NY Drops Restrictions As State Reaches 70% Vaccination Rate

New York state is dropping COVID-19 restrictions as vaccination rates among adults passes 70 percent mark

New York state is dropping COVID-19 restrictions as vaccination rates among adults passes 70 percent mark

From the New York Times:

With 70 percent of adults in New York having received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Tuesday that effective immediately the state was ready to “return to life as we know it.” Nearly all restrictions on businesses and social gatherings have been eliminated, he announced at a news conference.

The changes, which will take effect immediately, mark yet another milestone in the economic recovery of a state that was once an epicenter of the pandemic, and are expected to bring back the type of scenes familiar to most New Yorkers in pre-pandemic times.

With the order, the state, in most cases, will end capacity limits and no longer require social distancing, disinfection protocols and health screenings, instead making it optional for businesses to impose such health precautions on their premises.

News Round-Up: July 1, 2020

Craig Ramsay (photo: Nathan Cox)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Woofy Craig Ramsay (above) celebrates Canada Day in his own inimitable style as shot by Palm Springs photographer Nathan Cox.

Pink News: A gay club in Atlanta has finally decided to close its doors until further notice, after a club night last weekend led to several partygoers contracting coronavirus. A video of the party at popular gay club Heretic in Atlanta, Georgia, was circulated on social media, showing hundreds of men dancing close together without masks. The number of new cases of COVID-19 has skyrocketed in Georgia in recent weeks.

NYC Pride: ICYMI, check out the soulful performance by trans artist/producer D. Smith for NYC Pride Month. The continually creative Smith, who among other recent achievements includes writing and producing Billy Porter’s #1 Billboard Club track, “Love Yourself,” picked up the mic to soothe virtual viewers with her richly-layered take on “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” If you like, click here to check out her latest music video, “That’s Why I Love You.”

Broadway: Want to watch a Broadway legend dazzle on stage for an incredible cause? On July 10, theater fans will be able to watch Bernadette Peters in a never-before-seen-online concert to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The 2009 performance, Bernadette Peters: A Special Concert. will be free to stream here at 8pm ET. Donations are encouraged but not required for viewing.

CBS News: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that indoor dining won’t be allowed to resume when New York City reaches Phase 3 of reopening next week. It will be delayed “until the facts change and it is prudent to open,” he said.

The Independent: After more than 48K new cases of coronavirus in the US were announced on Tuesday (the highest number since the pandemic began), Donald Trump repeated his belief that the coronavirus is going to “just disappear.” “I think we’re gonna be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point that’s going to, sort of, just disappear — I hope,” Mr. Trump told Fox Business on Wednesday.

New York: Two Out Black Candidates Win Primaries, Set To Make History

L-R Mondaire Jones, Ritchie Torres (images via campaigns)

New York City Councilmember Ritchie Torres won the Democratic primary for New York’s 15th Congressional District, defeating virulently anti-LGBTQ opponent Rubén Díaz Sr. and putting him on track to become the first openly LGBTQ Afro-Latinx member of Congress.

The seat is one of the safest in the country for Democrats, almost guaranteeing Torres will win in November.

He will join Mondaire Jones, who also won his primary for New York’s 17th Congressional District last night in a safe district, in becoming the first two Black openly LGBTQ members of Congress when they win in November.

Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, released the following statement about Torres’ and Jones’ primary victory:

“Voters in the Bronx rejected the politics of bigotry and instead put Ritchie on track to become the first openly LGBTQ Afro-Latinx member of Congress. At a time when our country is divided and we confront the realities of racism and police brutality, it is essential we have a voice like Ritchie’s fighting to turn the demands of protesters into legislative change at the federal level.

“Richie and Mondaire have shattered a long-standing political barrier with their primary wins, putting them on track to becoming the first two openly LGBTQ Black members of Congress. Black LGBTQ people – like all LGBTQ people – are severely underrepresented at every level of government, but this gives hope that we are moving toward building a U.S. Congress that is more representative of the people it serves.”

Six Regions Of New York State To Start Reopening Businesses

Five upstate regions of New York state became eligible to start phase one of reopening businesses on Friday. Additionally, the western region which includes Buffalo can start to reopen beginning Tuesday.

More from the New York Times:

The region around Albany needs only to hire more contact tracers before it can enter “phase one.”

In the regions that can restart, construction, manufacturing, and wholesale trade can resume. Retail businesses that sell clothing, electronics, furniture, books, sporting goods, shoes, flowers, jewelry and some other types of goods can open for curbside service.

Other activities that are allowed to operate include drive-in movies, landscaping and gardening services and “low-risk recreational activities” like tennis.

Mr. Cuomo also encouraged sports teams in the state to start planning to hold games, but without fans in attendance.

As those areas of the state get back to work, the only regions left to become eligible to entering phase one are the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and New York City.

Mayor Bill de Blasio told the New York Times he expects New York City to satisfy phase one criteria sometime in the first half of June.

NY Gov. Cuomo Slams Mitch McConnell “Who Is Bailing Out Whom?”

L-R Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky

From NowThis News:

States across the U.S. are struggling to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. New York state has been hit especially hard, as coronavirus cases across the state and New York City increase.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who holds coronavirus press briefings regularly, has called out Donald Trump and the Trump admin for its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Recently, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid into Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans for blocking emergency aid for Democratic states amid COVID-19.

As Gov. Cuomo points out, New York state pays $29 billion more to the federal government than it gets back on an annual basis.

But Sen. McConnell’s state of Kentucky regularly takes $37 billion MORE than it sends to Washington DC, and Sen. Rick Scott of Florida sees his state take $30 billion more than it sends to the federal government.

So, when McConnell and his GOP compatriots say they don’t want to “bailout” states like New York, Cuomo rightfully asks, “Who is bailing out whom?”

As NY Gov Fights For His State, Trump Demeans Requests For Help

A new report from the Senate Judiciary committee reveals new details of Donald Trump's pressure campaign to have the Justice Department overturn the 2020 election

Donald Trump took to Twitter to troll New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday claiming the governor was “begging” for federal government assistance to combat the COVID-19 threat.

“Cuomo’s been calling daily, even hourly, begging for everything, most of which should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals, beds, ventilators, etc,” Trump tweeted. “I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!”

This follows Cuomo’s repeated statements denying Trump’s claim to have “total authority” on when U.S. states will cease their COVID-19 lockdowns.

On Monday, Trump told reporters he has “total authority” to run the country, which he believes, re-opening the country’s businesses at any given time. But legal experts point to the fact that Trump never issued a national disaster proclamation. And so, there’s no ban from his office to lift.

Cuomo told reporters that he would sue Trump if he attempted to re-open the Empire state too early. Cuomo also said, “there’s no value” in the president’s coronavirus press conferences.

New York Sees First Decline In Daily COVID-19 Deaths

The state of New York reported its first decline in daily coronavirus deaths possibly signaling better days on the horizon.

From Bloomberg News:

New York State reported 594 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, fewer than the 630 it reported on Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said at his daily news briefing. The state has had 4,159 fatalities so far.

New Jersey, which has the second-highest number of U.S. cases, reported a slowdown in the death rate: Fatalities rose by 71 on Sunday, compared with 200 the day before. It also reported fewer new cases, 3,381, for a total of 37,505. Total deaths are 917.

As President Donald Trump and other leaders warned of rising death tolls, Cuomo said it was too early to say if the outbreak had reached a peak in New York — the center of the nation’s outbreak.

“You could argue that you are seeing a plateauing,” he told reporters in Albany. “Next week they will tell you whether we are on a plateau or is it just a blip,” he said, referring to statisticians.

Additional encouraging signs: New hospitalizations declined to 574 on Sunday from 1,095, and 74% of those hospitalized have been discharged.

New York Governor Postpones Presidential Primary To June 23

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday he will postpone the New York presidential primary originally scheduled for April 28 due to the coronavirus threat.

From the New York Times:

“I don’t think it’s wise to be bringing a lot of people to one location to vote, a lot of people touching one doorknob, a lot of people touching one pen,” Mr. Cuomo said in a news conference. “So we are going to delay that and link it to an election that was previously scheduled on June 23.”

A primary for state legislative and congressional races had already been set for June 23, and now all of the state’s primary elections will be held on the same date, he said.

Ten other states, as well as Puerto Rico, have rescheduled their primary elections as the campaign calendar has been upended by the outbreak, citing guidance from health officials who have urged people to avoid gathering spots, including polling places.

A handful of other states have switched to voting entirely by mail and have extended deadlines for doing so.

Gov. Cuomo Orders New York Workers To Stay Home

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered all non-essential businesses to keep all employees at home beginning Sunday evening.

Grocery stores, pharmacies & other support businesses will be allowed to stay open.

There were 2,950 new cases reported in New York state in the last day alone.

From the Washington Post:

All New York workers are prohibited from reporting to their workplace in person, with the exception of people who perform essential services, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said Friday.

The policy, to be formalized via executive order, will take effect Sunday evening and will be backed by the force of law, Cuomo said at a news conference.
“These provisions will be enforced,” he said. “These are not helpful hints; this is not if you really want to be a good citizen.”

Cuomo emphasized that this policy is not an order to “shelter in place” — a term that is usually used in mass shooting situations. He said the guidance to residents to mostly stay inside may continue for months and that people should feel free to take walks for the sake of their mental health.