Oct 23, 2020
- With Halloween just around the corner, I want to remind New Yorkers to enjoy the holiday but to do so safely. To help New Yorkers make an informed decision on which Halloween activities are safe for their families, the State Department of Health has published guidance for Halloween. The best way to celebrate Halloween this year is to have fun with the people who live in your household — for example, carving pumpkins, watching scary movies or having a virtual costume party.
If your family plans to celebrate outside your home this year, follow some simple "Do's" and "Don'ts" from the Department of Health to keep your family and community safe. Any activities should be socially distanced and outdoors. We advise New Yorkers not to participate in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed out at the door and you cannot maintain social distance. Please don't trick-or-treat indoors, unless you are at your own house with family members. If you live in an area with a high number of COVID cases, skip in-person celebrations altogether. (Read the full guidance here.) I hope I can count on your help in making sure this year's activities are safe for everyone.
1. Early Voting starts tomorrow, October 24th. For the first time New Yorkers can vote early in a presidential election. There are nine days of Early Voting, which runs from Saturday, October 24th through Sunday, November 1st. Additionally, completed absentee ballots can be dropped off in-person at any early polling site. Robust measures are in place to protect the health and safety of all voters. Look up your early polling place here.
2. The positivity rate in the "micro-cluster" focus areas fell to 2.31 percent. The statewide positivity rate excluding these areas was 0.98 percent. There were 1,023 total hospitalizations. Of the 141,508 tests reported yesterday, 1,637, or 1.15 percent, were positive. Sadly, we lost 11 New Yorkers to the virus yesterday.
3. New Yorkers can now experience the Empire State's many craft breweries through a Virtual Passport Program. Today, the State launched a virtual passport program that showcases 200 craft breweries surrounding the 750-mile long Empire State Trail. This program makes it easier for people to enjoy the State's natural beauty and renowned craft beverages even amid the pandemic.
4. Movie theaters outside of New York City reopened today. Theaters can open at 25 percent capacity with up to 50 people per screen. Only theaters outside of New York City in counties that have positivity rates of less than 2 percent on a 14-day average, and which do not have any cluster zones, are permitted to open.
5. Eight additional companies have received support from the State to help produce PPE. Empire State Development, New York's economic development agency, awarded $4.9 million to eight NY-based companies to help alleviate product shortages that could lead to unfair price gouging of life-saving supplies. These awards boost New York businesses while helping ensure New York is prepared in the event of a second wave.
6. New York landmarks will be illuminated pink tonight to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While COVID-19 forced many New Yorkers to put off routine health exams during the height of the pandemic, we encourage New Yorkers to stay updated with their breast cancer screenings. Breast cancer screenings are covered by most health plans, including Medicaid and health plans participating in the New York State of Health. More information about the screening program for the uninsured New Yorkers and other NYS Breast Cancer Programs can be found here.