Parts of Upstate New York Could Reopen This Weekend – The New York Times

Posted By on May 12, 2020

Three upstate New York regions are ready to reopen.

In the most concrete step yet toward bringing his state back to life, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said on Monday that three upstate regions are set to partially this weekend, with limited construction, manufacturing and curbside retail.

We start a new chapter today in many ways, Mr. Cuomo said at his daily news briefing, held in Rochester. Its a new phase, if you will.

It has been nearly 10 weeks since the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in the state. And while the virus has killed more than 26,000 people in New York and sickened hundreds of thousands people, New York City and its suburbs account for most of that toll. Upstate New York has recorded far fewer cases and deaths.

Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, laid out a detailed plan for reopening last week, requiring each of 10 regions to meet thresholds in seven health-related areas. The metrics include beefing up testing and contact tracing, ensuring adequate hospital capacity, and showing sustained declines in virus cases and deaths.

On Monday, Mr. Cuomo said that all seven metrics had now been met in three regions: the Finger Lakes, which includes Rochester; the Southern Tier, which borders Pennsylvania; and the Mohawk Valley, west of Albany.

The governor reiterated that the regions re-openings would be gradual and would be tied to infection rates remaining low. Officials, he said, would be able to pull the plug or slow down the increase in activity if the virus began to spread quickly.

Nonessential businesses have been closed and large gatherings have been banned across the state since March 22 under an emergency order issued by Mr. Cuomo that is set to expire on Friday.

The governor said the state would allow certain low-risk businesses and activities to resume operations on Friday, including landscaping and gardening work; outdoor sports like tennis; and drive-in movie theaters.

The number of new hospitalizations related to the virus was at its lowest number since March 19, before the states shutdown began, Mr. Cuomo said.

The governor also said that an additional 161 people in the state had died of the virus. It was the states lowest one-day death toll since March 27.

New York State will hold its presidential primary on June 23, the states Democratic Party told national party leaders on Monday.

New Yorks Board of Elections, citing public health concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak, had canceled the primary. But a federal judge subsequently ordered the primary restored to June 23 ballot after the former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang sued to block the move.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and his supporters also opposed the canceling of the primary.

Supporters of Mr. Sanders, who suspended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination last month, can win key slots at the Democratic National Convention if he wins at least 15 percent of the vote statewide or in each congressional district.

New York Democrats formalized the June 23 primary date in a submission to the Democratic National Committee, whose rules committee is set to meet on Tuesday to grant waivers to states that have moved their primaries past the partys June 9 deadline because of the outbreak.

The partys rules committee is expected to enact no delegate penalties to Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York for delaying their primaries.

The committee will also vote to formally change the date of the Democratic convention from mid-July to late August and to allow convention officials full authority to alter key processes, like switching votes to be held virtually rather than in person, without the rules committees consent.

In another sign that Connecticut may return to something like normal sooner than neighboring states, officials there said on Monday that summer camps could open in June with stringent public health measures in place.

Beth Bye, the commissioner of Connecticuts Office of Early Childhood, said a reopening committee had decided camps could start by June 29. Most programs would be required to have no more than 30 children, said Ms. Bye, who cited a need to relieve pressure on working parents as a key factor in the decision.

Although Ms. Bye said that officials recognized the health concerns that could accompany an opening of camps, she added that I think were in a situation where theres not always a right answer there are often less worse answers.

For many families, she said, summer camp is their child care.

Front line workers will be able to apply for a three-week subsidy for child care under a new program, she said.

Mr. Lamont, like his counterparts in New York and New Jersey, has canceled in-person classes at public schools for the remainder of the academic year. He has indicated that he will make a decision about summer school later this month.

N.Y.C. is likely to stay closed until June, the mayor said.

A ban on large gatherings in New York City and the accompanying widespread closing of nonessential businesses are unlikely to end before June, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday.

June is when were potentially going to be able to make some real changes if we can continue our progress, Mr. de Blasio said at a daily news briefing.

City and state data have suggested that New York has made progress in containing the outbreak of the virus and in reducing its transmission. Mr. de Blasio specifically cited decreases in the number of those being hospitalized with the virus and the percentage of people testing positive in the city.

But he said that such progress must continue before officials would consider any reopening.

End of May, beginning of June is when well be able to start filling in the blanks, he said.

Mr. Cuomo said separately on Monday that New York City had only met four of his seven criteria for beginning to reopen.

In a glimmer of normalcy returning, the mayor announced that alternate-side parking regulations, which has been suspended for more than a month, would be enforced next week so that workers could clean the citys streets.

Street cleaning will start next Monday and will then be suspended again on May 25 for at least two weeks.

To beat back the virus in New Yorks hard-hit neighborhoods, Mr. de Blasio also said that officials were dispatching masks, gloves and medical workers to community health clinics.

The move was one of several Mr. de Blasio has announced in recent weeks in an effort to address how the virus has disproportionately affected black and Hispanic residents in low-income areas.

Nearly 5,300 New York City residents have died during the coronavirus pandemic for reasons that have not been directly linked to the virus, according to an analysis by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The analysis, which was released on Monday, seeks to offer a preliminary estimate of what epidemiologists call excess deaths or the total number of deaths, regardless of cause, above a normal or expected number.

From March 11 to May 2, the C.D.C. said, New York City experienced about 24,172 excess deaths; of those, about 13,831 were laboratory-confirmed virus deaths; 5,048 were deemed probable virus deaths. That left 5,293 excess deaths that were not either confirmed as related to the virus or probably caused by it.

The excess deaths, the agency said in its brief report, might have been directly or indirectly attributable to the pandemic.

Some of the excess fatalities may have involved people with chronic underlying health problems whose deaths could been brought on by but not directly attributed to the virus, the report said. Other deaths may have occurred because of an increased demand on hospitals caused by the outbreak or by a fear of the virus that may have led some people to delay seeking care they needed.

Tracking excess mortality, the C.D.C. report said, is important to understanding the contribution to the death rate from both Covid-19 disease and the lack of availability of care for non-COVID conditions.

Even as New Jersey has made progress in its fight against the virus, the number of cases and deaths at the states long-term care facilities continues to rise, Gov. Philip D. Murphy said on Monday.

As of Monday, the state had recorded 9,310 virus-related deaths, officials said. More than half, 4,890, involved people at long-term care homes.

We continue to work hard to mitigate these numbers, Mr. Murphy said.

State officials reported 59 new deaths on Monday. Although the number was significantly below the daily tolls of last week that topped 100, the governor cautioned that the data had been historically light on previous Mondays.

New Jersey health officials have also said the number of deaths reported on any given day includes many that are probably weeks old and are being newly classified as virus-related.

So far, 139,945 people in the state have tested positive for the virus, with 1,453 new confirmed cases reported on Monday.

Mr. Murphy said the percentage of positive tests had been decreasing steadily over the past three weeks. The number of people hospitalized also continues to decline across the state.

Still, the governor said it would be weeks before officials would consider reopening New Jersey. He also repeated again that the state needed federal aid to increase its states testing capacity and its ability to conduct widespread contact tracing.

Nearly a million people in New York City are at risk of becoming homeless because of the virus outbreak, according to one of the citys largest nonprofit operators of homeless shelters.

The group that offered the estimate, Win, urged city leaders to confront the looming problem with emergency steps like a new rental assistance voucher and converting vacant hotels into full-fledged shelters.

In a report released on Monday, Win, which provides shelter for about 4,700 children and their parents a night, said around 325,000 households, or nearly a million people, would probably be unable to afford their rents once the outbreak is over.

Among those at greatest risk, according to the report, are households that pay more than 30 percent of their income toward rent; people in vulnerable jobs like home health aides and custodians; and households with incomes below 50 percent of the area income, for instance a family of three earning less than $51,000.

Christine C. Quinn, Wins chief executive, said in a statement that the pandemic was devastating economically fragile populations.

Hundreds of thousands of moms and kids could fall into homelessness, turning a current existing crisis into a long-term calamity, she said.

There are an estimated 79,000 homeless people in New York City, including nearly 20,000 children, in the citys main shelter system; hundreds more are in specialized shelters, like those for victims of domestic violence.

Under a rental-assistance program proposed by Win, the city would cover past-due rent and up to six additional months of help. Another proposal would waive employment requirements for city housing vouchers so that recent job losses do not disrupt the help that some New Yorkers get.

A florist and a cemetery opened for one day only.

John and Denise Owens, whose family has owned OLoughlins Florist in Queens, since 1965, opened their shop for the first time in weeks on Mothers Day.

Throughout a sunny morning and afternoon, they helped customers, from a distance, pick out crosses and wreaths made of silk flowers to lay at headstones in nearby Calvary Cemetery.

The virus outbreak had upended OLoughlins busiest time of the year, the spring weeks from Easter to Mothers Day. Its been really tough, Mr. Owens said. As far as being open, this is a one-day deal.

The florist and the cemetery, both in Woodside, have been closed since late March. Then St. Patricks Cathedrals trustees decided to open the cemetery, which is under the cathedrals care, for visitations on Mothers Day. OLoughlins followed suit.

Richard Giglio, 82, had stopped by OLoughlins to buy a memorial candle to place at the grave of his wife, Maryann Giglio.

I dont know when Ill be able to come here again, Mr. Giglio said, holding back tears. Once at the cemetery, he lit the candle and pulled up fistfuls of long grass at the tombstones base.

He started to return to his car but then walked back to the gravestone, pulling down his surgical mask to kiss and press his hand to his wifes name, which is inscribed in the rock.

A man and a woman from Queens were charged with a hate crime on Sunday after they shouted anti-Semitic slurs and tried to rip face masks off three Hasidic men in Brooklyn, the police said.

The episode began around 8:30 p.m. in the South Williamsburg area, the police said, when Clelia Pinho, 46, and Paulo Pinho, 35, shouted slurs at the group. The couple then fought with the men and tried to remove their face coverings, the police said.

The virus has hit New Yorks Hasidic Jewish residents with devastating force, killing religious leaders and tearing through families at a rate that community leaders and some public health data suggest may exceed that of other ethnic or religious groups.

On Monday, Mr. de Blasio called the episode absolutely unacceptable in every way.

Its something that expresses hate, but also creates danger, he said, adding that the Police Department was treating the matter as a hate crime.

The Pinhos were detained on Sunday by the neighborhood Shomrim patrol until officers arrived. In addition to the hate crime charge, the couple were charged with aggravated assault.

Across the city, overall reports of hate crimes declined in the first months of the year, paralleling a general decrease in crime as New Yorkers stayed home because of the virus. Anti-Semitic incidents decreased 40 percent compared with the same period last year, police data showed.

Still, the police noted last week that they were investigating an increase in reported hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans related to the virus outbreak.

In what would later be recognized as a harbinger of things to come, part of New Rochelle was sealed off as a containment zone and more than 100 families with whom Mr. Garbuz had come into contact, mostly at his synagogue, were required to quarantine at home.

About three weeks later, with the virus spreading and more people becoming infected, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses in the state closed and anyone who could stay home to do so.

By then, Mr. Garbuz, 50, was out of the medically induced coma he had been placed in. Still, as he said on Monday in an interview with NBCs Today show, he was not paying close attention to all that was going on in the world around him.

I really have not focused on any of the media frenzy in terms of one of the first patients to get it, Mr. Garbuz said in the Today interview, the first time he had spoken publicly since being hospitalized on Feb. 27. He was released on March 31. But I have been focused more on, as I say, getting better.

Mr. Garbuzs wife, Adina, also appeared on Today. The couple work together as lawyers at a small Manhattan firm. Because Mr. Garbuz had not traveled internationally, she said that they initially believed he had pneumonia.

She described the challenges of having to confront an illness that was not widely understood at New York at the time.

Healthy, vibrant person, all of a sudden overnight gets so sick so quickly, Ms. Garbuz said. I know that at this point, were not so surprised by that. But at that time, it was shocking.

Reporting was contributed by Reid J. Epstein, Luis Ferr-Sadurn, Michael Gold, Elizabeth D. Herman, Jesse McKinley, Sarah Maslin Nir, Azi Paybarah, Matt Stevens, Nikita Stewart and Ali Watkins.

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Parts of Upstate New York Could Reopen This Weekend - The New York Times

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