This weekend the Governor held two more Press Conferences updating the state on the COVID-19 situation. In his Saturday Press Conference, the Governor announced that he has amended his Executive Order 202 to move the Presidential Primary Election from April 28th to June 23rd, the same day as State and Congressional Primary Elections. This move would also apply to the Special Elections that were scheduled to be held that day. He also announced on Saturday that there will be several new sites established to expand the State’s bed capacity; those sites include:
- Three new sites to serve as a place for emergency beds – South Beach Psychiatric Center in Staten Island, Westchester Square in the Bronx, and Health Alliance in Ulster County. These sites will add 695 new beds
- Three new sites exclusively for COVID-19 patients – South Beach Psychiatric Center in Staten Island, Westchester Square in the Bronx, and SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn. These will add 600 new beds exclusively for COVID-19 patients.
- Four new federally approved sites for temporary hospitals – The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, the Aqueduct Racetrack Facility in Queens, CUNY Staten Island, and the New York Expo Center in the Bronx. These new temporary hospitals will add 4,000 new beds to the State’s capacity.
Also, on Saturday, the Governor announced that the Empire State Development Board of Directors approved $7.5 million in COVID-19 Business Counseling support to 70 non-profit partners across New York. This new funding will allow these organizations to provide small businesses with guidance to secure disaster assistance.
On Sunday, the Governor announced that NY State on PAUSE will be extended until April 15th. This means that all non-essential businesses will have to remain closed and have their employees work from home, if possible, until April 15th. Around April 15th, the state will reassess the COVID-19 situation and determine whether to further extend NY on Pause, or to begin allowing workers to return to work. Also, on Sunday, the Governor said that he will speak with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer about having the State’s public and private health systems work together to prevent hospitals from becoming too stressed during the pandemic.
Lastly, on Saturday President Trump made comments suggesting that he was seriously considering issuing a quarantine/lockdown of the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut area. When asked about these comments, Governor Cuomo expressed doubt that implementing such a measure would be beneficial or legal, saying, “geographically restricting a state will paralyze the financial sector. I don’t even think that’s legal.” Later Saturday evening, President Trump walked back his comments, instead saying he asked the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a “strong” travel advisory, which the CDC released last night. The CDC’s travel advisory states:
“Due to extensive community transmission of COVID-19 in the area, CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, include but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply. These employees of critical infrastructure, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security (https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce), have a special responsibility to maintain normal work schedules. The Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will have full discretion to implement this Domestic Travel Advisory”
New York State Budget
On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins provided an update on the Budget Process, tweeting, “The Senate Majority will be in Albany tomorrow for conference and will begin the process of passing budget bills this week as bills are ready. During these unprecedented times, our state government requires continuity, and New Yorkers deserve leadership and action. Throughout the week, our process will establish appropriate protocols involving social distancing, and tomorrow we will pass a resolution authorizing limited remote voting as necessary. Obviously, this is a fluid situation and we will let everyone know if there are any changes.”
Currently, several issues are still being negotiated and no budget bills have been released. We are continuing to monitor the process closely and will continue to provide you with regular updates as new information is announced.
If you have any questions or concerns, we are still available by phone or email to address them.