COVID-19: New York State and New York City Press Conference Weekly Highlights

NY State Government: Week in Review

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio provide daily press briefings on the status of New York State’s and New York City’s COVID-19 response. The Manatt team provides daily updates of these briefings, and going forward we will provide the highlights of important weekly actions being taken in New York State and New York City.

Please contact Laura Manley at lmanley@manatt.com with any questions.

Governor Cuomo Press Conference Highlights

Top Line Items From Saturday, May 9–Friday, May 15, 2020

Friday, May 15

  • The Governor announced that NY PAUSE has been extended until May 28 for the regions of the state that have not met the required metrics for reopening in Phase 1. However, as soon as a region meets those metrics, it can begin Phase 1 of reopening.
  • The Governor announced an agreement among four states—New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware—to open state beaches the Friday before Memorial Day, May 22. This agreement is meant to prevent an influx of beachgoers traveling from one state to another and overwhelming local officials.
  • He made it clear that local governments can determine for themselves if they will open local beaches, but all state and local beaches that do open must follow social distancing and maintain a 50% capacity. If there is a problem with enforcement, the beaches will be closed immediately.
  • The Governor and Budget Director Robert Mujica were asked a number of questions related to potential cuts to the SFY 2021 enacted state budget.
  • The Governor said that he has faith in humanity and believes that Washington, D.C., despite its politics and dysfunction, will provide funding for state and local governments because they have to do their job, and he doesn’t believe members of Congress can return to their districts after cutting funding for teachers, police, firefighters, healthcare workers and others.
  • Mujica said the state comptroller will report today that the state has seen a 14% loss in revenue, but a federal bill is under consideration which would provide funding for state and local governments, and he believes those funds will be there to help fill the budget holes for New York. He said that if/when federal funding does not materialize, reductions will be made. However, Mujica noted that 90% of New York’s spending is on education, healthcare and social programs and said it would be irresponsible to make cuts in those areas. He said a plan will have to be put out by the state in May.

Thursday, May 14

  • The Governor announced the five regions that have now met the metrics to begin Phase 1 reopening on Friday, May 15. They are: Finger Lakes, Central New York, Southern Tier, North Country and Mohawk Valley. Specific questions from businesses should be directed to their regional control board led by their mayors and county executives.
  • Specific questions from businesses should be directed to their regional control board led by their mayors and county executives.
  • Governor Cuomo announced an initial investment of $3 million for grants to New York State businesses to manufacture medical supplies and equipment.
  • The Governor was asked about liability protection for businesses that choose to open. He said there is pending federal legislation that will deal with this. He said he understands the hesitation until that is enacted, and said that if he were advising businesses, he would tell them to follow the guidance to the letter. Each business that chooses to open must attest to the fact that it has read and will abide by the guidelines and has plans in place that can be reviewed if an issue does arise. See https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/NYS_BusinessReopeningSafetyPlanTemplate.pdf

Wednesday, May 13

  • Governor Cuomo announced 12 counties that are now able to resume elective surgeries.
  • The Governor provided further information on COVID-19-related illnesses in children and the role the state is taking in investigating these illnesses, together with other states and countries.
  • The Governor was asked about the new requirement that nursing homes test employees twice a week. He said that the state will work to provide the tests; there will be no cost to employees; and by testing twice a week, the state will be able to say it's done everything it can to protect the vulnerable.

Tuesday, May 12

  • Governor Cuomo announced the Americans First Law that he and the congressional delegation are proposing to require businesses that take federal funding, in order to keep their federal funds, to rehire the same number of employees as they had prior to the pandemic.
  • The Governor again called for $61 billion from the federal government as it works on the next stimulus bill. He said that without these funds, the state will need to reduce funding for education, local governments and hospitals by 20% each.
  • The Governor was asked about the new testing requirements for nursing homes. He said that plans must be submitted to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) by May 13, and the DOH will work with individual counties and facilities on testing capacity if it believes they don’t have the capacity to test twice a week, as is required.

Monday, May 11

  • NY Forward update: Governor Cuomo announced further information for the various regions of the state related to the phased reopening of parts of the economy, with some regions beginning Phase 1 on May 15.
  • The length of phases will depend on facts and numbers—regions can open as quickly or as slowly as they would like. However, the infection rate and number of hospitalizations must be monitored; if they increase, regions would need to either slow or shut down sectors.
  • Regional control rooms will be in charge of ensuring there is day care and child care available in their regions, since school closures directly impact what businesses can do and how they can reopen.
  • All businesses will need to take precautions to keep employees and customers safe.
  • Full details regarding the NY Forward guide are accessible here.

Sunday, May 10

  • The Governor announced that new regulations would be coming out today for nursing homes and hospitals to ensure that these facilities are addressing the safety of their residents in an appropriate fashion.
  • The state is continuing to monitor and gather information on the progression of cases of pediatric syndromes with symptoms similar to those of Kawasaki/toxic shock syndrome occurring in children. There are 85 cases in New York currently identified, which have resulted in three deaths: two elementary school-aged children and one middle school-aged child.
  • The Governor called once more for federal assistance, noting that New York needed at least $35 billion this year to offset economic impacts. He also called for the federal government to support workers directly in the fourth federal bill related to COVID-19, and for an Americans First Law that would require corporations to rehire the same number of employees they’ve fired if they want to be eligible for federal financial assistance.

Saturday, May 9

  • Governor Cuomo announced the results of an additional antibody survey of transit workers, which show that 14.2% have antibodies, compared with 19.9% of the general population of New York City.
  • The Governor announced 24 temporary testing sites that will be opened in minority and low-income neighborhoods in the New York City region. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries spoke and has been instrumental in helping coordinate these partnerships.
  • Governor Cuomo provided updated data showing racial disparities among those being infected with COVID-19 as well as racial disparities in fatality rates.

Mayor de Blasio Press Conference Highlights

Top Line Items From Sunday, May 10–Friday, May 15, 2020

Friday, May 15

  • Mayor de Blasio announced an effort to provide air conditioners to all low-income seniors across New York City.
  • In addition, the mayor announced city efforts to create safe summer options for outdoor cooling and hydration in New York City parks and cooling centers in nontraditional venues.

Thursday, May 14

  • Mayor de Blasio announced that he is expanding the guidance for those who should seek COVID-19 testing to include those who:
     
    • Have COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of age, chronic conditions or occupation
    • Come in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient, regardless of symptoms
    • Work in a congregate residential setting (nursing home, shelter or adult care facility), regardless of symptoms
  • The Test and Trace Corps will open two new testing sites by next week and ten more sites the following week.

Wednesday, May 13

  • Mayor de Blasio announced some of the highlights of the House federal stimulus bill that are beneficial to New York City, including $17 billion in local aid that would be directed to the city.
  • The mayor provided updates on the pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome that was first identified by a reporter in New York City.
  • Mayor de Blasio announced that pre-K offers went out to New Yorkers, and there are still openings for children born in 2016 for those families who are interested.

Tuesday, May 12

  • Mayor de Blasio announced that the city will be expanding community testing with 12 new sites across the city over the next two weeks.
  • The mayor announced that Dr. Neil Vora and Dr. Amanda Johnson have been appointed to lead the Test and Trace Corps.

Monday, May 11

  • The mayor announced plans to strengthen community healthcare providers by supplying additional personal protective equipment to primary care providers, expanding telehealth services, and expanding test and trace efforts.
  • Gregg Bishop was announced as the new senior advisor for small-business COVID-19 recovery, with Jonnel Doris appointed as commissioner of small-business services.
  • Alternate-side parking will be reinstated for May 18–24 for a “clean sweep.”

Sunday, May 10

  • Mayor de Blasio is asking the federal government for 39,000 doses of remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients.
  • New York City Health + Hospitals will be conducting antibody testing for all children with symptoms of multisystem inflammatory syndrome.
  • The mayor announced that the city is increasing the number of civilian Social Distancing Ambassadors from 1,000 to 2,300 to promote social distancing education and outreach.
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