This week in Albany – May 3

Shenker Russo and Clark LLP Legislative Update

COVID-19 Update

On Sunday, the Governor announced the basic outline the state will follow when re-opening. The state will re-open on a regional basis as determined by the Governor. On Tuesday, the Governor elaborated on the various guidelines of the re-opening plan. The guidelines provided in the Governor’s Press Release are:

  1. CDC Guidelines: Based on CDC recommendations, once a region experiences a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate, they may begin a phased re-opening.
  2. Industries: Businesses in each region will re-open in phases. Phase One will include opening construction and manufacturing functions with low risk. Phase Two will open certain industries based on priority and risk level. Businesses considered “more essential” with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered “less essential” or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. Regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.
  3. Business Precautions: Each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower the risk of infection in the business.
  4. Building Health Care Capacity: To maintain the phased re-opening plan, each region must have at least 30 percent of hospital beds and ICU beds available after elective surgeries resume.
  5. Testing Regimen: Regions must implement a testing regimen that prioritizes symptomatic persons and individuals who came into contact with a known COVID-positive person, and conduct frequent tests of frontline and essential workers. Regions must maintain an appropriate number of testing sites to accommodate their population and must fully advertise where and how people can get tested. The region must also use the collected data to track and trace the spread of the virus.
  6. Tracing System: There must be at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people. The region must also monitor the regional infection rate throughout the re-opening plan.
  7. Isolation Facilities: Regions must present plans to have rooms available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and who cannot self-isolate.
  8. Regional Coordination: Regions must coordinate the re-opening of schools, transportation systems, testing and tracing with other surrounding regions.
  9. Re-imagining Tele-Medicine
  10. Re-imaging Tele-Education
  11. Regional Control Rooms: Each region must appoint an oversight institution as its control room to monitor regional indicators during the phased re-opening, including hospital capacity, rate of infection, PPE burn rate and businesses.
  12. Protect and Respect Essential Workers: Regions must continue to ensure protections are in place for essential workers.

Despite the re-opening plan requiring that each region coordinate the re-opening of schools with surrounding regions, the Governor announced this morning that all schools and colleges will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year and is requiring continued remote-learning for all students during this time period. The Governor also announced this week that the State will provide $25 million for Food Banks and food providers that have been impacted the most by the pandemic and the implementation of the Nourish New York Initiative, which will purchase food and products from Upstate farms and direct them to Food Banks around the state and process excess milk into products such as yogurt, cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese and distribute these products to Food Banks.

Bill Reports

The Legislature introduced 92 bills this week and delivered none to the Governor’s office. The Governor signed one bill this week, which reduces the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting activities.

Although the Legislature is still contemplating returning to Albany for Session, there were no announcements this week regarding the Legislative Session. We will continue to monitor this closely, and inform you if/when any announcements are made.

If there is nothing attached, it means there were no actions on any of your marked bills this week.

If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us directly.