May 16, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Announces Horse Racing Tracks Statewide and Watkins Glen International Racetrack Will be Allowed to Open Without Fans as of June 1st

TOP Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript:...

Westchester and Suffolk Counties are Now Eligible to Resume Elective Surgeries and Ambulatory Care

 

Calls on U.S. Senate to Pass Coronavirus Relief Bill

 

Confirms 2,419 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 348,232; New Cases in 52 Counties

 

Governor Cuomo: "What can you do, or what economic activity is willing to reopen without a crowd, right? They're talking about this in terms of sports. You're going to have baseball without a crowd but it can still be televised - great. If you can have economic activity without a crowd, that's great. We can do that in this state with horseracing tracks, and we're going to do that. There will be guidelines for the actual participants, but no crowds, no fans. But for the industry itself, for the televised viewers, that can still work. That is also true with Watkins Glen, that can operate and there's a big viewership for Watkins Glen."

 

Cuomo: "Let's put the politics aside. If there's ever a moment in this government, in this country, where it's not about politics, this is the moment. For Senators to be talking about I'm not going to bail out blue states because the blue states have more coronavirus cases, shame on you. Shame on you to look at the death toll in this nation and say I want to count how many people passed away by their political party and I'm more interested in states where Republicans live than where Democrats live. We're not Democrats and Republicans, we are Americans. That's what comes first and in a time of crisis we've always been Americans."

WYSIWYG

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced horse racing tracks across the state and Watkins Glen International Racetrack will be allowed to open without fans as of June 1st. The state will issue guidance on how they can open safely reopen in the coming week.

 

Governor Cuomo also announced Westchester and Suffolk Counties are now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care. The Governor previously announced that the state will allow elective outpatient treatments to resume in counties and hospitals without significant risk of COVID-19 surge in the near term, and a total of 49 counties can now resume elective surgeries:

 

Albany

Herkimer

Rensselaer

Allegany

Jefferson

Saratoga

Broome

Lewis

Schenectady

Cattaraugus

Livingston

Schoharie

Cayuga

Madison

Schuyler

Chautauqua

Monroe

St. Lawrence

Chemung

Montgomery

Steuben

Chenango

Niagara

Suffolk

Clinton

Oneida

Sullivan

Columbia

Onondaga

Tompkins

Cortland

Ontario

Ulster

Delaware

Orange

Warren

Dutchess

Orleans

Wayne

Essex

Oswego

Westchester

Franklin

Otsego

Wyoming

Fulton

Putnam

Yates

Genesee

 

 

 

The Governor also called on the U.S. Senate to pass the coronavirus relief bill that was passed by the House last night. The bill includes $500 billion for states and $375 billion for locals; Medicaid funding for the most vulnerable; increased SNAP food assistance; 100 percent FEMA federal assistance; funding for testing; and repeals SALT to help states most affected by COVID-19.

 

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:

 

Morning. Happy Saturday. Saturday crew is here, light crew, short stick crew. Let me give you the facts, everybody knows everyone here. From my far right, Dr. Malatras, Dr. Zucker. To my left, Melissa DeRosa, secretary, secretary Ms. Melissa DeRosa. To her left, budget director Rob Mujica. Today is Saturday. I know it'sSaturday because I don't wear a tie on Saturday. That's how I know it's Saturday. It's a little convoluted reasoning, but it's not the first time.

 

The total number of hospitalizations are down, again. It's interesting to look at the curve, how fast we went up, and how relatively slow the decline has been. That shows you the problem of having a spike, spike happens quickly, but resolves slowly. Net change in hospitalizations is down, net change in intubations is down, number of new cases per day is also down, 400, which sounds like a large number, but this is on a statewide population of 19 million, 50,000 hospital beds. The number of lives lost, 157. That number has been stubborn. You can see May 10th it was 161, and these are, for all basically in the margin of error, if you will. This system is not that precise. I believe when they actually go back, weeks from now, and calculate the total number of deaths, at-home deaths, et cetera, you'll see a variation in this number. Again, we're right about where we were when we started. We just want to make sure we don't go back to the hell that we've gone through.

 

And when we talk about reopening, that's a discussion. We have half the state now, in terms of regions, which is now in the process of reopening. We have a dashboard that tells people where their region is, what's going on, what the hospital rates are doing, what the infection rates are doing, so everyone has information to inform themselves and to have conversations with their local government. We have a smart, phased reopening plan that has been reviewed by great experts in the field, and we feel very good about that. We're getting a little more nuanced in our analysis, looking for economic activities that you can start without crowds and without gatherings. Remember, the problem here are crowds and gatherings. So, what can you do, or what economic activity is willing to reopen without a crowd, right? They're talking about this in terms of sports. You're going to have baseball without a crowd but it can still be televised - great. If you can have economic activity without a crowd, that's great.

 

We can do that in this state with horseracing tracks, and we're going to do that. There will be guidelines for the actual participants, but no crowds, no fans. But for the industry itself, for the televised viewers, that can still work. That is also true with Watkins Glen, that can operate and there's a big viewership for Watkins Glen. I may take my car to Watkins Glen. I've done it before.

 

Update on elective surgeries, we're going to open Westchester and Suffolk counties for elective surgeries and ambulatory care. We want to make sure people who need medical services are getting medical services. There was a period where hospitals were basically dealing with COVID patients. We are past that period. If you need medical attention, if you need a medical procedure, you should get it, right? And the hospitals are safe places to go. To the extent people are worried about going to a hospital, there is no reason. The caveat is always, as we reopen, this is a new phase. This is an unknown phase. Nobody can tell you exactly what happens because nobody has been here before. That's stone to stone across the morass, take a step that you know is a firm step and watch and see what happens.

 

What happens depends on what we do. That's why this has been such a unique situation, not for government, but for society. What will happen? Well tell me what you're going to do and I will tell you what will happen. Well, how can that be? Because you're in control of what happens. How you act will determine what happens to you, literally. Will I get infected? It depends on what you do. Will we have a higher infection rate? It defense on what we do. You increase economic activity, we expect to see an increase in numbers. We don't want to see a spike. "Well, will there be a spike?"

 

It depends on how people react and it depends on their personal behavior. Are they wearing masks? Are they using hand sanitizer? It's getting warmer. There's going to be a natural increase in activity anyway. People are going to come out of their homes. They've been there for a long time, the weather is warmer, they'regoing to come out. How do they act when they come out? That is the big question mark. Have the reopening with all those question marks? I sit there and have the conversation with experts, "What's going to happen? What's going to happen?" They say, "You tell me how people react and I'll tell you what's going to happen." But I don't know how people are going to react. Well, then I can't tell you what's going to happen. 

 

So, if people are smart, then yes, you will see some increase in the numbers, but you won't see a spike. You've seen spikes in other countries that have opened. You've seen spikes in states that have opened. We have an intelligent, and I believe the most intelligent system, but it is still reliant on what we do. It is reliant on human behavior, so be smart and be diligent, and don't under estimate this virus.

 

Local governments will do their part. I've spoken to all the local government officials.  They're going to be doing compliance. They're be doing compliance on businesses that are opening. They have to follow the protocols. They're going to be doing compliance on enforcement, wearing the masks, etcetera, but still it's going to come down to what individuals do.

 

The only other big question mark on where we go longer term is what the federal government does. We have a significant economic problem in this state. It's the collective of all the individual economic problems. When you add up the collective,it's $61 billion to the state of New York. "Well, we don't really care about the state budget. That has nothing to do with me." I know that's what you may say, but it's actually not correct. The state budget is very relevant to you, because what the state budget funds, we don't do space exploration in the state. We fund schools, we fund hospitals, and we fund local governments. That's the state budget. A lot of words, but it funds schools, it funds hospitals, and it funds local governments. Local governments fund police, fire, all the heroes that we talk about. Hospitals, that's nurses, that's doctors, that's emergency room staff.

 

The house passed a bill yesterday, which is a smart bill which finally provides funding for state and local governments.

 

The House the bill yesterday, which is a smart bill, which finally provides funding for state and local governments. They funded businesses, they funded millionaires, they funded corporations, who did they forget? They forgot the police, the firefighters, the working Americans. What a shock, right?

 

The House bill also has Medicaid funding. It increases food assistance. 100% federal reimbursement for FEMA costs. Funding for testing which is so important. Everyone says testing, testing, testing. Fine, we'll get it up and running, but we need funding. It repeals the SALT tax penalty to the state of New York. 14 billion dollars. 14 billion dollars which was a theft in the first place.

 

After the House passes a bill, it goes to the Senate. That's where the bill is now. To the Senate, they should respond quickly. I understand from their point of view, they say well we funded businesses, we funded millionaires. Yeah, good, that's nice. How about working Americans? That's what the Senate should think about. How do you actually help the American people? My two cents, they shouldn't delay. They shouldn't be captive of special interests. I don't care who gave you money to run for office, you still work for the people.

 

No corporate bailouts. Don't bailout corporations and then have them turn around and lay off American workers. Don't let them use government money to subsidize employee layoffs. Don't do that, that would betray the trust of the American people. That's what happened in the 2008 bailouts. They bailed out the banks and the banks turned around and gave each other bonuses. I was Attorney General. I brought actions against AIG. I brought actions against banks like the Bank of America who took taxpayer money and then gave themselves a raise. Don't give corporations money so they can then lay off workers in their restructuring to get lean. Then the American taxpayer is going to have to pay for the people who are laid off. I'm afraid if this isn't raised sooner rather than later that's exactly what these corporations are going to do.

 

Let's put the politics aside. If there's ever a moment in this government, in this country, where it's not about politics, this is the moment. For Senators to be talking about I'm not going to bail out blue states because the blue states have more coronavirus cases, shame on you. Shame on you to look at the death toll in this nation and say I want to count how many people passed away by their political party and I'm more interested in states where Republicans live than where Democrats live. We're not Democrats and Republicans, we are Americans. That's what comes first and in a time of crisis we've always been Americans. The great leaders, Democrats and Republicans have always said that. Go back and look at the great Republicans, go back and look at the great Democrats and see how they operated and try to be great in this moment, Senator and Congressperson.

 

If you don't want to look at former politicians, go back back to the Good Book which said the same thing that the great politicians said. I wonder where they got itfrom? They got it from the Good Book. Everybody says they read the Good Book, Mark 3:25. "If the house is divided against itself, the house cannot stand." Read the Good Book and do what's right for the American people and let's be together, tough, smart, united, disciplined and loving.

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Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office