ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — On a conference call with media Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced changes to the state’s coronavirus curfew guidelines.
Starting April 5, the 11 p.m. curfew for gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys, casinos and billiards halls will be lifted, but the curfew for restaurants, bars and catered events will remain in place for now with the New York State Department of Health to reassess these rules next month.
As with existing curfew rules, pickup and takeout could resume at dining establishments past 11 p.m. — just no service inside the facility past that time.
When asked about the ongoing controversies, investigations, and calls for his resignation, the governor again said he would not resign.
“I’m not going to resign,” Gov. Cuomo said Wednesday. “Find out the facts and we’ll take it from there.”
The governor’s conference call Wednesday came just a few hours after he received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. He announced that as of Wednesday afternoon, the state had reached the 7 million milestone for vaccines administered to date.
Wednesday’s coronavirus data is summarized briefly below:
- Test Results Reported – 263,401
- Total Positive – 8,976
- Percent Positive – 3.41%
- 7-Day Average Percent Positive – 3.28%
- Patient Hospitalization – 4,624 (-33)
- Net Change Patient Hospitalization Past Week – -174
- Patients Newly Admitted – 588
- Hospital Counties – 50
- Number ICU – 954 (+11)
- Number ICU with Intubation – 601 (-8)
- Total Discharges – 154,780 (+499)
- Deaths – 54
- Total Deaths – 39,690
Earlier Wednesday, the governor toured a pop-up vaccination site at Mount Neboh Baptist Church in New York City on Wednesday.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the announcement from the governor was closed to the press. Officials from the governor’s office also said Cuomo will hold a COVID-19 update with a question and answer press conference later in the day.
“We are still in the middle of a crisis in New York and there are three different elements to the crisis,” Gov. Cuomo said. “First the vaccine. The vaccine is the weapon that wins the war, but it is also a massive undertaking to get these undertakings done. By May we’re going to have enough vaccine to have everyone eligible. That means we’re going to have to get millions and millions of vaccines in arms. That’s what were looking at, and on top of that, and compounding, it it has to be done fairly.
“COVID may be race blind, ethnic blind, but COVID found the inequities in our society and exploited the inequity,” Gov. Cuomo said. “All that injustice we saw rise to the top — and that’s what COVID preyed on — when it comes to doing the vaccine we have to correct for that. The community that suffered most should be first on the vaccine line.
“We have to get out the word that Black and Hispanic communities already paid too high a price,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We have to get people vaccinated. They talk about vaccine hesitancy, but I don’t call it hesitancy. It’s not hesitancy, it’s trust. The black community is saying I don’t trust government when it says ‘don’t worry its safe.’ Top black medical professors in the United States of America, the pastors who are here today from all across the state, they say it’s safe. The SOMOS experts who have administered 5 million vaccines in this state. We have to get the vaccine.”
The governor received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Wednesday during his media appearance.
“I said I’d personally vouch for it,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I said I’d have my mother take the vaccine. When my children are ready I’m going to have them take the vaccine. Today I’m going to take the vaccine, and I’m going to take the J&J vaccine because I want to make the point: Take whatever vaccine you can take. They all work, they are all safe; don’t try to pick one over the other — take whatever vaccine you can get.”
The governor said the pandemic is not the only present pressing priority for New York as the legislature continues to work on a state budget due in a few weeks.
“A budget is not just a budget,” Gov. Cuomo said. “A budget is a management plan for the whole state. We have a lot of damage to redo, we have a lot of people who suffered economically, who couldn’t pay rent because they’re out of a job. We have a lot of work to day.”
The governor said with vaccination ramping up, and the budget taking shape, now is the time to rebuild for the future.
“The third element of this crisis is, the Bible says ‘to everything there is a season,’” Gov. Cuomo said. “This is a season, my friends, to rebuild. We have the vaccine, it’s coming, we’re going to administer it. Now is the season to rebuild. People are going to get back to work, we’re going to take back those streets and were going to rise.
“Yes we’ve had a tough yea,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Yes we we’re set back, that is going to happen, that is inevitable. The question in life is who gets up? Who gets up smarter, and who gets up faster, and that is New York. That is what we do, that is who we are. We’re stronger than ever after 911. We’re more unified after 911. We built better after 911, and we’re going to do the same exact thing after COVID — that is the season we are in.”
Gov. Cuomo tours Mount Neboh Baptist Church vaccination site
While the coronavirus situation improves statewide — with increased vaccination and decreasing positivity and hospitalization rates — the governor is increasingly facing criticism in regards to multiple controversies and investigations — the latest of which involves an advisor gauging loyalty and support for the governor with implications of vaccination priority to those who are standing with the governor.
A longtime adviser to Cuomo leading the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been calling county executives to gauge their loyalty to the Democratic governor amid a sexual harassment investigation, according to reports in The Washington Post and The New York Times.
On Monday, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello released a statement confirming a call took place, but added that vaccines weren’t mentioned, and then he called for the governor’s resignation.
The three-term governor has rejected calls for his resignation from fellow Democrats, including New York’s two U.S. senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and has asked New Yorkers to await the results of an investigation headed by state Attorney General Letitia James. Sen. Schumer, Sen. Gillibrand join in calls for Gov. Cuomo to resign.
The governor announced Wednesday that the National Urban League has plans to return its headquarters to Harlem, where it started in 19210. The governor said it would be a $242 million project with 500,000 square feet of office, retail, commercial, housing, museum space and more. The governor said the state government would invest $110 million into the project.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update the developing story.