ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo was back in Albany Friday for his daily briefing on COVID-19 in New York state.
The governor’s press conference takes place on a day that the NY PAUSE mandate expires in several regions — including Rochester and the Finger Lakes.
“We opened half the regions in the state, five of 10, that met the numerical criteria,” Gov. Cuomo said. There’s no politics in this judgement, it’s all in the numbers.”
The governor said NY PAUSE is extended in the remaining five regions, but could be lifted as soon as the area met the reopening criteria.
“If a region hits its benchmark at any time, regardless of the PAUSE order, then that region can open,” Gov. Cuomo said.
The governor announced 132 New Yorkers died Thursday from COVID-19, as the state’s death toll from the virus exceeds 22,000 to date.
“Number of deaths is down, but still painful,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We are right about where we were when we started this number of lives lost, we go right back to March 27 and that’s when we really first started this miserable journey.”
The governor says that the state is on the right track in regards to the spread of the virus.
“Good news, again if you looks at New York our curve is down,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Congratulations New Yorkers, and actually the curve in the rest of the nation is up. So while cases are increasing across the country, the number of cases in New York is actually going down.”
With reopening, the governor announced New York state would be opening public beaches for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, but the decision will ultimately fall on the local municipality to make the decision.
“We will all be opening beaches for the Memorial Day weekend,” Gov. Cuomo said. “States will have different specific rules about what happens on that beach, they’ll all be plus or minus, but they’re all basically in the same ball park.”
State and local beaches/lakeshores can open the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, with the following conditions:
- Mandating no more than 50% capacity by ensuring controlled exits and entrances and limited parking
- Prohibiting group contact activities, including sports, like volleyball
- Keeping areas of social gathering closed, like designated picnic areas, playgrounds etc.
- Enforcing social distancing measures for both employees and visitors
- Requiring masks to be worn by all employees and visitors when social distancing is not possible
- Closing concessions
- Ensuring staff levels are adequate to achieve these measures and enforce crowd control
The governor said his decision to reopen beaches was in conjunction with neighboring states.
“Is there a risk that the locals won’t enforce the rules? Yes,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Or the beach will get overwhelmed and they can’t enforce the rules, yes that is a risk, and we have eyes wide open, and if that happens we will close the beaches the next day.”
While some phase one businesses resume, the governor says it’s important to follow the order to wear masks in public while social distancing is not possible.
“When you are in public, and you’re within six feet of another person, wear a mask,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That is a requirement.”
The governor says he believes that Washington will come together to provide funding for state and local governments during this economic crisis.
“If we have to cut schools, police, fire, hospitals because Washington didn’t provide reasonable funding, when they did bail out millionaires and billionaires and rich corporations, but they’re not going to fund police and fire?” Gov. Cuomo said. “I don’t think any Washington official is going to come home and present that case. I believe we will receive Washington funding due to the survival instinct of Washington officials.”
Also, a big question on the minds of many stuck at home for more than two months: When can we get hair cuts?
“Hair styling is in phase two of the reopening plan,” Gov. Cuomo said.
Locally, there are now 163 COVID-19 deaths in Monroe County. To date, officials report 2,011 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, including 76 new cases since 24 hours prior.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.