State is Banning Late Payments or Fees for missed Rent Payments During Eviction Moratorium and Allowing Renters Facing Financial Hardship to Use Security Deposit as Payment
$25 Million Nourish New York Initiative Has Helped Nearly 50 Food Banks, More Than 2,100 New York Farms and More Than 20,000 Households Across the State
Results of State's Antibody Testing Survey of Health Care Workers Show Infection Rate Among Health Care Workers is About the Same or Lower Than General Population
Confirms 3,491 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 327,469; New Cases in 47 Counties
Governor Cuomo: "People literally are worried about being able to pay rent. You don't work for two months and that rent bill keeps coming in. You know it's not that the bill payers, the bill collectors have taken a vacation, bill collectors work right, they still send the bill and you still get collection notices. We did by executive order that I issued a moratorium on residential or commercial evictions, you cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent related to this COVID situation and that went through June. So, nobody has been and nobody can be evicted through June, either residential or commercial."
Cuomo: "We're going to take additional steps of banning any late payment fees because a person couldn't pay the rent during this period of time. Also, allowing people to use the security deposit as a payment and they can repay it over a prolonged period of time. But also I'm going to extend that moratorium an additional 60 days. It has an expired in June, but people are anxious and June for many people is just next month and the rent bill is going to come due. So, we're going to extend that 60 days until August 20. So, no one can be evicted for nonpayment of rent, residents or commercial because of COVID until August 20."
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state's moratorium on COVID-related residential or commercial evictions will be extended for an additional 60 days until August 20th. The Governor also announced the state is banning late payments or fees for missed rent payments during the eviction moratorium, and allowing renters facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to use their security deposit as payment and repay their security deposit over time.
Governor Cuomo also announced the state's $25 million Nourish New York Initiative has purchased food and products from more than 2,100 New York farms and provided support to nearly 50 food banks, soup kitchens and food pantries to date. Within the next week, more than 20,000 households across the state will receive Nourish New York products. First announced by the Governor on April 27th, the Nourish New York Initiative provides relief by purchasing food and products from Upstate farms and directs them to the populations who need them most through New York's network of food banks. The state is also asking any philanthropies or foundations that would like to help the state's food banks to contact [email protected].
The Governor also announced the results of state's antibody testing survey of health care workers. The survey tested approximately 27,000 employees from 25 downstate health care facilities and found that the infection rate among health care workers is about the same or lower than the infection rate of the general population.
- 6.8 percent of health care workers in Westchester County tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, compared to 13.8 percent of the general population in Westchester County
- 12.2 percent of health care workers in New York City tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, compared to 19.9 percent of the general population in New York City
- 11.1 percent of health care workers on Long Island tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, compared to 11.4 percent of the general population on Long Island
AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.
PHOTOS will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Good morning, pleasure to be here. Thank you all for being here - appropriately socially distanced I see. It is a pleasure to be at the New York Medical College today. Thank you, Dr. Kadish for having us. Westchester County, great County Executive George Latimer. Also home to our great Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
And it is a beautiful day. It is so beautiful. I am going to go home after this, take the motorcycle out, and go for a ride. I'm going to wear my mask on the motorcycle, protects from COVID virus, also keeps bugs out of your mouth - works on both fronts. It is time of high anxiety. I understand that, a lot of pressure all across the country. But even more at times of high anxiety, it's important that we stay with the facts and the truth. John Adams, was defending the British at a time when the American people hated the British, "Facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." Lincoln, big believer in the American people always, "Let them know the truth and the country is safe." I love Lincoln and the wisdom and the economy of his language. Let them know the truth and the country is safe.
Here are the facts where we are right now. 8,600 total hospitalizations, that number is down. That is good news and it's a fairly significant drop. So, that is good news. The net change in hospitalizations you see is also down. That's good news. Intubations is down. That's good news. The three-day rolling average of hospitalizations is also down. You see, you see the curve, you see the outline of what we went through, you see how fast it went up. Reminds you how fast the infection rate can spread. Look at how fast those numbers went up. And you see how once those numbers are up, how slow, how long it takes to get them down, right? We are on the down side of the mountain. Down side of the mountain is a much more gentle slope then what we went through going up the mountain. We wish it was a steeper decline but it's not. This is the worst number every day is the number of deaths, 231. And you can see how slow that has come down and how painfully high it still is. This is a chart of the number of lives lost. And again, you can see how fast that infection took off and how many lives we lost. And once that infection rate is high and people are getting infected, you can see how long it takes to slow it down and reduce the number of deaths. And they're coming down at painful, slow level of decline.
The top priority for us, one of the top priorities for us, has been protecting our frontline and our essential workers. You have to remember what happened here. It all happened so fast that it's almost hard to gain perspective on it. But the frontline workers, they showed up and went to work and put their lives in danger so everyone else could stay home. I laid out the facts as Lincoln said to the people of this state, laid out how dangerous this virus was, advocated in argued based on those facts that we needed to close down, close down schools, close down businesses, stayed home. People did that. In the next breath I said and by the way we need you essential workers to go to work tomorrow after just having explained how dangerous the virus was to justify shutting down society in a way that had never been shut down before. Next a breath, essential workers, I need you to go to work. Hospital care, I need you to go to work and help people who come in with the COVID virus after we just discussed how dangerous the COVID virus was and how little we knew about the virus.
Look at the courage that those frontline workers had to show. I mean it is still amazing to me and I just want to make sure on a human level we're doing everything that we can for them. So we've been aggressively testing the frontline workers to find out who needs help, how many people actually have been infected and we've been working with the police and transit workers and health care workers.
We tested 25 downstate health care facilities. Downstate New York is where the predominance of the virus was, over 27,000 employees, so it's it a very large sample. What we found out is really good news and one of the few positives that I've heard in a long time. When you look at the percentage of people who have the antibodies - which means they were infected at sometime in the past and they're now recovered - of the health care workers, in Westchester, 6.8, New York City 12.2, Long Island 11.1. That is about the same or lower than the infection rate among the general population. So Westchester, the infection rate among the general population is 13.8, almost 14. Westchester health care workers it's about half of the rate of the general population. I mean that is amazingly good news. We were afraid of what was going to happen and the health care workers actually are at about the same or lower than the general population in that area.
So that makes two points to me. Number one, our health care workers must be protected. They must have the PPE. We've been saying that all along. There was a mad scramble this last time to get the PPE. Internationally it was a mad scramble for all of us. That can never happen again. We have to have the PPE. We have to have the stockpiles. We did an order that said every hospital has to happen 90-day supply of PPE at the COVID rate of usage so we'll never go through this again but it also shows everybody how important the masks and the gloves and the sanitizer are and that they work. You know, it's not that the frontline workers get anything especially more sophisticated than the masks that people wear, the N95 masks. You know, they wear a gown, they wear a mask, they wear gloves, but they follow protocol and those masks work. They work. If they're working for front-line workers, they're going to work for people in their day to day lives and the precautions of gloves and sanitizing, they work.
Also, during this time it's important that we protect New Yorkers who are facing financial hardships. You have people who live paycheck to paycheck. The majority of people in this state live paycheck to paycheck. All the sudden the paycheck stops. Federal government issued a one-time payment of $600 unemployment benefits, but it's not making up the gap for many, many families. And they are struggling and we want to make sure we're doing everything we can. We have a problem in upstate New York where many of the farms can't sell their product. You had a lot of farms that were literally just dumping milk that the dairy farms had produced. But at the same time, you have people in downstate New York who are going hungry and can't buy, can't pay for enough food. Tremendous demand on food banks, so we've been putting the two together. It makes no sense to have upstate farmers who can't sell their product and downstate families that can't get enough to eat. So, we have been funding efforts to connect the farmers to the downstate food banks and we've done that with about $25 million to what we call our Nourish New York initiative. And that has worked, we're funding about 50 food banks that have 2,100 farms that are delivering food to those food banks. And about 20,000 households in the state are participating in that. The volume of food and product that is not being wasted that is supporting upstate farms and helping downstate families is tremendous. We want to continue doing that. The state budget is very, very tight right now with what's going on with the economy. So, philanthropies, foundations, there are a lot of people who want to help. This is a great cause and I would suggest that they help, so we can do even more.
People literally are worried about being able to pay rent. You don't work for two months and that rent bill keeps coming in. You know it's not that the bill payers, the bill collectors have taken a vacation, bill collectors work right, they still send the bill and you still get collection notices. We did by executive order that I issued a moratorium on residential or commercial evictions, you cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent related to this COVID situation and that went through June. So, nobody has been and nobody can be evicted through June, either residential or commercial.
We're going to take additional steps of banning any late payment fees because a person couldn't pay the rent during this period of time. Also, allowing people to use the security deposit as a payment and they can repay it over a prolonged period of time. But also I'm going to extend that moratorium an additional 60 days. It has an expired in June, but people are anxious and June for many people is just next month and the rent bill is going to come due. So, we're going to extend that 60 days until August 20. So, no one can be evicted for nonpayment of rent, residents or commercial because of COVID until August 20. Then, we'll see what happens between now and then. Nobody can really tell you what the future is so that will be in place. I hope it gives families a deep breath. Nothing can happen until August 20 and then we'll figure out between now and August 20 what the situation is.
Also, at this time, principles matter. I understand the anxiety. I understand the stress, but let's remember who we are what we're all about and what principles matter to us. People are talking about reopening the economy, it's more important than public health or public health is more important than the economy and that's the underlying argument in the discussion that you're hearing going on right now. To me, it's never been a question of whether or not we reopen. It's not reopen or not reopen, you have to reopen, you don't have a choice. It's how you reopen. it's how you reopen. To say well, we either have to have a strong economy or protect public health, no that's a false choice.
It's not one or the other, it's both. We have to reopen, get the economy running and we have to protect public health. This is not a situation where you can go to the American people and say, "how many lives are you willing to lose to reopen the economy?" We don't want to lose any lives. You start to hear these what are, to me, absurd arguments. Well yes, if we reopen people will die, but people were going to die anyway. Look, we are all going to die at one point the big question is when or how. The when and how matters. I understand that I am going to die. I just don't want to die now or next week and I don't want to die because I contracted the COVID virus unnecessarily. So, people are going to die. Yes, we are all going to die. That is not a justification in my mind.
it would be a novel defense. Person before a judge, charged with murder. Did you have a gun? Yes. Did you fire the gun? Yes. Did you shoot the person? Yes. Did the person die? Yes, but the person was going to die anyway. Yeah, I know, but it was the gun that killed the person and the bullet and you fired the gun. To go down this road - well, there are old people who will die. Predominantly, on the numbers. By the way, old - how do you define old - not that old is a justification, but we looked at the numbers yesterday the number of new cases coming in to hospitals. Fifty-one-years-old is where the increase starts, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80 is the highest. But 51-60, so 51 is not really old. I know that it's all relative and since I am beyond that 51, it's easy for me to say. But I don't really see 51 as old when we start talking about the old people.
I also think, and I do this for myself, any leader who makes a decision in this situation should be willing to participate in anything they authorize. So there is nothing that we are going to authorize or allow in this state that I, myself, will not be part of. You know, it's too easy to say, "Okay, you can go do this, but I'm going to protect myself and I'm going to stay behind the glass wall." No. If all human life has the same value, if I say something is safe for New Yorkers then I will participate in it because if it's safe for you, it's safe for me, right? That should be our standard going forward.
What we've been doing in New York is look - make the decisions based on facts and data not emotion and politics. I understand the emotion and I understand the anxiety and the stress. I understand politics a little bit. But, that's not the basis for making a decision. Every leader has told us that in different ways. That was John Adams, that was Lincoln, that was FDR, that was Teddy Roosevelt. When my team comes to me and says, "Oh boy, we had a new prison break. There's a flood coming. There's a hurricane. Ebola virus and the air is on fire." Slow down, deep breath. Let's look at the facts, let's understand the situation, and let's take action based on the facts. That is the way to lead, that's the way, I believe, to lead one's life.
Here we have a lot of information. We have a lot of facts. We know the hospitalization rate, we know the infection rate, we know the number of deaths, we're taking antibody tests, we're taking diagnostic tests, we're doing tracing. Make your decisions based on the facts and the data. It sounds simple and basic, but it's more important now than ever before.
And it is working for us. It is working. That's not just me saying that because I'm the governor. You look at what's happening in New York and look at what's happening in the rest of the nation. In New York, the number is coming down. It's coming down dramatically. You take New York out of the rest of the nation's numbers - the rest of the nation is going up and we're coming down.
So, what we're doing is working and when it's working, stay the course. Quote attributed to Winston Churchill, "If you're going through hell, keep going." And that's what we're doing. We're going through hell, but what we're doing is working so we're going to keep going. Because we are New York tough, smart, disciplined, united, and loving.