June 7, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces Outdoor Graduations of up to 150 People Will Be Allowed Beginning June 26th

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

New York City Has Met All Seven Metrics Required to Begin Phase One of Reopening Starting Tomorrow, June 8th


State is Launching New Focused Testing Strategy in NYC to Closely Monitor Reopening -- Prioritizing 15 Testing Sites Across NYC for Individuals Who Have Participated in Recent Protests


Mid-Hudson Valley on Track to Enter Phase Two of Reopening Tuesday, June 9th, and Long Island on Track to Enter Phase Two of Reopening Wednesday, June 10th


Confirms 781 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 378,097; New Cases in 39 Counties


Governor Cuomo: "We said the reopening is calibrated to the metrics in the data. If that's where we are, that's good news, it means the plan is working, it means that we bent the curve, and on those numbers, we can advance the reopening. Hudson Valley is on track for Phase 2 on Tuesday. Long Island is on track for Phase 2 on Wednesday. We're going to allow socially distanced graduations outdoors with up to 150 people total beginning June 26th. That's when the schools start to graduate, high schools, and it gives us a couple of weeks between now and then."


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced outdoor, socially distanced graduations of up to 150 people will be allowed beginning June 26th, subject to any outbreaks or significant changes in the metrics.


Governor Cuomo also announced that New York City has met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of reopening starting tomorrow, June 8th. New York Forward guidance for phase one reopening can be found here.


The Governor also announced that as New York City enters phase one, the state is launching a new focused testing strategy in the city to closely monitor the reopening. The state is aiming to perform approximately 35,000 tests per day in New York City. Additionally, the state is prioritizing 15 testing sites across the city for individuals who have participated in recent protests. More information on where and how to get tested for COVID-19 is available at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov.


The Governor also announced the Mid-Hudson Valley is on track to enter phase two of reopening Tuesday, June 9th and Long Island is on track to enter phase two of reopening on Wednesday, June 10th following a review of regional data by global public health experts.


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 will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.


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


Good morning, happy Sunday. Budget Director Robert Mujica to my right. Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa to my left. I'm going to speak a little quickly today for some reasons. Number one is because I am a New Yorker and we speak a little quickly. Number two because I promised my daughter Cara I would get home and we would have lunch before she goes to New York City because New York City reopens tomorrow. 


Today is day 99 of the COVID crisis. Day 14 of the unrest after the murder of George Floyd, two separate issues. Two separate issues and we are working on both and we will talk about both of them on the reopening. Tomorrow we are going to have a big day with the reopening of New York City. Also, this week we will be taking up a reform agenda in the wake of the George Floyd murder. We will talk about both. Let me speak about the reform agenda first.


We had continued protest across the state last night. For the most part they were peaceful. The protesters all across the state, all across the nation, are basically saying the same thing. There is an anger, there is a frustration, there is a spirit of activism because people want change, and there should be change. And I said from day one that I figuratively stand with the protesters and this is about making change and action. Remember, "Textbooks say that politicians lead and the people follow. No, it is often the people who lead and the politicians who follow." A.J. Parkinson, more wisdom from A.J. Parkinson. Frederick Douglass, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress." And it is an opportunity for New York State to lead and that's what we do. That's what we did with marriage equality, with minimum wage, with gun safety, with free college tuition, and passing a reform agenda for criminal justice. 50-a, we have talked about, no chokeholds, the Attorney General as a special prosecutor, hate crimes for false 911 reports. 


My opinion is the George Floyd reform agenda and what the protesters are trying to achieve, they should set the bar even higher and they should be bolder and they should demand federal reform. You want to change this country that has to happen on the national level. We are in the midst of the national elections and they should put forth a federal agenda that gets to the root cause of the issues. Yes, criminal justice reform, and we know how to do that. But the core inequality and injustice issues, start with the education system, where you have one education system in this country - one for the rich and one for the poor and everybody knows it. In this state, the most progressive state in the United States, a rich school spends $36,000 per student and the poor schools are $13,000 per student. From birth, and from day one of school, depending on the zip code you live in, depending on the income of your family, is the education you get. It's wrong. It's unfair. It's wrong. That has to happen at a federal level. How do you still have children growing up in poverty in this country, the richest country on the globe? It has to change. It can change. Look at the money the government found when they had to battle COVID. You can be creative when you have to - get creative about children living in poverty. And you need a real affordable housing agenda. The federal government, historically, constitutionally, by law provided affordable housing. The Housing Act said safe, clean, decent housing for every American. That was the 1949 Housing Act, paraphrased. The federal government went out of the business, states and locals were supposed to make up. You can't. You had a bevy of federal housing programs, Section 8 programs, voucher programs, building new public housing. If you want to make change in this moment, go to the court issue that is driving the injustice and the equality and get it done. You have this energy and the momentum and now is the time.


In terms of reopening, we have been doing it based on the data and the facts. The number of hospitalizations are down and the number of deaths are up slightly. But overall, the trajectory is down and today is Sunday, and the Sunday numbers tend to be statistically -- there is a variation with the rest of the week. But overall, the numbers are down and the numbers are good. Number of lives lost continues to drop.


We are now doing a tremendous number of tests. As I said, testing is the best mechanism to get a snapshot, right. Where are we today? You test today, and you find out where you are today, right. What is my weight today? You get on a scale and it gets you a number, that's where you are today. We do more testing than any state in the United States. We do more testing than any country per capita on the globe. So, we have the clearest definition of a snapshot. Yesterday, 60,000 tests performed in the State of New York, Saturday. 781 positive tests. Lowest since March 16, okay, which was before we even closed down. About 1 percent positive. That's where we are today. That is very, very good news, okay?


And we said the reopening is calibrated to the metrics in the data. If that's where we are, that's good news, it means the plan is working, it means that we bent the curve, and on those numbers, we can advance the reopening. Hudson Valley is on track for Phase 2 on Tuesday. Long Island is on track for Phase 2 on Wednesday. We're going to allow socially distanced graduations outdoors with up to 150 people total beginning June 26th. That's when the schools start to graduate, high schools, and it gives us a couple of weeks between now and then, God forbid the number changes. But, schools need to plan with the progress we've made so far, and if we continue this trajectory, we'll be able to do that. But again, we have a little time to see between now and then. In terms of New York City, New York city has met all the metrics. We are going to open New York City for Phase 1 tomorrow, period. That will happen. When we begin Phase 1 in New York City, remember that New York City had the highest number of cases. New York City has the highest density. New York City has also been the location for the protests with the most number of people. We are concerned that those protests may have increased the spread of the virus. We are going to do 35,000 tests per day, just in New York City. Snapshot, snapshot, snapshot. We will watch it on a daily basis to find out exactly what is happening.


Remember there was a lag on the infection rate. If you were to protest several days ago, it probably would not show up but when you get through about seven days, you will start to see a pop in the number if those protests actually increased to the spread. We are going to increase the number of testing sites in New York and I am going to ask, again, if you were at a protest, I understand your point and I'm with you. We also have this situation with the coronavirus. Act responsibly. Get a test. Get a test. We are going to open 15 sites that are dedicated just to protesters to get a test so you can get it on an expeditious basis. But please get a test. My opinion and not a fact - I would act as if you were exposed and I would tell people who I'm interacting with, assume I am positive for the virus because you could be infecting other people. But please get that test. That is the one variable in this equation that we are not sure of. We have tested everything else. We have measured everything else and everything was going fine and then we had this large number of protests. We don't know what the effect of those protests are and we are concerned about it. All of the health experts I have spoken to are concerned about it. So while we are waiting to see if there is any result get a test in the meantime.


But New Yorkers have bent the curve by being smart and there are always voices out there who say, everything is fine, I can't see the virus. A person said that to me on the street, "Look around, do you see the virus?" Yeah, no. You're not going to see the virus, but you have these voices that say everything is fine, disobey the rules, just open. Look, there are still facts in life. Everybody can have an opinion and then there are still facts. I believe my ideology is government doesn't have a right to tell me to do this. I understand your ideology. Let's look at facts. Look at what is happening around the country. Look at the facts after countries and states reopen and look at what is happening with their curve. 


Arizona is seeing an increase in their numbers. South Carolina, new record with more than 500 in a single day. Hot spots across the South and in California as Northeast slows - that's us. California posted highest number of new coronavirus cases on Thursday. Florida 1,000 for the fourth day in a row. U.S. 1.8 million spread rises with turmoil. These are facts. This can happen. This can happen. We know it can happen because it happened here. We've made all this progress. Please, please - I know it's been 90 days - please, stay disciplined, stay smart because it is working. We've come a long way and a lot of people have suffered to get here and a lot of people have died. Let's not be foolish now. 


Again, look at what we did. Flatten the curve - forget flatten the curve. I'm going to change the state signs. We bent the curve. We bent the curve. We intended to flatten to get to a plateau, we bent it. Look at the rest of the country. We are curve benders - if there is such a thing. New Yorkers should be proud of their accomplishment. In light of that, we are going to light the landmarks across the state in blue and gold in honor of our New Yorkers, our New York Tough New Yorkers. This is going to be in Manhattan, which is very cool. New York Tough. The Mario Cuomo Bridge, the education building, that's the Corning Tower in the left. These will be the landmarks that will be lit blue and gold to celebrate our accomplishment, because it was an extraordinary accomplishment, because we are New York tough, smart, united, disciplined and loving.

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