The Wrap Up – April 17, 2020

New Executive Order

Governor Cuomo has issued Executive Order 202.18. This latest Order primarily extends previous directives, including extending the “New York State on PAUSE” business restrictions and social protocols through May 15, and directing all schools statewide to remain closed through May 15.  Furthermore, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities and adult care facilities are now required to notify family members or next of kin if any resident tests positive for COVID-19, or if any resident suffers a COVID-19 related death, within 24 hours of such positive test result or death.

Getting Back to Work

The Governor again touted a “Blueprint to Un-PAUSE New York” with four steps:

  1. Do No Harm – continue controlling the rate of infection
  2. Strengthening the Healthcare System – ensure that anyone who needs medical attention gets it, and build out the strategic stockpile of PPE and other medical equipment
  3. Testing and Contact Tracing – call on the federal government to work with states to test on a massive scale, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reopen the economy and society
  4. Phased Return to “New Normal” – evaluate industries and strategically phase-in the reopening of our economy

Increasing Testing and Stabilizing State Finances

The Governor will be issuing an Executive Order directing all public and private labs in the State to coordinate with the Department of Health to ensure prioritizing of diagnostic testing.  Despite this, the Governor continuously argues that requisite testing levels cannot be achieved without federal assistance. The Governor also is lobbying for federal support to stabilize states’ finances and basic operations.

New York City

Mayor de Blasio today called on the federal government to provide more direct funding to New York City to help fill the gap of $7.5 billion in projected lost revenue.  He also announced that he plans to keep all City beaches closed this summer, and that all nonessential permitted events will officially be canceled through the month of May, including the Brooklyn half-marathon, parades, concerts, rallies and other large gatherings. Essential permitted locations, including medical sites, hygiene stations and farmers markets/meal distribution locations, will remain open. Discussions continue related to cancelling nonessential events in June as well. 

The City Council today said it will introduce legislation next week to force Mayor de Blasio to open streets to pedestrians and cyclists after a pilot program to create open space in each borough was cancelled due to the cost of enforcing social distancing rules

COVID-19 Numbers

The Governor is cautiously optimistic that we are on the far side of the COVID-19 plateau, with virtually all single-day statistics and three-day averages being either flat or decreased. The number of deaths in the State has increased 630 since yesterday to 12,822.

The Wrap Up – April 16, 2020

NYS on Pause Extended

The NYS on Pause program has been extended out an additional two weeks from April 29th to May 15th.

Getting Back to Work

The Governor emphasized reopening the economy is going to be an ongoing process over the next several weeks in conjunction with the multi-state council created earlier this week. He noted that businesses may need to “reimagine” how they operate logistically while practicing social distancing requirements as a continued precaution. The Governor again stressed the need for researchers to produce a vaccine and/or a proven medical treatment in order for businesses to bounce back 100% under what will be a “new normal.”

He also announced a four-step BLUEPRINT TO UN-PAUSE NEW YORK initiative:

  1. Do No Harm – continue controlling the rate of infection;
  2. Strengthening the Healthcare System – ensuring anyone who needs medical attention gets it, and building out the strategic stockpile of PPE and other medical equipment;
  3. Testing and Contact Tracing – call on the federal government to work with state to test on a massive scale to limit the virus spread.
  4. Phased Return to “New Normal” – evaluate industries and strategically phase-in the reopening of our economy.

The full press release can be found below.

Mandatory Nose and Mouth Coverings

The Governor gave a further explanation of yesterday’s Executive Order 202.17 today, specifying that masks would have to be worn by operators and riders of all modes of public transportation as well as with private transportation carriers and for-hire vehicles. The order goes into effect at 8pm on Friday, May 17. If needed the state will be working with local municipalities on coordinating a way to ensure people who cannot afford masks are granted access to them.

Mayor de Blasio Unveils $89.3B Executive Budget Proposal for NYC

Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio presented his $89.3 billion Executive Budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2021, which is $3.4 billion less than the FY2020 Budget.  The Mayor’s Executive Budget looks to bridge a $7.4 billion shortfall through a combination of cost savings, limited new spending and using the city’s reserve funds. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson released a statement saying the Council wants to protect the most vulnerable New Yorkers by continuing “critical” social services. The City Council and Mayor’s office will continue the budget negotiation process, and are required by law to pass a balanced budget by the June 30th deadline.

COVID-19 Numbers

The Governor indicated today that we are possibly on the far side of the plateau with virtually all numbers either flat or down for today, as well as over the past three day averages. As of today, 222,282 people have tested positive in New York State.  The number of deaths in the State has increased 606 since yesterday to 12,192.

Please let us know if you have any questions.  Stay healthy and safe everyone.

-The Statewide Public Affairs Team

For Immediate Release: 4/16/2020GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO

AMID ONGOING COVID-19 PANDEMIC, GOVERNOR CUOMO OUTLINES BLUEPRINT TO UN-PAUSE NEW YORK

Blueprint Will Work to Control the Rate of Infection, Strengthen the Health Care System and Ramp Up Testing with Help from the Federal Government While Phasing an Economic Return to a “New Normal”

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today outlined a blueprint to un-pause New York, getting people back to work and easing social isolation without triggering renewed spread of the virus. The ultimate plan will be implemented in coordination with other states in the multi-state council.

  1. Do No Harm – Step one is to continue controlling the rate of infection. This includes extending the NY Pause order until May 15th and implementing additional measures to reduce the rate of infection, including requiring masks in public when social distancing is not possible.
  2. Strengthening the healthcare system – Step two is continuing the surge and flex strategy to ensure anyone who needs medical attention gets it, building out the strategic stockpile of PPE and other medical equipment, and sharing resources amongst states and localities.
  3. Testing and Contact Tracing – The best tool to inform decisions and calibrate progress of any phased reopening of the economy is through both diagnostic and antibody testing. The states need the federal government to partner on this effort and bring it to the mass scale that is needed. With the help of an army of investigators, contact tracing needs to be done to help limit the virus spread.
  4. Phased Return to “New Normal” –

• Evaluating Risk by Industry: The ‘Un-Pause NY’ approach is designed to open businesses in phases of priority. 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. As the infection rate declines, the pace of reopening businesses will be increased.

• Precautions and Practices for businesses to consider to guide phased return to “new normal”:  

• Transport: Ensure employees have means for safe transport (i.e., masks, gloves for public transit) or require telecommuting/work from home.

• Workplace: Ensure workplaces are designed to include social distancing measures (i.e., desks six feet apart, conference rooms redesigned), telecommuting for those who can and the most vulnerable

• Customer Interaction: Ensure measures designed to ensure minimal contact with customers, ensure public-interacting employees have necessary protective supplies such as gloves, masks, etc.). Special precautions should be taken for businesses that primarily interact with the most vulnerable populations.

• Proactive Infection Plan: Ensure protocols in place should an employee develop COVID-19 symptoms or test positive (i.e. work from home plan)

“Now that we’ve shown we can flatten the curve and our efforts to control the spread of the virus are working, we must focus on a smart, effective plan to un-pause New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “The first part of the plan is to do no harm – don’t let that infection rate go up to the best of your ability and don’t lose the progress that we have made. Second, now that we have some stability in our health care system after a weeks-long overdrive, we continue to strengthen that system and ramp up testing and contact tracing to identify those who are sick and isolate them so they don’t transmit the virus to others. Then we can focus on phasing an economic return to the new normal – but we need all those activities going on at the same time for our plan to un-pause New York to work.” 

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The Wrap Up – April 15, 2020

New Statewide Public Affairs Blog

We are happy to announce the “Statewide Blog” is now live.  Here you will find COVID-19 updates, additional updates on events and happenings in New York State and other client related materials. The blog will be part of our website and updated in real time.

Executive Order

Governor Cuomo announced today and is expected to issue shortly a new Executive Order requiring individuals to wear protective mouth and nose coverings when in public and where proper social distancing regulations (six feet of separation) cannot be practiced. The Governor also stated that this will be enforced on a local level with a civil violation and depending on the level of adherence the possibility in the future of further penalties.

Phased Opening for Business

As New York State looks to regain its momentum and business capacity, the Governor indicated this will only be accomplished in partnership with the Federal Government. Governor Cuomo called for an additional $500 billion in federal aid to help States off-set significant budget gaps caused by COVID. The National Governors Association made a similar request for federal relief. (The NGA letter can be found here.)

In association with the additional funding, New York State would need to identify certain factors for businesses when it comes to a phased-in reopening:

  1. How “essential” is the business or service?
  2. What is the risk of “infection spread” of the business?
    1. An example was, what level of social distancing could be adhered to for the business to function.

The below table was provided in accompaniment to these two factors:

 “More-Essential” Industry“Less Essential” Industry
Low Risk FactorsServices/product more essential, low risk of workplace or customer infection spreadServices/product less essential, low risk of workplace or customer infection spread
High Risk FactorsServices/product more essential, high risk of workplace or customer infection spreadServices/product less essential, high risk of workplace or customer infection spread

Testing

New York State is currently awaiting FDA approval to conduct approximately 500,000 tests per week. This is a critical component to the State’s efforts to getting “back to business.”  

COVID-19 Numbers

As of today, 213,779 people have tested positive in New York State.  The number of deaths in the State has increased 752 over the last 24 hours to 11,586.

The Wrap Up – April 14, 2020

Federal/State Tension on Reopening the Economy

Governor Cuomo spent considerable time during his daily briefing addressing President Trump’s declaration that he can overrule state governors to reopen local economies.  The Governor stated he will not get into a political fight with the President on this issue, but he also will not cede his mandate to protect New Yorkers’ health and safety if any conflicting directives arise.

Regional Approach to Economic Reopening

Massachusetts has joined New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island in a seven-state council to reopen the economy and return people to work.  The Governor’s briefing today did not provide any further details about this council’s activities and potential actions.

New York State COVID-19 Plateau

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 plateau.

Health officials are concerned about the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, but simultaneously they recognize the natural vulnerability of that population and have not announced any new strategies to combat this dilemma.

COVID-19 Numbers

As of today, 202,208 people have tested positive in New York State.  The number of deaths in the State has increased to 10,834 from 10,056.

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.