Governor Cuomo came to Jones Beach State Park Sunday to offer a modicum of hope for a region battered by the coronavirus: Long Island, he said, was on track to begin Phase I reopening on Wednesday, May 27.
“What does a governor do on Memorial Day weekend?” he asked with a smile. “…You go to the beach. That’s what a governor does. And he brings friends.”
Reopening the economy will play out by region in four phases:
Phase One: Construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, select retail for curbside pickup only, and agriculture, forestry and fishing.
Phase Two: Professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support, and real estate, rental and leasing.
Phase Three: Restaurants and food services, beyond takeout and delivery.
Phase Four: Arts, entertainment and recreation, and education.
If the number of deaths, hospitalizations and new Covid-19 cases remains stable or declines for two weeks, a region can move on to the next phase of reopening.
There are 10 regions across the state, with Long Island being one of them.
To prepare for Phase One reopening, the governor said, the Long Island Rail Road was sanitizing its trains and adding cars to them to enable riders to spread out more. A Herald tour of South Shore LIRR stations during rush hour last Thursday found only a handful of riders at any one station.
The governor said he would like to see the number of Covid-19 deaths on Long Island decline a bit before Wednesday’s expected Phase One reopening, and he would like to see more contact tracers in place.
He noted that, statewide, the number of deaths ticked up overnight from May 23 to 24, from 84 to 109, a 23 percent increase.
However, he said, “the overall line is still good,” adding people’s “actions determine our future.”
From May 24 to 25, the number of deaths dropped again below 100, falling overnight to 96.
Cuomo encouraged people to wear masks in public spaces and continue social distancing, and said masks are required on public transportation.
Professional sports teams, the governor said, would be allowed to begin practicing at their facilities. “Do it, do it,” he implored the teams.
The return of professional sports, he said, “is a return to normalcy.”
He also said veterinary practices would be allowed to restart Tuesday.
Finally, he said, there is growing hunger out there, as many people do not have enough to eat. More than Long Island 10,000 homes, he said, have received food through Nourish NY.
For information on how to help, email to COVIDPhilanthropies@exec.ny.gov.