On March 20, 2020, in the midst of COVID-19 and to keep New York safe and healthy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.8, also known as “New York State on PAUSE,” thereby shutting down all non-essential businesses. All statutory time limits for all legal filings in all procedural laws of the state were tolled.

Understandably, unemployment rates and unemployment insurance claims soared to unprecedented levels. A March 26, 2020 Press Release by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL), reported that for the week ending March 21, 2020: (1) NYSDOL received 1,734,100 calls and 2,270,300 web hits, (2) initial Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims increased 520% in New York state compared to the same week in 2019, and (3) 80,500 UI claims were filed just that week. An April 2, 2020 Press Release by NYSDOL, reported that for the week ending March 28, 2020: (1) there were 369,025 UI claims filed, an increase of 288,516 from the week before, and (2) the unemployment rate increased 2,674% from the same time period in 2019. An April 16, 2020 Press Release by NYSDOL, with the express disclaimer that many coronavirus related job losses from March 2020 were not reflected in the figures, reported that: (1) private sector jobs decreased in March 2020 by 42,900, the steepest monthly drop since April 2009, and (2) the unemployment rate rose from 3.7% to 4.5%—a .8% increase—the largest monthly increase since 1976.

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