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

NY State Government: Week in Review

Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio provide daily press briefings on the status of New York State’s and New York City’s COVID-19 responses. The Manatt team provides daily updates on 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 Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Highlights

Top Line Items From Saturday, May 16, to Friday, May 22, 2020:

Friday, May 22

  • The Governor announced that the Mid-Hudson and Long Island regions are on track to be able to enter Phase 1 of reopening next week, and he has therefore allowed construction staging to begin in anticipation of such reopening.
  • Today, New York is launching a new pilot program with 52 independent pharmacies to expand capacity to be able to conduct 7,000 additional tests per week.
  • Governor Cuomo announced that New York is launching the $100+ million New York Forward Loan Fund, providing flexible and affordable loans to help small businesses.
  • Today, New York is making its contact tracing training curriculum available at no cost to all states to speed the process of creating contact tracing programs.

Thursday, May 21

  • Governor Cuomo announced that the state will extend, to June 22, the amnesty from penalties and interest for small businesses that remit sales tax collections that were otherwise due on or before March 20, in order to help businesses across the state that are suffering.
  • Governor Cuomo announced that there will be no in-person summer school for students this year and that schools will receive guidelines in June related to the fall semester, to include requirements for schools to submit plans to the state in July for the 2020–21 school year.
  • Governor Cuomo announced that state beaches would open May 22 for the Memorial Day weekend with 50% capacity restrictions in place. The Governor cautioned New Yorkers that with reduced-capacity rules and increased demand, beaches are projected to hit their capacity by 10 to 11 a.m.

Wednesday, May 20

  • The Governor announced that New York is doubling its testing program to 44 total churches in impacted minority communities.
  • Beginning Thursday, May 21, religious gatherings of no more than 10 people will be allowed statewide. Strict social distancing measures must be enforced, and all participants must wear masks.

Tuesday, May 19

  • The Governor continues to say that decisions on potential cuts to the state budget depend on federal action and that decisions will be made within the next couple of weeks once it becomes clear what Congress is going to do.
  • The Governor announced that the Capital District would begin Phase 1 of reopening on May 20.
  • Nassau County is now eligible to begin elective surgery and ambulatory care.
  • The Governor announced a two-week pilot of a Hospital Visitation Program that will take place in certain hospitals across the state and will begin to allow visitors to enter hospitals for specific amounts of time while wearing PPE.
  • Governor Cuomo said that local governments can allow Memorial Day ceremonies with 10 or fewer participants and stream them online.

Monday, May 18

  • The Governor announced that the Western New York region would enter Phase 1 reopening on May 19.
  • Governor Cuomo announced that New York State would be connecting nursing home facilities with labs that have reserved at least 35,000 tests per day exclusively for required twice-a-week testing, and would start by sending 320,000 test kits to nursing homes statewide in the same week as the announcement.
  • Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the Governor, announced that $9.2 billion has been paid out to over 2 million New Yorkers with unemployment claims. 
  • Governor Cuomo announced that judges and staff would open courthouses in 30 upstate counties by the end of the week.
  • The Governor announced two international experts would advise New York State as the state works toward reopening the economy while ensuring infection rates remain low.

Sunday, May 17

  • The Governor announced a new partnership with a pharmacy to bring 60 new testing sites online statewide and encouraged New Yorkers to get tested. 
  • Individuals who will be part of Phase 1 reopening of workplaces are now eligible for COVID-19 testing also.
  • The Governor also encouraged New Yorkers to avail themselves of available mental health resources, and noted that the COVID-19 crisis is also a mental health crisis for many Americans. He announced new resources and reminded New Yorkers of existing resources.

Saturday, May 16

  • The Governor announced that some sports venues will be allowed to reopen without crowds. These include horse racing facilities, and Watkins Glen specifically.
  • The Governor announced that Westchester and Suffolk counties would be eligible to resume outpatient and elective surgeries.
  • The Governor again emphasized the importance of the federal government’s role in New York’s economic future and urged the U.S. Senate to pass the House of Representatives’ HEROES Act bill.

Mayor Bill de Blasio Press Conference Highlights

Top Line Items From Sunday, May 16, to Friday, May 22, 2020:

Friday, May 22

  • The Mayor announced NYC beaches will remain closed for swimming; however, they will be open for walking and sitting. There will be a 30% increase in the NYPD beach detail.
  • The city has given out 6 million face coverings so far and has 5 million more ready to distribute.
  • The Mayor announced 26 additional miles of Open Streets will open tomorrow, Saturday, May 23.
  • The Mayor reminded New Yorkers that they can get takeout from local restaurants; however, they are not allowed to congregate outside of these restaurants.

Thursday, May 21

  • NYC has served 32 million total meals across all city programs since the COVID-19 crisis began.
  • The Mayor urgently reminded New Yorkers to make an appointment for a blood donation.
  • Staten Island Ferry was scheduled to increase services beginning that afternoon to meet increased demand.

Wednesday, May 20

  • The Mayor announced expanded testing for nursing home residents and additional staff as necessary, and the creation of Outbreak Response Teams.
  • The Mayor encouraged New Yorkers to complete the 2020 Census, saying that currently the city response is at around 49%.
  • The Mayor said that childhood vaccinations are down 63%, and reminded parents that their children need to be vaccinated and that it is safe and acceptable to leave their homes to get vaccinations for their children.

Tuesday, May 19

  • The Mayor announced that summer school programs for NYC students will continue as remote learning through August.
  • The Mayor made it clear that the city supports line-of-duty death benefits for survivors of municipal employees who have died of COVID-19 and will advance state legislation to make it a reality.
  • The Mayor announced the appointment of Magalie Austin as senior advisor and director of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises.

Monday, May 18

  • Mayor de Blasio announced that NYC-made test kits are now available at community testing sites.
  • The CDC released new case definition and additional symptoms for what is now called multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), confirming the link to COVID-19.
  • The Mayor announced that antibody testing would begin that day for 140,000+ healthcare workers and first responders.

Sunday, May 17

  • Mayor de Blasio announced that the city had reached its citywide goal of 20,000 tests daily through new a partnership with CityMD.
  • The first class of 500 prospective contact tracers has completed Johns Hopkins training, and 1,000 more are in the process of training.
  • NY Blood Center is down to a two-day supply and urgently requests donations.
  • NYC beaches will NOT open for Memorial Day.
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