TLC Updates During COVID-19

During the COVID-19 health crisis, TLC and the City are taking steps to support TLC drivers, vehicle owners, and businesses.

TLC licensees can take advantage of the Driver Resource Center, which provides financial counseling, legal services and other useful free City resources such as health care insurance, mental health resources, and more.

For the latest guidance from the Department of Health and more COVID-19 resources from the City, visit nyc.gov/coronavirus.

Driver Resources

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Driver Resource Center

New York State Unemployment Benefits

TLC-licensed drivers who may have lost earnings as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency should apply to the NYS Department of Labor for unemployment benefits.

Drivers who are classified as employees by the NYS Department of Labor are eligible for traditional Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Apply online at labor.ny.gov/signin.

TLC-licensed drivers who are self-employed/Independent contractors are now eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits through the enhanced Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits provided by the federal CARES Act. To be considered for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits, you must first apply to the 

What you should do:

You may qualify to receive:

  • 39 weeks of UI or PUA benefits
  • An additional $600/week until 7/31/2020

TLC-licensed drivers can apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) even if they are still receiving some income from a limited number of trips or alternative work such as DeliveryTLC. Drivers should apply only once for either unemployment insurance benefits or pandemic unemployment assistance.

UI and PUA benefits are run by the NYS Department of Labor. For more information, visit the CARES Act website or read the Frequently Asked Questions About UI During the Coronavirus Emergency.

Food Assistance

All New Yorkers can receive free meals through food pantries and meal hubs throughout the City. For more information, visit: NYC COVID-19 Food Assistance.

Financial Assistance

Struggling to Pay Bills?

Get FREE, confidential financial counseling at the Driver Resource Center.

Due to the ongoing health concerns regarding COVID-19 and the need for greater social distancing, all Financial Empowerment Centers are now offering remote financial counseling sessions via phone call. To schedule a remote financial counseling appointment click here. For more information about remote financial counseling appointments refer to the FAQ page or click here.

Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program for Small Businesses and Independent Contractors

The Small Business Administration is now offering low-interest loans (3.75%) to assist small business and independent contractors during COVID-19.  EIDL loan applicants can also apply for an emergency EIDL grant of $1,000 per employee or independent contractor, up to $10,000. The emergency grant is an advance on the loan, but the applicant will not be required to pay back the EIDL Grant even if they are denied for an EIDL loan. Loan term agreements vary on a case by case basis.\

The application deadline is December 21, 2020. To submit your application online, visit the Small Business Administration website. You also have the option of submitting a paper application by mail, download the application here.

For more information, click here to view the EIDL Loan Frequently Asked Questions.

Questions? Call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Public Benefits Application

The City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) can help you with public benefits applications through AccessHRA, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Cash Assistance, and Medicaid renewal. Click here for more information.

Driver Protection Unit

The Driver Protection Unit protects the rights of all taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers. The Unit investigates complaints submitted by TLC licensees that allege that they have been subjected to illegal conduct including:

  • failure to pay drivers what they earned by providing a trip
  • failure to return a driver’s security deposit
  • failure to provide drivers copies of documents required under TLC rules, including leases and receipts
  • overcharge of lease or vehicle purchase amounts
  • acts of identity theft
  • retaliation for filing a complaint with the TLC

The Unit also reviews New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission rules to improve drivers’ rights and regularly provides Drivers’ Rights trainings throughout New York City. To date, the Unit has helped drivers get back more than $3.2 million.

For more information call (718) 391-5539 or e-mail driverprotection@tlc.nyc.gov.

Related Information:

Legal Services

Voter Registration

To Register to Vote or Check your Voter Registration Status with the Board of Elections in the City of New York visit the NYC's Board of Election website.

COVID-19 Guidance & Resources

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Driver Health – What you need to know about COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

Vehicle Cleaning – Guidance for Vehicle Operators

COVID-19: General Guidance for Vehicle Operators

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Safety precautions for vehicle operators to protect themselves and their passengers

  • Monitor your health closely for COVID-19 symptoms, such as cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat or new loss of taste or smell.
    • Get tested for COVID-19: visit nyc.gov/covidtest to find a test site.
    • If you had or may have had COVID-19, stay home until all the following are true:
      • It has been at least 10 days since your symptoms started.
      • You have not had a fever for the prior three days without use of fever-reducing drugs.
      • Your overall illness has improved.
    • Some workers who had or may have COVID-19 must wait longer before returning to work based on New York State requirements.
  • Practice healthy personal hygiene.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you handle money or a passenger’s bags. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your arm when sneezing or coughing.
    • Have tissues and hand sanitizer available in your vehicle for passengers.
    • Encourage touchless payment options. Minimize the handling of cash and credit cards.
    • Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Do not shake hands or offer bottled water, gum or other items to passengers.
  • Clean and disinfect your vehicle routinely.
    • Pay special attention to surfaces and objects that are touched often by passengers, such as door handles, window buttons, locks, payment machines, arm rests, seat cushions, buckles and seatbelts. Wipe down surfaces that you frequently touch, such as the steering wheel, radio buttons, turn indicators and cup holders.
    • Remove visible dirt and grime first. Then use a regular disinfectant product (for example, Clorox, peroxide or alcohol-based multi-purpose products) that is appropriate for the surface to remove most germs. Disinfectants are the most effective on clean surfaces. Read and follow the cleaning and disinfectant product labels.
    • Wear disposable gloves and any other appropriate protective gear when cleaning and disinfecting. Throw gloves in the trash after use and wash hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Keep the vehicle doors open while cleaning and disinfecting.
    • Wait until all surfaces have dried before accepting passengers.
    • For additional information about cleaning and disinfecting, visit nyc.gov/health/coronavirus and look for “General Cleaning/Disinfection Guidance for Non-Health Care Settings” on the “Guidance for Businesses” page.
  • Maintain physical distancing.
    • Keep at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, whenever possible.
    • New York State Executive Orders require drivers to wear a face covering when transporting passengers, and all passengers over the age of two who can medically tolerate it must also wear a face covering. For more information on face coverings, visit nyc.gov/health/coronavirus and look for “FAQ About Face Coverings.”
    • Ask passengers to sit in the back to create physical distance. If the vehicle has a partition, close the partition before picking up passengers. If the vehicle does not have a partition, consider putting up a clear plastic barrier between the front and back of the vehicle (note: barrier should not affect rear view mirror visibility). For vehicles licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), drivers should follow TLC guidance on partition installation.
    • Only transport passengers who are in the same party. Group rides (also known as “shared” or “pooled” rides) are not permitted (except for paratransit vehicles).
    • Use the vehicle’s vents to bring in fresh outside air and/or lower the windows. Avoid using the recirculated air option.

Separate facts from fear and guard against stigma

  • The outbreak is no excuse to spread racism and discrimination. It is illegal to discriminate against passengers or prospective passengers due to race, nation of origin or other identities.
  • If you are being harassed or discriminated against due to your race, nation of origin or other identities, contact the New York City (NYC) Commission on Human Rights by calling 311 and saying “human rights,” or by visiting nyc.gov/cchr and clicking on “Report Discrimination.”

Take care of yourself and your family

  • App Library at nyc.gov/nycwell: online health and emotional well-being tools.
  • NYC Well: free mental health support, available 24/7 for brief counseling and referrals. Call 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355), text "WELL" to 65173 or chat online at nyc.gov/nycwell.
  • NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline: trained professionals who are there to listen, support and refer if needed. Call 844-863-9314, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week.
  • NYC Health and Hospitals: provides care to New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. Call 844-NYC-4NYC (844-692-4692) or 311.

Stay informed

  • Visit the NYC Health Department at nyc.gov/health/coronavirus for COVID-19 information.
  • For real-time updates, text "COVID" to 692-692. Message and data rates may apply.
  • Post information for passengers in your back seat. Visit nyc.gov/health/coronavirus for posters and flyers.

The NYC Health Department may change recommendations as the situation evolves. For updated information, visit NYC Health’s COVID-19: Guidance for Businesses page.

Face Coverings Required

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As of April 17, New York State now requires all TLC drivers and passengers to wear face coverings while riding together. You can use a homemade mask, bandana, or a scarf to cover your mouth and nose. Protect yourself and others.

COVID-19 Diagnostic and Antibody Testing

Free COVID-19 Diagnostic Test

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The COVID-19 diagnostic test is safe, free, and easy. A nasal swab, oral swab or saliva sample may be used.

There are over 100 convenient COVID-19 diagnostic testing sites across the city. Click here to find a testing site near you.

Who can get tested?

Get tested if you:

  • Want to protect your family and protect yourself
  • Have COVID-19 symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell
  • Have been in close contact with someone who tests positive
  • Are a first responder or healthcare worker
  • Work in a nursing home, shelter or adult care facility

How long do results take?

Most results are returned in about 48 hours.

Do I need insurance?

You do NOT need insurance to get a diagnostic test.

Privacy

Your test results are confidential.

COVID-19 Antibody Testing

The COVID-19 antibody test is a blood test to find antibodies — proteins in your blood that fight infections. The test is taken through your finger. A positive test for antibodies is not necessarily an indication of immunity.

Visit the COVID-19 Citywide Information Portal for information on where to get the COVID-19 antibody test.

Who can participate?

You should get an antibody test if you:

  • DON'T have COVID-19 symptoms
  • HAVEN'T been sick in the last two weeks
  • HAVEN'T tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks

The benefits

You'll know if you had COVID-19 and help develop research for vaccines and other ways to fight the virus.

How long do results take?

Results take about 48 hours.

Do I need insurance?

You do need insurance for an antibody test.

Privacy

All your information is confidential.

Health Care and Medical Insurance

NYC Care is a health care access program that guarantees low-cost and no-cost services to New Yorkers who do not qualify for or cannot afford health insurance. All NYC Care services are provided through NYC Health + Hospitals. Visit www.nyccare.nyc or call 1- 646-NYC-CARE (1-646-692- 2273).

MetroPlus is the plan of choice for over half a million New Yorkers. In addition to Medicaid Managed Care, MetroPlus offers dozens of quality health plans, including Child Health Plus; several Medicare Plans; a Medicaid Special Needs Plan (SNP).

On March 13, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that seeking or using healthcare services related to COVID-19 will NOT be considered under the public charge rule, even if the services are Medicaid-funded. Learn more from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA).

Anyone who needs help during the COVID-19 crisis should seek care without fear, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay for health services.

If you need help finding a health care provider, call 311.

Black Car Fund Telemedicine

Black Car drivers in New York are eligible for telemedicine, paid for by The Black Car Fund.

Drivers and their families can speak to a doctor for free in their language by phone, secure online video, or MDLIVE App for a non-emergency consultation – anytime, anywhere.

Telemedicine doctors can diagnose and treat a number of health issues, including allergies, asthma, the flu, cold, arthritis, backaches, joint pain, and much more. Prescriptions can be phoned to a pharmacy most convenient for you. While the call with the doctor is free, you will be responsible for the cost of any medications you need or for any doctor’s visits you may need for situations an MDLIVE doctor can’t solve over the phone.

To start using your benefits, you’ll need to provide some basic information, such as your name and TLC license number.

Visit http://www.driversbenefits.org/benefits/drivers-telemedicine or call 1-833-814-8590 for more information.

Mental Health

An infectious illness outbreak can be stressful to you and your loved ones. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, sad, anxious, and afraid, or to experience other symptoms of distress, such as trouble sleeping. To reduce your stress and to manage the situation more resiliently, try to remain positive, remind yourself of your strengths, connect with friends and loved ones and use healthy coping skills.

If your symptoms of stress become overwhelming, reach out for support and help. You can contact NYC Well, a free, confidential, 24/7 helpline, staffed by trained counselors. They can provide brief counseling and referrals to care in over 200 languages.

  1. Call 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355)
  2. Text “WELL” to 65173
  3. Chat at NYC.gov/nycwell

Work Opportunities during COVID-19

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TLC Driver Food Delivery Program

The City has created the GetFoodNYC Food Delivery Program to provide food for coronavirus (COVID-19)-vulnerable and food-insecure New Yorkers not currently served through existing food delivery programs.

We are asking TLC-licensed drivers to participate in this important work by assisting in delivering food to New Yorkers who must stay home.
Drivers will receive $53 per route. Visit the TLC Driver Food Delivery page to learn more.

SBS Workforce1

Small Business Services (SBS) Workforce1 program helps New Yorkers prepare for and connect to jobs in every sector across the five boroughs. Through their virtual career center system, you can be connected by web or phone to one-on-one assistance from professionals who can help you:

  • Identify jobs that fit your experience and skills
  • Prepare for interviews
  • Access free job training

All services are free and do not require in-person visits. For more information or to sign up visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/sbs/careers/virtual-wf1cc.page

TLC Operations Updates

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TLC Operations

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  • Licensing (Long Island City)
    • The office will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8am to 4pm, by appointment only.
    • Visit NYC TLC Online Appointment System to schedule an appointment.
    • Existing appointments: Individuals with existing appointments will continue to be served. If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please follow the instructions provided in your appointment confirmation email.
    • Online information and transactions: Please contact the TLC online for any of the following information:
      • To check the status of your license, application date, expiration date, upcoming drug tests and other requirements, visit TLC UP 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
      • To update your contact information, please visit LARS 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
      • Still have questions or need help? TLC staff are available to answer your questions remotely. Please email licensinginquiries@tlc.nyc.gov or call the TLC Call Center 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday:
        • License and application questions: (718) 391-5501
        • Summonses and settlements: (718) 391-5584
  • Prosecution (Long Island City)
    • Hearings: OATH remains open but is rescheduling hearings for anyone who requests a new hearing date. Please visit the OATH website for more information.
    • TLC Settlements: Please email all requests for settlements at settlements@tlc.nyc.gov. To reduce the number of people in the waiting room, individuals who appear at TLC’s LIC office seeking a settlement may be asked to return at a different day or time. Prosecution staff are available to handle settlement requests remotely.
  • Vehicle Inspections (Woodside)
    • Vehicle Inspections: TLC’s Woodside Inspection Facility remains open and operational. Owners with existing appointments should appear for their scheduled inspection. Owners with notices of violations should correct the defect and appear for reinspection as directed on the notice.
  • The TLC's Beaver Street facility is open for appointment visits only.
  • The TLC’s Staten Island office will be open on Wednesdays from 9am to 4pm, by appointment only.

TLC Vehicles are Essential Services

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For-hire yellow taxi, green taxi, FHV, paratransit and commuter van service have been designated as essential services and are exempt from restrictions imposed by the Governor’s March 20, 2020 Executive Order. You may continue driving for hire during this period.

TLC will continue to provide regular updates on this State of Emergency as well as resources available to drivers and all TLC licensees.

TLC-Approved Temporary Partitions

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Taxi and Limousine Commission is allowing all vehicles without partitions the opportunity to have temporary partitions installed by approved partition installers.

List of installers for temporary partitions (PDF)

Please be sure to contact the approved installer before showing up for partition prices and availability. We encourage you to keep a copy of your installation paperwork in your vehicle to demonstrate the partition was installed by an approved installer.

For-Hire Vehicle License Storage Option

Effective immediately the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission will allow For-Hire Vehicle Owners to place their TLC Vehicle License “on-hold” for a period of no more than one hundred eighty (180) days.  The license will be placed on hold through a “storage” process that is outlined on the For-Hire Vehicle Page.