Coronavirus News: Helping New Yorkers with disabilities during COVID-19 pandemic

NEW YORK (WABC) -- At a time when life has become more challenging for all Americans, living through the coronavirus pandemic can be especially hard for the one million New York City residents with a disability.

Many rely on healthcare aides - Victor Calise, the Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of People with Disabilities says keeping them protected keeps those in need safe.

"They're the essential people," Calise says.

Food is another key concern - the city has asked grocery stores to allow access to people with disabilities during shopping hours designated for senior citizens. The DOE, which is distributing meals at schools is making sure disabled students are also being provided for.

Communication is key - Mayor de Blasio's updates feature a sign language interpreter and are close captioned. The city's website and 311 detail resources that are available. The department has also set up a weekly conference call.

In addition to city services, the commissioner says you can help out by asking New Yorkers to check in on their neighbors with disabilities.

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