Elected officials consider ways to lighten Covid-19’s heavy load

Food distribution market workers are equivalent of ‘first responders,’ says councilman

Elected officials are weighing in on ways to ease hardships for New Yorkers caught in the crosshairs of the coronavirus outbreak.

“With the numbers of confirmed cases rising, tough decisions will have to be made about which New Yorkers should be allowed to conduct their normal day-to-day business,” wrote Councilman Salamanca yesterday, in a letter addressed to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

But despite the rising risk of infection, Salamanca emphasized that Hunts Point’s food distribution market, the nation’s biggest, will remain open. He urged the two frequently feuding elected leaders to “consider the management and workforce” at the produce, fish and meat markets as “‘first responders’ to our food supply chain.”

The markets supply almost three-quarters of the tri-state area’s food.

The borough president, Ruben Diaz Jr., posted a list on his website of borough-wide resources Bronxites can tap into, including a list of two-dozen senior centers offering Grab and Go meals today, Friday and Monday. Locally those include Melrose Senior Centers at 372 East 152nd Street, Patterson Senior center at 308 East 145th Street, Mitchel Senior Center at 188 Lincoln Avenue, SHOPP Leon Senior Center at 735 East 152nd Street, and PSS Andrew Jackson Center (NYCHA) at 325 East 156th St.

In a letter addressed to the mayor, all five of the city’s districts attorney and other officials, the city council urged the release of low-level offenders from detention so police and the courts can continue to function. Defendants the council members recommended for release include low-level drug offenders, fare evaders, and homeless people charged with trespassing to find shelter.

Council members urged the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice to convene a working group of DAs, judges, public defenders and corrections and public health officials to “determine which at-risk individuals” currently detained in city jails should be released immediately to reduce the threat of infection to detainees and prison staff.