I'm going to give into a little bit of what seems to be happening with "stay at home" orders in NY. This is changing on a day-to-day basis, so what I typed up might be outdated in a few hours.
Yesterday (Friday), the NY governor announced a "stay at home" order for all non-essential businesses, which effectively shuts a lot of businesses down.
Some businesses are fortunate enough to have roughly a 30-day operating cost emergency fund in place, and are continuing to pay staff as long as possible, but many businesses don't have that cushion. So, depending on the type of business and how healthy it is, some people are still getting full pay, I've heard of a few cases where people are getting partial pay, and some people are getting no pay. A sick leave bill was working its way through the system, but I'm not quite sure where things stand with that. I've also heard of a few cases of people being in limbo with trying to apply for welfare. Employees who haven't officially been laid off, terminated, or fired don't seem to be able to actually apply for benefits. The term "zero hour schedule" has been thrown around for people still being listed as an employee, but not actually working or getting paid.
There's nothing in place yet for people who still have to pay rent & property taxes, other than a freeze on evictions. Foreclosures are still proceeding normally. There is supposedly a 90-day waiver on mortgage payments going into effect, but details are unclear at the moment--it appears to be some sort of postponement of payments for 90-days.
Some landlords are saying that renters (both business and residential) still have to pay full rent, some are saying they'll work with people on a case-by-case basis, some are offering reduced rent....there's really no plan in place right now, and a lot of people are concerned about financial ruin if they have no income to pay.
In the scenario where people simply stop paying rent under the eviction freeze, there doesn't appear to be plan in place for what happens after the freeze is lifted. There is concern about landlords hitting renters with a giant bill that they have to pay or face immediate eviction.
In turn, landlords who have mortgages and property taxes to pay are expressing concern as well. Most of them probably couldn't survive or keep their properties with no income.
Then there's the concern about income and property taxes that fund state/county spending, and if that is paused, what happens with government spending if there's nothing left to spend.
The NY governor put a pause button on one section of society, but not on other areas, which is putting a lot of people in a tough spot.
The NY governor also mentioned that he expects that this "stay at home" order could last 2-4 months at least. While some people and businesses might be able to weather a couple weeks of no income, going 2-4 months is not going to end well for a lot of people here.
There are a lot of offers for low interest loans, but that really isn't going to help much with people who are already in debt.
So, things are a mess and anxiety is somewhat high in NY state right now. I'm sure other NYers can chime in as to where things stand for them or their communities.
I expect other states will do similar shut down scenarios soon like NY, CA, and IL when they see the number of positive cases rise in their states. Although that's kind of like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.
Positive cases in NY are skyrocketing. A lot of people still aren't taking this seriously. They are using the time off to hang out, gather with family and friends, play contact sports. That is all the wrong thing to do. The point of social distancing/isolation is to put as much space as possible between you and other people so that you don't catch the virus from other people and so you don't spread it to others. Be aware that mail, packages, groceries, etc are not immune from carrying the virus, so handle and wash/disinfect all that stuff appropriately.
Given the developing events, I would suggest everyone be smart about their spending try to save as much money as possible to try to stretch things out as long as possible. We might be shut down for longer than people think. It might be better to start limiting unnecessary spending now to avoid struggling later. I'm not trying to panic anyone, but especially for people who are not on solid financial footing and/or living paycheck to paycheck, they really should do this now as a precaution.
- Review your spending. If you don't keep track of your spending, it's a good time to start doing that. Make a list--rent/mortgage, food, clothes, subscriptions, electric, heat, insurance, taxes, medical costs, etc.
- Try to reduce spending, and cancel as many subscription services as possible. Magazines, premium cable channels, possibly even cable service altogether. Club and gym memberships. If you have multiple video streaming service subscriptions, maybe drop down to only one. If there are multiple levels for streaming services (like with netflix), maybe drop that down to a lesser plan. If your family is leasing more than one vehicle, maybe consider contacting the leasing company for relief, or possibly look into what it would take to end the lease early. Review your credit card statements to check what might be hitting your card if you don't know off the top of your head.
- Keep in mind that if you're stuck at home, your electric, heat , and water bills might be increasing due to your increased usage, and the general increased demands on the electrical grid. So, try to conserve electricity by turning off anything not in use, unplug energy vampires, and lower the thermostat. Avoid using large appliances as much as possible (drier, oven, etc). Try to run large appliances during off-peak times when electric is cheaper. Try to conserve water. You will probably be flushing the toilet a lot more if you're home all day. Try to avoid the urge to run the dishwasher or washing machine more than necessary.
- If you have car insurance renewals coming up, think about making changes to your coverage--you're probably not going to be going much of anywhere if you're staying home and just making runs to the grocery store. If you have more than one car, figure out which vehicle will be for primary use, and maybe drop coverage for the other(s).
Obviously, use your best judgement. These are just some suggestions and ideas I pulled off the top of my head. Some might work for you, some might not.