Less than a week after officially launching the 2020 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau announced it will suspend field operations until April 20, as cities across the country continue to grapple with the spread of the new coronavirus.
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U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham released a statement on Wednesday saying officials will continue to monitor all operations and adjust Census-taker and survey operations set to begin in late May.
“The Census Bureau is taking this step to help protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone going through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions,” Dillingham wrote.
As of Wednesday, more than 11 million households across the nation had already responded to the Census, officials said.
Beginning in late May, Census-takers around the country are scheduled to begin visiting households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census to help complete the count, but that has been put on hold until April as the federal government continues to monitor the evolving COVID-19 outbreak.
Here in the city, efforts to count every New Yorker remain underway, city administration officials told NY1.
"The Census Bureau's announcement today is a positive step, but frankly far more aggressive measures will likely be needed to ensure that the Census can proceed with integrity and without exacerbating the public health risk from COVID-19 pandemic,” Julie Menin, Director of NYC Census 2020, said in a statement.
Menin said New Yorkers should complete the Census as soon as possible, by filling out the form at My2020Census.gov or by filling out the form that is mailed to their homes.
A proper count of the city’s population plays a pivotal role in determining funding for everything from crucial health care programs, children’s health insurance, federal funding, and congressional representation.
“At this critical time we are in, it is now more important than ever to fill out the Census as funding for various healthcare programs, including children’s health insurance, are linked to the census,” Menin said.
Menin confirmed the city will not be holding any in-person gatherings or street canvassing in the coming days. Instead, the office is moving to town halls, teach-ins and phone and text-banking which will all be held remotely and thorough video conferencing.
In the coming days, Menin’s team is expected to hold “Text Out the Count” events to encourage New Yorkers to fill out the census all without the need to interact with any workers.
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