manager. Should a resident so inform either Douglas Elliman or the Resident Manager, we will notify residents and staff, mentioning only that a person may be affected. We will not release the name, or the apartment number.

If any occupant or member of your household tests positive for the Coronavirus, you and the members of your family must be quarantined for 14 days in the apartment pursuant to the Department of Health and CDC guidelines.

We have instructed the building staff to encourage all contractors, vendors and delivery persons who enter through the service entrance to wash their hands and any guests or delivery persons entering through the lobby to cleanse their hands at the dispensers before proceeding further into the building. In addition, we have asked the building staff to refrain from greeting anyone by physical contact ( i.e. Handshakes, high fives etc.) and remain at least 6 feet away from others when possible.

The Building staff members have already been instructed to follow NYC Department of Health guidelines as they relate to cleaning and cleaning products. Further, for the protection of staff members, they are encouraged to ask the following questions before entering a home to perform work:

Has anyone in the home had a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath?

In the 14 days before the visit, has anyone in the home traveled outside the United States or recently had contact with a person suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19?

If the answer is “yes” to either question and the visit can be postponed, the staff will politely ask to reschedule the visit in 14 days or when the resident or household member is feeling better.

If the visit cannot be postponed, the staff will politely ask that the individual remain in a separate room with the door closed, where possible.

Thank you for your cooperation in these difficult times. Please contact your resident manager or DEPM Account Executive for additional information or questions. Looking forward to a return to normal in the future and sending our best wishes that all our residents stay safe and healthy throughout this unsettling situation.


Looking forward to better times in the future when our beloved City can return to its normal self and we can all once again take advantage of the good things in life. Stay safe and healthy!




NYC’s Proposed New Facade Inspection Rules May Increase Costs for Co-op and Condo Owners

While not yet finalized, New York City’s Department of Buildings plans to release a stricter set of requirements for its Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP, also known as Local Law 11), for the 9th Cycle of the law, which begins in February 2020.

These safety regulations address the condition of the facade, balconies, architectural details, etc. of every building over six stories tall. Should the proposed changes take effect, building owners can expect the scope of work and the cost of Local Law 11 inspections to increase significantly. Proposed changes include:

• More comprehensive facade examinations and more detailed reports
• Rather than the single scaffold drop currently required, the new regulations will require scaffold drops every 60 feet on each exterior wall fronting the street or any other area where the public may walk

• Probes will be required on cavity walls to ensure the safety of areas behind the facade
• Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors (QEWI’s) must now have three years of relevant experience with buildings over six stories, rather than one, as in the past, as well as relevant experience and knowledge of NYC building codes and facade rules

• Building owners will be required to post the building’s facade condition certificate in the lobby in a manner similar to elevator certificates

Once the property has been inspected, the QEWI must submit a report rating the facade as Safe, Safe with a Repair and Maintenance Program, or Unsafe. If Unsafe conditions exist, the property must immediately install a sidewalk shed to protect the public walking past, and correct the problem within 90 days.


The next cycle of NYC’s Local Law 11, or Facade Safety Inspection Program, begins in February, with stricter, more costly, requirements for inspecting building facades.

NYC Climate Advisory Board Appointed in December

New York City’s Climate Mobilization Act, which includes Local Law 97, was passed in April 2019, as part of the City’s goal of making New York City carbon neutral by 2050. In December, the newly created 15-member Climate Advisory Board met for the first time, tasked with providing advice and recommendations toward the implementation of the new legislation.

“Progressive cities like ours must lead the way on climate change, and that’s exactly what this Council did with Local Law 97. The Council is proud of its appointees to the Climate Advisory Board and looks forward to working with them and with the administration’s appointees to continue the fight against climate change,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“We are proud to take a leading role in executing the Green New Deal,” said Department of Buildings Commissioner Melanie La Rocca. “We look forward to working with a broad range of stakeholders to help establish best practices to tackle the largest source of our city’s emissions, our buildings. We owe it to future generations to meet the challenge of global warming head-on.” Buildings currently account for approximately two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions in NYC.

The Local Law 97 Advisory Board is made up of architects, engineers, property owners, representatives from the business sector and public utilities, environmental justice advocates, and tenant advocates. In addition to providing guidance, the Advisory Board is also required to prepare and submit periodic reports on the results of implementation once the law is fully in effect.

The City’s goals are ambitious and laudable, but they will take time, effort and expense to implement. We are working closely with all our client boards to start early and budget wisely to meet the target dates set for by the City and to avoid any fines by meeting requirements in a timely manner.


NYC’s Climate Mobilization Act meets the challenge of global warming head-on. Currently, buildings account for about two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions in the City.

Low-Cost Options for LED Lighting

One of the options for reducing your property’s energy budget—and helping to improve the Energy Grade that the City gives it—is to replace existing lighting with LED bulbs. And there are currently numerous incentives being offered by ConEd and other entities to help offset the cost of converting to LEDs.

Increasing your building’s energy efficiency will not only help avoid future fines, as New York City implements the increasingly stringent rules of its Climate Mobilization Act, but will also add value to every apartment, as buyers look to own in those properties that can demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint.

As one of the easiest and least costly ways of addressing energy efficiency, converting to LED lighting should be part of your building’s sustainability initiatives.

Screen Shot 2019-11-21 at 1.02.09 PM

Recycling: How to Improve Resident Compliance

Recycling is mandatory in New York City, with the goal of decreasing the 12,000 TONS of garbage that must be exported out of the City every single day. While 77% of this waste is recyclable, only 20% is actually being recycled currently. Since the closing of the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island in 2001, there has been no landfill in the City of New York. There is also no incinerator, so all our garbage must be exported for separation, treatment and disposal, at a huge expense to taxpayers.

Residents in multi-family buildings recycle at just half the rate of those in single-family homes, for a variety of reasons, ranging from anonymity of disposal to lack of information, poor communication and lack of financial incentives.

Some buildings have had great success in their recycling efforts, using a variety of strategies, including the following:

• Communication: Be sure to provide clear signage and well-marked receptacles in all garbage rooms. The Department of Sanitation will provide free signs to display. Inform existing residents as well as new buyers who are moving in. Hold an informational/social event to inform residents, such as a lobby drop-in to hand out organics pails and recycling bags.

• Education: Take advantage of all 3 additional Department of Sanitation curbside collection services for buildings of 10 units or more: organics, clothing and the e-cycle program for electronics. Inform residents of all these programs and provide bins in the basement for these specialized items.

• Containers: The City gives out free organics pails that can be distributed to residents.

• Enforcement: Gentle enforcement is key to compliance. Some buildings impose fines after a third offense. The board should decide what is the best strategy for your building.

• Rewards: Thank people for good recycling efforts. Some buildings have even held a pizza party for staff and residents as a thank you for good recycling compliance.

• Create a Team: Create a team of owners, residents, managers, and building staff to work together to make the system work. The board may want to appoint a committee to research and implement a plan to improve recycling in your building.

• Convey the Benefits: Saving money on chute cleaning, reducing policing efforts by staff, avoiding fines, preventing rats, improving staff morale if recycling rules are followed—these are some of the benefits of recycling. Collecting organics can help cut down on rats because all the food is placed in completely airtight containers, and not in garbage bags that can rip and leak and that rats and other pests can bite through. And the long-term goal is to reduce the City’s waste removal costs…which will save taxpayers money.

• Education: Free training for staff is available through Union 32BJ and also at the Department of Sanitation.

• More Information: Visit ManhattanSWAB.org to download recycling guides and info and to learn more about how to educate your staff and residents to help improve recycling in your building.

fresh kills

The former Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island was closed in 2001 and has since been reclaimed as a beautiful public park. Reducing NYC’s waste stream through recycling can help reduce the 12,000 tons of garbage we export daily…by as much as 60%, if New Yorkers are committed to the program.

Energy-Reduction Strategies

With deadlines looming for New York’s stringent new energy use regulations, building owners, boards and unit owners are looking at ways to make their properties more energy efficient. Unit owners can initiate some important energy saving measures that will have significant impact on the entire building’s consumption. Such as:

  • If you have through-the-wall or window-installed air conditioners, make sure they are the most energy-efficient models available. Be sure to seal them during the off-season.
  • Upgrade to high efficiency windows
  • Install thermal window shades, plastic insulation, weather stripping and/or draft stoppers to keep the heat in during cold weather and the AC in during hot weather.
  • Install low-flow toilets and showerheads to reduce water consumption
  • Replace incandescent or coil style light bulbs with LED bulbs
  • Change air filters semi-annually
  • If you have an in-unit water heater, turn the thermostat down when you are out of town, or year-round as long as the temperature remains comfortable
  • Shut down computers and other devices when not in use, and unplug chargers from the wall
  • Turn off lights and air conditioners when not in use
  • If you have an in-unit washer and dryer, use cold water only, and be sure your unit is an energy-efficient model
  • When it comes time to replace your dishwasher and/or refrigerator, buy the most energy-efficient model
  • Put rugs or carpeting on at least some of the floors
  • Use “smart” power strips that shut down when not in use or flip off regular power strips when not in use
  • Consider a “smart home” system, such as Alexa or Apple Home, which allows you to control appliances from your smart phone
  • Seal the door to the elevator or common hallway to keep heat or air conditioning from escaping
  • If you have ceiling fans, change the direction depending on the season: push warm air down in winter and up in summer
  • Vacuum and dust refrigerator coils; this can increase efficiency significantly
  • Be sure AC units and heaters are not blocked by furniture or other barriers
  • Inform your Super or Manager of any leaky faucets or running toilets to reduce water consumption.

Modern kitchen interior with smart appliances in black color coordination

Energy efficient appliances and fixtures can drastically reduce your property’s energy consumption.