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NYS Coronavirus Update: Phased Plan to Reopen New York -- L Train Project Is Complete -- Air Show Will Honor Frontline Workers

Apr 26, 2020

From Governor Cuomo @ 7:27 PM on April 26:

As we look to the months that lie ahead, we must ask the question: How can we build back better? There is no returning to yesterday — there is only moving forward. In the months ahead, employers will need to rethink how workplaces can be safer. Our health care system will have to become harder and more resilient. Our technology must improve. This pandemic has altered New York, and we have been through hell, but we must learn the lessons of this crisis to reimagine society for the better.

Bryant Park.
Photo of the Day: A heart mowed into the lawn of Bryant Park in Manhattan (Photo by Jane Kratovchil)
Here's what else you need to know tonight:

1. Today I outlined a phased plan to safely reopen New York at the appropriate time, taking a regional approach. Phase one will be to reopen low-risk construction and manufacturing businesses in parts of the state that have experienced a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate. Phase two will open certain industries based on priority and risk level. (Businesses considered "more essential" with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to the customer will be prioritized.) Officials are closely monitoring the hospitalization rate, the infection rate, and other key health indicators, and will make adjustments to the plan based on this crucial data.

2. There will be a two-week waiting period in-between phases of this plan to monitor the effect. This will help ensure that the hospitalizations and infection rates are not increasing as some workers begin to return to work.

3. Businesses and industries will create plans that include new measures to protect employees and consumers. The physical workplace will have to be reimagined to be safer, and businesses must implement processes that lower the risk of infection. The state is consulting with local leaders in each region and industry to formulate these plans.

4. Multi-state coordination is key, especially in downstate New York, where the outbreak has been more severe. We will work with neighboring states to ensure safe and consistent policies. In downstate New York, special attention will be taken to ensure the safety of low-income communities.

5. Hospitalizations fall again. Yesterday, the total number of hospitalizations fell to 13,839 — returning to the level of March 31. This is a positive trend, but it is still far higher than we would like to see. I am very saddened to say we lost 367 New Yorkers yesterday — down from 437 the previous day. Every day, this is the worst, most devastating news that I must give to New Yorkers.

6. The L Train tunnel project is complete months early and under budget. A project that repaired two subway tubes connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan, which were damaged during Superstorm Sandy, is complete ahead of schedule. The innovative project, which combined technologies in a novel way to avoid what would have been a highly disruptive total shutdown of the L Train, showed the importance of thinking outside the box when we are faced with challenges. (Despite this milestone, New Yorkers are still being asked to avoid taking mass transit unless they are essential workers.)

Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment"
: New York essential workers will be honored with an air show on Tuesday. The US Navy's Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds will fly over the New York Metropolitan area as a tribute to all the workers on the frontlines of this pandemic. "This is [] our way of showing that we are all in this together and that America's spirit will prevail," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Navy Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday in a joint statement.

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Ever Upward,
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo