The Wrap Up – April 13, 2020

Regional Approach

Today at a press conference organized by Governor Cuomo and the Governors of NJ, CT, PA, DE and RI, they announced a working group consisting of three representatives of each state (an economic development advisor, healthcare advisor and each Governor’s Chief of Staff) to formulate guidelines for a regional plan to reopen the economy.  The working group is set to begin meeting as early as tomorrow.  Beyond announcing formation of the working group, no details were provided in terms of the substance of what such plan would look like. 

Next steps for New York

When looking at the reopening of New York State for business, Governor Cuomo listed five points that must be considered:

  1. The reopening plan must be designed by experts in public health and economic development
  2. Regional Design – work in conjunction with the surrounding Northeastern States located along the I-95 commuter corridor.
  3. Since each part of the State acts as a gear in a machine, all sectors must start to turn together, including key infrastructure, such as transportation, schools, etc…
  4. Continued and additional federal financial support will be required.
  5. The continued Pause precautions and testing must happen to prevent a resurgence in the spread of COVID-19.

New York State COVID-19 Plateau

Governor Cuomo announced today that due to the number of COVID-related cases in the past few days, the State of New York can now be considered to be on a plateau.  He also said with the continuation of the “New York State on PAUSE” program, “The worst could be over”. 

Executive Order 202.16

The Executive Order announced yesterday was formally published today, and highlights, among other things, two points in particular:

  1. Effective Wednesday, April 15 at 8pm – For all essential businesses or entities, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees.
  2. Expands the pool of individuals authorized to conduct antibody testing.

COVID-19 Numbers

As of today, 195,031 people have tested positive in New York State.  The number of deaths in the State has increased to 10,056 from 9,385.

The Wrap Up – April 12, 2020

School and Business Closures

Addressing yesterday’s confusion about the continued closure of New York City schools, Governor Cuomo stated that the status quo is in place.  The City’s schools will remain closed pending a coordinated plan that includes schools throughout New York State and, ideally, also includes the neighboring states of New Jersey and Connecticut.  The Governor additionally opined that he would like to coordinate the reopening of schools and businesses, if practicable. 

New Executive Order

The Governor today announced that he will be signing a new Executive Order that: 1) directs employers to provide essential workers with cost-free cloth or surgical face masks when these employees directly interact with the public; and, 2) expands the pool of individuals authorized to conduct antibody testing, which could allow those who have recovered safely from COVID-19 to return to work while more vulnerable individuals remain isolated.  Pursuant to this Executive Order, New York State will provide essential State employees with masks in applicable situations.

Assistance for New Yorkers

The Governor continued to request additional federal assistance for states impacted by COVID-19.  He discussed the National Governors Association requesting $500 billion for states in the next federal stimulus bill, and he reiterated his desired repeal of the SALT deduction cap (the cap on the federal tax deduction that homeowners can take for their state and local taxes).  The Governor further advocated that a greater share of federal assistance be provided to New York State (the hardest-hit state in this pandemic) in any subsequent stimulus package, emphasizing a Kaiser Health report that Minnesota, Montana and Nebraska are receiving more than $300,000 per reported COVID-19 case while New York is receiving $12,000 per case.

New York State COVID-19 Curve Continues Flattening

State officials continue to see a flattening curve for COVID-19 hospitalizations, but the State must continue the “New York State on PAUSE” business and social protocols to maintain this promising trend.  The Governor highlighted that the net change in hospitalizations yesterday was at its lowest level since this information began being tracked one month ago.

COVID-19 Numbers

As of today, 188,694 people have tested positive in New York State.  The number of deaths in the State has increased to 9,385 from 8,627.

The Wrap Up – April 11, 2020

New York City School Closure Confusion

Earlier today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the City’s schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year.  In response, Governor Cuomo disputed the Mayor’s authority to issue this order.  The Governor stated that there has been no official decision on closing the City’s schools and that any decision should be coordinated with the larger metropolitan region that includes Long Island and Westchester County; preferably, such a decision also would include schools throughout New York State and even the states of New Jersey and Connecticut. 

Assistance for New Yorkers

The Governor called on the federal government to repeal ban on SALT deductions (state and local taxes that can be deducted on a federal income tax return), arguing this would do the most to assist the states and areas most impacted by COVID-19.  Additionally, the Governor announced that the New York State Court System will engage pro bono lawyers to help individuals struggling through various aspects of the pandemic, including assistance with filing for SBA loans.  Interested lawyers can visit nysba.org/covidvolunteer for more information.

New York State COVID-19 Curve Continues Flattening

Much of today’s public health messaging remained the same as yesterday’s.  New York State officials continue to see a flattening curve for COVID-19 hospitalizations, but the State must continue the “New York State on PAUSE” business and social protocols to maintain this promising trend.  The Governor highlighted that the number of intubations experienced a net decrease for the first time yesterday, and that this is a very positive sign.

COVID-19 Numbers

As of today, 180,458 people have tested positive in New York State.  The number of deaths in the State has increased to 8,627 from 7,844.

The Wrap Up – April 10, 2020

New York State Flattening the Curve… Currently

New York State officials are “cautiously optimistic” that the novel coronavirus infection rate is slowing.  The three-day average for hospitalizations has declined from recent weeks, and yesterday there was a net decrease in ICU (intensive care unit) admissions for the first time.  Governor Cuomo believes the State is “flattening the curve” for COVID-19 hospitalizations, but that we must continue the “New York State on PAUSE” business and social protocols to continue this promising trend.

Assistance for New Yorkers

The State is providing $200 million in emergency assistance to enrollees in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  Additionally, the Governor is working with Congress to create a COVID-19 Heroes Compensation Fund.  Similar to the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, the Heroes Compensation Fund would benefit healthcare and other essential workers (and their families) impacted by COVID-19.

Reopening New York State

The Governor argued that diagnostic and antibody testing are the keys to gradually reopening activities in the State, but that the required testing volume cannot be achieved without federal assistance.  The State is working to increase antibody testing, potentially allowing those who have recovered safely from COVID-19 to return to work while more vulnerable individuals remain isolated. 

COVID-19 Numbers

As of today, 170,512 people have tested positive in New York State.  The number of deaths in the State has increased to 7,844 from 7,067.