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March 26, 2020

Hon. Bill de Blasio

Mayor, City of New York
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

I write you today to bring your attention to the thousands of frontline service workers and first
responders who are essential workers and do not have the ability to work from home. As the
COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout New York City, these people put their
lives, and the lives of their families in jeopardy. They need your help now.

The city has an obligation to protect all the men and women who help maintain our city and are
on the frontlines of the battle against coronavirus. We should be offering frontline workers and
first responders hotel rooms in an effort to not only stop the spread, but also allay the anxieties
of our employees over the health of their families. These unsung heroes deserve more from
their municipal government, and as the crisis only grows, we must start implementing policy to
assist them. Considering the hotel industry is taking an economic hit during this pandemic, this
would be a good way to both support our employees and support the industry and its

With nearly 22,000 positive cases, and 281 deaths, New York City now has one-third of the
country’s cases, with the borough of Queens being the epicenter. While hospitals remain the
priority, if we do not get personal protective equipment (PPE) to our first responders then
those hospitals will continue having to treat their fellow city employees who are addressing this
crisis on the street level. We as a city are not doing enough to address the need of our brave
city employees who do their jobs despite a lack of PPE and access to testing.

I have heard from many of the men and women who are deemed essential and work for the
various city agencies. One correction officer is so concerned about having potentially
contracted the virus that the after finishing tour, this officer elects not to go back home. The
fear is that the virus could be spread to loved ones, a fear shared by many of our frontline
Our NYPD officers now have 236 positive cases within their force, and just yesterday 3,100
officers called in sick, which is three times the average for this time of the year. Our FDNY
firefighters as of yesterday have 84 confirmed cases, and our DOC correction officers have 37
cases with 75 inmates testing positive. Let’s not forget the vital service of our DSNY workers
who have 32 cases, with sources telling me it is closer to 63. Then there’s also our ACS workers
who respond to homes, and YDS officers who protect our juveniles in detention centers; MTA
NYCT bus operators and subway conductors; NYCHA workers; DOP workers; DOB inspectors
and even our Parks employees who have to work despite your inaction in closing parks and

Our city employees deserve more in the face of this growing threat, and I urge you to take
every action necessary to help them and their families. Should you have any questions, please
do not hesitate to reach out. Thank you for your time.


Robert F. Holden
Council Member, District 30