June 16, 2020
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Announces U.S. Open to Be Held Without Fans from August 31st to September 13th

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

Announces Hospitals and Group Homes Now Allowed To Accept Visitors


Global Public Health Experts Have Cleared Capital Region to Enter Phase Three Tomorrow


Results of Statewide Antibody Testing Study Show 13.4 Percent of the Population Have COVID-19 Antibodies


State Has Conducted More Than Three Million COVID-19 Tests to Date


Only 1.05 Percent of Yesterday's COVID-19 Tests were Positive


Confirms 631 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 384,575; New Cases in 38 Counties


Governor Cuomo: "We're excited about the US Open - is going to be held in Queens August 31 to September 13. It will be held without fans but we can watch it on TV and I'll take that. The tennis authority is going to be taking extraordinary precautions but that's going to occur in Queens."


Governor Cuomo: "What does it tell us in New York? Stay the course. We were right. We have the lowest rate of transmission. The phase reopening is working; stay the course. Stay the course means, you have to stay smart and you have to stay responsible and we all have to stay responsible. We're going to Phase 3 in the Capital Region: employers be smart; storeowners be smart; employees be smart; individuals be smart; local governments be smart and do your job. And to everyone, stay smart because smart works."


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the U.S. Open will be held in Queens without fans from August 31st to September 13th. The USTA will take extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff, including robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space and dedicated housing and transportation.

Governor Cuomo also announced that hospitals and group homes will be allowed to accept visitors at their discretion. Any facility that chooses to allow visitors must follow state guidelines, including time-limited visits and requiring visitors to wear PPE and be subject to symptom and temperature checks. The hospital visitation program expands on a pilot program that was launched in May, which demonstrated that hospitals could provide safe visitation for patients and families. Hospitals statewide will now be able to provide visitation. Group homes certified by the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities will be allowed to accept visitors beginning Friday provided they adhere to state guidance and certify compliance to OPWDD prior to commencing visitation. The prohibition on nursing home visitors remains in place as the state Department of Health continues to review.

The Governor announced global public health experts have cleared the Capital Region to enter Phase Three tomorrow, June 17th. Business guidance for phase three 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 below:

Good morning. Beautiful day in Albany. Good news today. Good news on the numbers. Good news on the facts. Today is day 108 since the coronavirus crisis started. Those of you who are counting, day 23 since the civil unrest caused by Mr. Floyd's murder. We have two different situations that are going on. We're handling both separately. There's obviously a convergence at one point. 

New York, we pride ourselves on being the progressive capital. Progressive capital means in action, not just in words, not in rhetoric, but actually in results. I'm very excited about the New York State Police reform and reinvention collaborative. What this will do is take all the concerns that are out there and have local governments sit down at the table, bring the police department in, bring the community members in, and design the police department that they want for their community. 

All the questions that you hear being raised: What should the police do? What are the right functions for the police? What should the budget be for the police? What should the staffing be for the police? What should the use of force policy be? Defund the police - how much is the appropriate amount to spend on police? These are all questions that you have to sit down and figure out and decide together. That's why the word collaborative.


Why does this have to be done? It has to be done because the relationship is frayed. All these protests, what does that say? It says the relationship is frayed. Well it shouldn't be, but it is. This is a relationship between the police and the community. When one party to a relationship says the relationship isn't working, then it's not working. By definition, it's not working. When one party says it doesn't work, it doesn't work. It doesn't help to say, well I don't know why you say the relationship isn't working. I don't know why you say there's no trust. There's no respect in the relationship. If one party to the relationship says it doesn't work, then it doesn't work. That's life.


The relationship between the police and the community isn't working. Why? Because the community says it isn't working. A lot of the police say it's not working. It is about respect and it is about trust. That has to be restored and it's not going to be restored until everyone comes to the table and decides a way forward. There is no one size fits all. I'm not going to tell local police departments across the state, we have 500 - I'm not going to tell 500 local communities what they should do. They should do whatever they need to do to restore that relationship and have a police department that the community supports. Otherwise, it's not going to work.


That is the real work of reform. Protest, we're unhappy, I'm articulating it. I'm expressing it. Second step is action, is change and addressing those concerns. That has to be done. We set a deadline for it in New York. It has to be done by April 1. There are 289 days and counting for communities to go through that process. Reverend Sharpton talked about demonstration, legislation, reconciliation. Demonstration, legislation is making the change and then reconciliation. We have 289 days to do the legislation on a local and once you have the legislation and you have a relationship that works for both parties, then you can have reconciliation. This has to be done and it has to be done community by community. This is the hard work of leadership in government.


On the reopening— New York's path forward is dictated by the facts. We've said that since day one. There's no political theory here. We're dealing with a virus. The virus doesn't understand Democratic politics, Republican politics. It's a virus. It's a public health issue. It deals with facts and that's what we've been using to decide what we do from day-to-day. 


The facts in New York are very, very good and I am so proud of what the people in this state have done. At this point with the phased re-openings— we look at the testing on a daily basis because we're making decisions on a daily basis. And you see the past five days— New York City was 1.2 yesterday. When we started opening New York City: 1.5, 1.7, 1.4, 1.3, 1.2. So, the number hasn't gone up. If anything, it's relatively constant. You see these little ups and downs. That's basically true all across the board. You see little fluctuations, but nothing concerning.


We have the lowest number of hospitalizations since we started. Amen. And we have the lowest number of deaths since we started; once again, the same number as yesterday, but on the three-day average— we are at a new low. You want to talk about congratulations and something to celebrate— that is something to celebrate. And we're basically at a number that is so low, it may even be statistically questionable because when you get down to 24— you're talking about literally how doctors decide a cause of death— in some situations— that may have multiple reasons behind it.


So, we went up the mountain, we came down the mountain. That is the configuration of the mountain that we climbed together. The highest mountain. And we did it with a smart reopening. We have done over 3 million tests now in the State of New York— more tests than any other state; more tests than any country per capita. We do two types of tests: we do diagnostic tests, which are positive or negative today. And we do antibody tests, which are— have you had the virus at any point?


We just did another sample on antibody tests. 12,000 test sample, which is a very large sample— right? All across the state to find out where we've been. 12,000 starting 5/1-6/13. So about six weeks, we did 12,000 samples to see where we are today versus where we were six weeks ago. Overall, the number in the state has gone up about a point. Positive. Last time we did the survey was 12.3 statewide—it's now 13.4. So statewide, we've gone up a point. New York City has gone up about 1.6 percent. Long Island has gone up 2.7 percent. Hudson Valley, basically flat. Mohawk Valley has gone up 2.8 percent. Western New York— down 2.8 percent. These numbers are telling and are significant because we watch the numbers. We watch the numbers on a day-to-day basis, but we watch them geographically also. And these are numbers that local communities should pay heed to.


New York City— it's not good to see the number going up, but it's manageable. Long Island— we have to watch. Mohawk Valley— we have to watch. And congratulations Western NY and the other areas that have actually declined. When you look at the increases by race— you see the African American number is higher, Latino number is higher. And that's something we've been talking about. You further snapshot, New York City, you can see the same basic factors and patterns in the numbers borough by borough. Bronx is up. Staten Island is down. Brooklyn is up a little bit. Queens is up a little bit. With these numbers, again the numbers look very good statewide. They look very good for the regions, some areas better than others, but there's always been a variance from region to region.


We're going to allow hospitals to accept visitors at their discretion. This was always a balance of public health versus the personal relationships and people who are in hospitals who desperately want to see loved ones and loved ones who want to see people in hospitals. But we're going to allow hospitals to start accepting visitors at their discretion pursuant to State guidelines that have limited visits, PPE, temperature checks, et cetera. Obviously we need to be careful but we'll allow visitors in hospitals. Same thing with group homes. This Friday the group homes can allow visitors. It is up to the discretion of the group home. They have to tell the State if they're allowing visitors and again they have to follow State guidelines, masks, et cetera.


We've reviewed the capital region data and we're going to go to Phase 3 tomorrow in the Capital Region so we're excited about that.


We're excited about the US Open - is going to be held in Queens August 31 to September 13. It will be held without fans but we can watch it on TV and I'll take that. The tennis authority is going to be taking extraordinary precautions but that's going to occur in Queens. Again, it will be televised but no fans there.


There are two theories on the reopening when we started and they were just theories and nobody knew. One theory was we should reopen immediately. This was all overstated, there was nothing to worry about, just reopen and reopen now. That was a theory and there were political overtones to the theory. There was a second theory which said you can't reopen right away. You'll increase the spread of the virus. You should phase the reopening and you should follow the data and the facts on the spread of the virus on reopening.


Those were two very different theories and we had political debates about those two theories and we had competing demonstrations right here in front of the Capitol and there would be one group that said reopen and you guys would ask questions, well they say reopen, why don't you reopen, don't you think they're right, and the next day the other group would come, don't reopen immediately, have a phased opening, and then you'd say, well why don't you do a phased reopening, aren't they right. But they were two very different theories and different states did different things and different elected officials took different postures and argued two different postures.


I said I think the phased opening makes more sense. That was my position and I said it wasn't a political theory. It was a science-based theory because we're dealing with a virus. But we had a political debate. Nobody knew who was right. Nobody knew who was wrong. Well, now you know. Why? Because you tested the theory. You went into a laboratory and you tested it and some places opened with very little control and some places opened on a phased reopening that was driven by the data. So now we actually know what happened. Now we don't have to say, well maybe, maybe, maybe. Now you can just look at the numbers and the numbers say and the results say that it has been better for public health and better for the economy when you have a phased reopening and you follow the metrics.


As we sit here today, 21 states are seeing an increase. As we sit here. Why? They reopened quickly. They did not have the same phases; they did not have the same controls. They are seeing the number of cases go up. That is a fact. What then happens is, there are articles about how the virus is increasing, the cases are increasing and that destabilizes the market and then the market actually responds in the negative. And that actually hurts the economy. From a public health point-of-view, the number of projected deaths because of these re-openings and the spike in the virus have increased dramatically. The projections by these scientific groups- they changed the projections based on the spread of the virus. So ask yourself, "how much have the projections changed since they have the data on the virus spreading."


IHME which is the Washington-based model, Gates Fund model, which is the model that the White House apparently follows has deaths by August- April 17th they projected 60,000; April 29th 72,000; June 15th they project 149,000. That's roughly 90,000 more deaths. 90,000 more deaths. Why? Because the spread of the virus has increased. That's the public health consequence. Why did their projection go from 60 to 149,000? Because the spread of the virus increased. Those are not Democratic numbers. Those are not Republican numbers. Those are just numbers; my friends and we're not talking about 1,000 deaths. We're not talking about 2,000 deaths. We're talking about tens of thousands of deaths by that projection.


Last week, they projected 169,000 deaths by October; this week 200,000 deaths. In one week they went up 30,000 deaths. In one week, based on what? Based on the increase in the virus's transmission. That's why the phased reopening was always smarter and New York State- from a website that is run by the founders of Instagram, they studied the rate of transmission of the virus. We had the highest rate of transmission. Today New York State has the lowest rate of transmission of any state. These are not theories any more. These are undeniable facts. You tested the theory. Don't have results anyone can say anything.


I can sit here and say, "I have blonde hair, blue eyes, and tiny button nose." I can say that. But then I run into a problem which are the obvious facts that defy what I'm saying. "Well, he said he has blonde, hair blue eyes, and a tiny little button nose." Yes, except I'm looking at him and he doesn't. "Well, I know but the governor says."  I would say you might want to add a line that says, "however he doesn't," right? So, you can have a theory but then you have facts. And these are facts.


So, what does it tell us in New York? Stay the course. We were right. We have the lowest rate of transmission. The phase reopening is working; stay the course. Stay the course means, you have to stay smart and you have to stay responsible and we all have to stay responsible. We're going to Phase 3 in the Capital Region: employers be smart; storeowners be smart; employees be smart; individuals be smart; local governments be smart and do your job. And to everyone, stay smart because smart works. Smart normally works in life, by the way. But smart works as a collective, and smart works for the society, and smart works for New York. Wear a mask and be New York Tough and smart, united, disciplined, and most of all loving.

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