June 18, 2020
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Issues Executive Order Strengthening State Enforcement During Phased Reopening to Protect New Yorkers and Ensure Business Compliance

TOP Governor Cuomo Issues Executive Order...

Violations Of Reopening Rules And Guidelines Could Result In Immediate Loss Of Liquor License And Shut Down Order For Businesses

 

Also Issues Executive Order to Expand the Enforcement Areas of State Liquor Authority by Giving Bars Responsibility of Area Immediately Outside their Locations

 

Final Decision on New York City Entering Phase Two Monday Expected to Come Tomorrow

 

State to Issue Guidance to Colleges and Universities to Allow Some In Person Instruction and On-Campus Housing for the Fall Semester

 

Less Than One Percent of Yesterday's COVID-19 Tests were Positive

 

Confirms 618 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 385,760; New Cases in 37 Counties

 

Governor Cuomo: "The issue going to phase two or phase three is compliance by people and enforcement by local government. That is the issue. So, how is this going to work? It depends on how people act, which is how this has always been determined. And people, especially New York City, Long Island, compliance matters. It matters. And it's not just moral and ethical, communal, it's legal. These are the laws also. So, be aware of the law, follow the law.

 

Cuomo: "We're going to take an added step where I'm going to increase the state's enforcement capacity by executive order - Where violations of the rules and the regulations could allow State Liquor Authority to do an immediate suspension of an alcohol license, which means a bar or a restaurant that are violating the rules could have an immediate suspension of their license. Business that is violating the rules could have an immediate shutdown order."

 

Cuomo: "This was a degree of difficulty and a challenge for government dealing with this coronavirus, a challenge for society unlike anything we have seen in my lifetime - and my lifetime is pretty long. I can tell the people of the state this, they could not have had a more talented, smarter, more professional team working for them than the team that works in state government. I have worked with a lot of government pros, but no team holds a candle to what this team did."

WYSIWYG

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he will issue an Executive Order strengthening state enforcement during the phased reopening to protect New Yorkers and ensure business compliance. Businesses that violate the reopening rules and guidelines are subject to immediate loss of their liquor license and a shutdown order. The Governor also announced he will issue an Executive Order to expand the enforcement areas of the State Liquor Authority by giving bars responsibility for the area immediately outside their locations.

 

The Governor also announced the State will issue guidance to colleges and universities to allow some in person instruction and on-campus housing and for the fall semester. Campuses must develop a plan, which attests to meeting the guidance and file plans with the State.

 

The Governor also announced a final decision on New York City entering Phase Two this Monday is expected to come tomorrow following a review of data by global experts. Business guidance for Phase Two of the state's reopening plan is available here.

 

VIDEO of the Governor's remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.  

  

AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.

    

PHOTOS are available on the Governor's Flickr page.

   

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

 

Good morning. Pleasure to be in New York City this morning. Pleasure to see all your smiling faces as usual. Okay, not all smiling. Let me introduce the people who are here today. Besides just introducing them, let me just say to them on behalf of myself and the people of the state, I want to thank the people who are at this table and many people who are on the team who are not at this table who have just done extraordinary service for the people over these past 108 days.

 

This was a degree of difficulty and a challenge for government dealing with this coronavirus. A challenge for society unlike anything we have seen in my lifetime and my lifetime is pretty long. I can tell the people of the state this: They could not have had a more talented, smarter, more professional team working for them than the team that works in state government. I have worked with a lot of government pros, but no team holds a candle to what this team did.

 

To my left is Robert Mujica, I've worked with him for 13 years. Been on the other side of the table with him. He was working for the Senate before he came to work for me. One of the most talented, smart people I've ever worked with in my life. We're thankful that he was there. Melissa DeRosa did every one of these briefings with me. Been with me for 7 years, was in the Attorney General's office before that. Whip smart, works around the clock and what she did was just phenomenal. Doctor Zucker, five years as Health Commissioner. He's dealt with the most significant public health crisis of a generation. Nobody's gone through this before. He's done exquisitely well. Gareth Rhodes is here. Young fellow, but he's been with me for about 11 years. His energy and his talent and his creativity got us through every day.

 

They had to handle the coronavirus pandemic. They had to do it with very little help from anyone else. We'll get into other people's responsibilities at another time. And they had to do it carrying me on their back. They really had a burden to carry. It was a long road. One hundred and eight days, every day, every night without a break. Without a moment where you could say, "Let's relax." Every moment had a new challenge. It was just my honor to work with them through this. I'm proud of what they did, I'm proud of what the government did. I'm proud of what the state did. You needed every piece working together to accomplish what we accomplished and I want to thank them for that.

 

Today is 110, 25 days since the civil unrest from Mr. Floyd's murder. The New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative - this is just starting and it's going to be very important and I think it's going to be transformative if we do it right. I think this is a moment where this nation should be taking the opportunity to reevaluate what it wants in terms of public safety.

 

What does public safety mean today in this society? We haven't reevaluated what it means. We've been talking about the expansion of the criminal justice industrial complex, we've been talking about how many people we put in prison that we put more people in prison in this nation than any industrialized nation on the globe. We've been talking for decades that it costs more to keep a person in prison than it would to educate a child at Harvard University, but nothing has changed.

 

We saw Mr. Floyd's murder, but we've been seeing Mr. Floyd's murder for 40, 50 years. Finally, people said enough is enough and now is the moment to change. But then you have to make change happen. Change doesn't just happen because you say change. Change doesn't happen because you go out and you demonstrate and you insist on change. Change only happens if the government then enacts change.

 

Reverend Sharpton was here. When he was saying demonstrate, legislate, reconciliation. Demonstration, legislation, reconciliation. The demonstration is the expression of outrage to make the government change and the government changes through legislation. Okay, so what is the change going to be from all these protests and all this outrage. What is it? And don't give me just a press release where all these politicians put out a press release. I think we should change tear gas. I think we should change rubber bullets. I think we should change the color of uniforms.

 

This is not about tear gas or rubber bullets or slogans or the color of uniforms. This is about making fundamental change to the system and it's hard. By the way, the system is going to push back. Don't kid yourself. When you're going to change the status quo, the status quo rears up to defeat change. That's life. That's society. What we're saying in the state is to accelerate this and engage it, local governments and police departments have to come together, have to have the discussion in a collaborative, come up with a plan and pass it through a legislative body. New York City needs City Council to pass it by April 1.

 

Have the hard conversation. Come up with a plan. But get it done by April 1 if you want funding from the state. Answer the tough questions that will actually bring about change. What functions do you want the police department to do? That's where this starts. Then, what staff do you need to do that? "Reduce the police department." Reduce the police department? What do you want it to do? And then what is the staffing for that police department with those functions? Defund. What does that mean? What is the budget? The budget is what you need to pay for the staff after you decided what functions you want to perform. What is your use of force policy? "Demilitarize the police." What does that mean? What equipment do you want to take away? What procedures do you want to take away? What is the transparent disciplinary process? How does that work? What is the citizen complaint process, and who's going to review it? How do you use data to drive deployment? How do you address bias within the police department, which is so real and has been in existence for so long? How do you link the police with the essential services, with the mental health, with the substance abuse, et cetera?

 

Those are the real questions. Those are questions you have to answer to actually have the change we should have, and if we use this moment where change is actually possible. That has to be done community by community, because what New York City's going to want is going to be different than what Buffalo wants, is different than what Albany wants, and that's the way it should be? But we need leadership on the local level to stand up and start this real process and this real discussion.

 

On reopening, New York has been smart about handling the coronavirus crisis. Smart means we follow the facts. We did testing yesterday. We do testing every day. We did 68,000 tests yesterday. Just think about that, 68,000 tests in one day, okay? Sounds like a lot. It is. It's more than any state, more per capita than any state, more than any country on the globe per capita. Yay New York. 68,000 tests, big sample, what did it say? .9, less than 1 percent positive. Lowest percent positive since we have started. Lowest percent positive since we have started. Highest number of tests, lowest percent positive. Highest number of tests because we've been ramping up testing, ramping up testing, ramping up testing. So that is just great news. And that's why I am in such a happy-go-lucky mood. That's why I am a cool dude in a loose mood. You look at all the numbers in the chart, all the numbers in the chart are good. New York City, we reopened. Yesterday we were at 1 percent. When we started on Saturday, 1.4. So 1.4, 1.3, 1.2, 1.2, 1. Great. Great, great, great.

 

Only caution sign across the state, Central New York. .6, 1.3, 1.4, 1.1. How did you go from .6, to 1.3, to 1.4? Something happened, maybe. That's right. So then we go back to the tracing function, which is up and running. Go trace the positives and see if they lead us to anything. They did. In Central New York, Oswego, there is an apple manufacturing plant, where they take apples and they process apples for sale. And there is a cluster of cases in that apple manufacturing plant, about 34 positives in one plant. That's bad news, but, it's also good news. That's the way this is supposed to work. You see an increase in the numbers, you trace the increase. Does it lead anywhere? Were they at the same party? Were they at the same employer? Were they at the same protest? In Oswego, they were working in the same plant. Get to that plant, address it.

 

But other than that, all the numbers have been good. New York City, you see by borough we can look at the numbers, and it's all been good. Lowest number of hospitalizations since we started. Amen. Number of deaths ticked up a little bit, but the overall curve is the lowest we have seen. So, it is all good news all across the board. New York City reopening, the way we do this, the way we've done it in every region across the state, is we compile all the data. When we get near the end of that phase, we have state officials review it and we then have global experts review that data to make sure there's nothing in the data that we're missing. And we don't look at just the top line data that I show you, not that you are not public health experts also and statisticians and scientists and you would be able to see things the data.

 

I believe that, about you, Andrew, not Zack. We have global experts who look at the data, and when they sign off, then I sign off. I do not sign off until they sign off. So they're reviewing the New York City data, it's supposed to go on Monday, they'll watch it Friday, Saturday, Sunday, they're studying it now. But, all the indications are good, so I'm saying today you'll get a final announcement tomorrow, but I am saying businesses should plan on reopening. We just had a call where we went over the New York City data, and everybody is feeling good, so my advice to New York City businesses, plan to reopen Monday on Phase Two.

 

Now, Phase Two is Phase Two. this only works, this whole process, because every phase has rules, and if you follow those rules, it is a controlled opening of the economy. It controls how many people are introduced into the city, on to public transportation, on to the sidewalks, etcetera. As that number is increasing, local governments can then get their act together and deal with the increase, that's part of the phasing. But there are rules, it's not we reopen, hallelujah. No, no, that's what other states did and that's a mistake. We reopen in phases and a phase has rules. And that's what makes it a phase as opposed to an overall reopening.

 

If you ignore the rules, then it's not a phased reopening, right. People need to know the rules, and they have to follow the rules. They are on the website, but they are specific for specific businesses. There's occupancy rules, there are barrier rules, signage, distance, congregation, small meetings, no sharing of food beverages. Please be aware of the rules and follow the rules. There's rules about retail shopping and how it works and overall occupancy. We have done this in every region across the state. It has worked overall. I can tell you from experience it works better or worse depending on the compliance and the enforcement and how people follow the rules.

 

The issue going to phase two or phase three is compliance by people and enforcement by local government. That is the issue. So, how is this going to work? It depends on how people act, which is how this has always been determined. And people, especially New York City, Long Island, compliance matters. It matters. And it's not just moral and ethical, communal, it's legal. These are the laws also. So, be aware of the law, follow the law. Local government has to do the compliance. And the compliance and the enforcement, the function of local government gets more difficult as we go through these phases. Because it gets more complicated, and more people are coming into the system. So, the phases are also allowing the local government to come up to speed and develop the expertise and the capacity to do the enforcement.

 

We're going to take an added step where I'm going to increase the state's enforcement capacity by executive order. Where violations of the rules and the regulations could allow State Liquor Authority to do an immediate suspension of an alcohol license, which means a bar or a restaurant that are violating the rules could have an immediate suspension of their license. Business that is violating the rules could have an immediate shutdown order.

 

So, we have made great, great progress. I want to make sure we don't slide back. I want to make sure that we don't get careless. Weather is nice. Everything is good. Governor said the numbers are good. We don't have to worry. Hallelujah. No. The numbers are good because we're doing what we are supposed to do. And we have to keep doing what we're supposed to do.

 

I'm also signing an executive order that gives bars responsibility for the sidewalk, the outside area immediately in front of their premises and the state SLA will enforce that also. But I need local governments to do their part. As we go through the phases the responsibilities of the local governments increase. The state cannot do enforcement on these local issues all across the state. I would, we don't have enough people. SLA doesn't have enough investigators. We need the local governments to do their part. And I know nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news. It's not bad news. When people follow the rules the infection rate stays down. That's called good news. But local governments have to do their part.

 

New York state is also issuing guidance today for colleges and universities that are planning September, Fall reopenings. And we are asking them to develop plans. We still need more data between now and September to make a definitive determination. We want to make sure we are starting to prepare. We are starting to prepare plans for K to 12, we're doing the same with college guidance. And colleges can go and get examples of considerations, but we need reopening plans, monitoring plans, containment plans, and shutdown plans.

 

Last point, but a big point, this is a pivotal moment in this country. You look at what is going on across the nation and people should be concerned. You're seeing the virus go up across this country. It concerns me that you're seeing other states going up. It concerns me as an American. Also concerns me on a parochial level because those people in those states may get on a plane, may land at JFK. And this could start all over again. That's how we got here the first time. How did the number of cases get so bad so quickly? People came from Europe to JFK and nobody told us that the virus was in Europe. That's the fact for the history books.

 

Everybody said the virus was in China. Look at China, look at China, look at China. Yeah, baloney. It wasn't in China. It left China, went to Europe. It came here from Europe and three million Europeans landed at JFK, January, February, March. March the nation did the European travel ban. By then three million Europeans had come and that's how the virus came. We now have the virus under control. Yeah, but Florida doesn't, Texas doesn't, these other states don't. And what happens if they get on a plan and they come to JFK?

 

So, we get the infection rate down and then because other states are high, we could have a problem. This country has to wake up! Wake up and smell the coffee, right? And let's realize the facts that are going on as we sit here this morning because— my father's great speech, "Tale of Two Cities"— you know have the "Tale of Two Countries" going on. You have two very different situations happening in states across this country. Some states, the numbers are going down. Some states, the numbers are going up. Why? Same country, same virus. Why? The federal government's attitude is an undeniable mistake when it has come to dealing with COVID. Their guidance, their doctrine is an undeniable mistake. It is a political theory, a public relations theory, versus a science-based, fact-based theory. The White House from the day one has been operating on a pure political ideology. "We should reopen, get the economy going, government shouldn't be slowing down the economy!" It was all political. It was all public relations. Based on what fact? Based on what silence? None.

 

It was all political ideology. We said here in New York, this is not about politics. The virus never said to me it's a Democrat. The virus never said to me it's a Republican. No test ever said that. Dealing with a virus is a matter of science. It's a matter of fact. That's how you deal with a disease. You don't deal with it politically. And you now see states that have dealt with it politically versus states that have dealt with it on a science, fact-basis. And you see the virus spreading in states that have an unmanaged reopening.

 

"Well," because they always have an excuse. "It's not really increasing. The number of tests are increasing." I don't even know what that means. More testing does not mean the viral spread is increasing. You know how you know that [inaudible] disingenuous? The number of people in those states who are getting sick is increasing. Forget the numbers. More people are walking into hospitals. They're not walking into hospitals because they're feeling well! You walk into a hospital when you're sick. And the number of people who are getting infected and who are getting sick and who are walking into a hospital is going up in these states. Undeniably. And you can go state by state. It's Arizona, it's Texas, it's Florida, it's North Carolina, it's South Carolina, it's Utah, it's Montana, it's Alaska. It's 20 states are on the increase. And then compare that to New York— where we are on the decrease day after day after day. We've been on the decrease for the past 60 days. Two months of decline. They're going up now. How do you explain that? What happened with this virus, what happened with this pandemic— from the get-go— was always going to be dependent on what we did. There was no preordained path. There was no preordained curve. Nobody knew. I spoke to every expert on the globe. Nobody knew. 

 

Second myth— listening to them last night: all the projection models were wrong. 

No, the project models weren't wrong because the projection models were never projection models. The projection models were really extrapolation models. What does that mean? The projection models never said, "this is what's going to happen in New York." The projection model said, "if this is what you do, this is what will happen." It's not really a projection. "If this is what you do, this is what will happen." That's what the models did. If you tell me you are losing one pound per day, they say, I will tell you will lose seven pounds per week. If you tell me you're going to lose two pounds per day, I'll tell you you're going to lose 14 pounds per week. Yeah, thank you. But it's all based on what we said we were going to do.

 

The White House knew this. The White House said it. The White House said it, to the extent the White House let's science speak, ever. They said, "If you mitigate 100 to 240 if you don't 1.5 to 2.2," and then their reopening plans don't provide for mitigation. Well then by your own projection, what did you think was going to happen? That's why the CDC and Dr. Fauci are in such a difficult position because they said without mitigation, you're going to kill a million more people. They said that. And now they're part of a federal government that is telling states, "Just re-open." Just reopen contrary to their own science because they abandoned it. The model that they rely on, which is the Gates-funded by IHME model, last week they projected 169,000 deaths by October, last week. This week the projection changed to 200,000 deaths. Why did the projection change?

 

They'll say on Fox TV- not to pick any particular network, "The model was wrong." The model wasn't wrong. The model is in a model. It's an extrapolation. They're saying by this number of deaths last week which is now increasing, we extrapolate to tell you more people are going to die based on what you did and what you're doing and the rate of death you're causing. Factor that out. Factor out what you are doing. More people are dying because of what you are doing. More people are dying- this is the model the White House relies on. That model says because of what you are doing the number of people who are going to die by October increased 18 percent. 30,000 more people are going to die because of what you're doing. That's what they say to you. And then the question is what do you say America when they tell you thirty thousand more people are going to die because of what you're doing Do you keep doing it do you keep doing it or do you say I don't want 30,000 more people to die. I'm going to change what we do.

 

That's why I say, wake up America. Look at what they're telling you. These are not rhetorical, conceptual, or hyperbolic. They told you based on what you're doing last week 30,000 more people are going to die. This is New York- I want someone to put this up in my eulogy. PowerPoint eulogy. Make a note, you're going to be there. That'd be the first time Rob smiles. I think these were the projections in New York. Gates-funded IHME said 73,000 people would be hospitalized; Columbia said 136,000 people just in New York City- this is Columbia University, right, we're not talking about a mail away matchbook University here. McKinsey 110,000; McKinsey-moderate with mitigation: 55,000. What actually happened? 18,000. They were all wrong?

 

No. We changed what we were doing. We changed what we were doing. What they were saying is, if you keep doing what you're doing and that transmission rate continues, you're going to have- you factor it out, you extrapolate out: 73, 136, 110. That's what's going to happen. We said in New York, that's what's going to happen? Then we're going to change what we do. We're going to change. We don't want that to happen. We don't want those people to die. We change it to 18,000, a fraction, because we changed what we did. You're talking about tens of thousands of lives. Tens of thousands of lives. What are you going to do America?  They're telling you based on what you're doing you're killing more Americans. 30,000 more projection in one week. This is what we did.

 

We changed. We changed what we were doing, and we saved tens of thousands of lives. That's what America should do. There are two different visions that we're talking about. One is based on science and fact. One is based on political ideology and public relations and politics. The results are in, New York, it's working. We're saving lives, the virus is down, the rest of the nation it's going up. At the end of the day New York tough works.

 

Last, last point. I've had the pleasure over the past 108 days to not only speak to the people of New York and all across the country- all across the world. I get emails from people in countries all across the world. I've also been able to talk to the New York press all across the state. They've been there every day, showed up when it was hard, their coverage of this situation will be of course in journalism class one day I believe. It was the most complicated, most stressful, most consequential government issue. They had to do it during a very difficult time. They had to show up when people were afraid to leave their homes. You had to stay with it seven days a week because I refused to take a day off, and all of you had to work. The questions, the dialogue, was as informative to people as my briefing. I actually think the back and forth with the press was in some ways more communicative for people. They all commented on the emails and texts. They'd say, "Boy, that New York press corps they're really nasty. They're tough." Yeah, but you know you were asking the really probative, pointed, direct questions that got information that people needed.

 

So, if you are me it's not always fun to sit up here and take the direct question. You feel a little bit like a pin cushion. But I have tremendous respect for what you did and how you did it, and you did a great public service and it worked. And the government-journalism dynamic, I studied all my life, I lived all my life. My father had a lot of great friends in journalism. And I watched it at the kitchen table, I watched the dynamic work between great journalists and my father was a great government official. And I watch it now with my brother Chris on a different level we don't have to get into. But it worked. It worked here and I want to thank you. I want to applaud the press all across the state. I've been everywhere during this period of time because I wanted to be. From Buffalo to Long Island, and I've been before all the press and you've done a great, great service. And I think it all worked. The totality worked.

 

We had 59 million people tune into the briefings over the past 108 days. 59 million people. We only have 19 million people in the State of New York and that counts everybody. 59 million people. And it was the briefings and it was the dialogue and it was the drama. And we communicated and we gave people information and we gave people comfort and we gave people hope and we gave people a plan and we gave people a vision and we empowered them. I think most of all they got the information they desperately needed so they could make decisions about their own life and their own health and what to do with their kids. They need that desperately, information they could trust, credible information that they could trust, and we did that. And I've been through a lot of challenges in government but I've never been through this before and I hope none of us go through this again. But I just wanted to thank you want a personal level for that. I know it couldn't have been easy for you because it was hell for me - and we all lived together. So you have my deepest respect.

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