Sep 9, 2020

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript September 9

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript September 9
RevBlogTranscriptsAndrew Cuomo TranscriptsNew York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Press Conference Transcript September 9

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s September 9 press conference. He announced that indoor dining can open at 25% capacity. Read the transcript of his briefing with coronavirus updates for New York here.

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Andrew Cuomo: (00:00)
My immediate right, Melissa DeRosa to my left, Robert Mujica. I think you know who they are by now. If not, you can Google them. G-O-O-G-L-E. My name is Andrew Cuomo. Today is day 193. The facts today are 463 hospitalizations. That’s up about 18 from yesterday. 121 ICU patients. We have 59 intubations. We lost three New Yorkers yesterday, and they’re in our thoughts and prayers. Three day average is three. You look across the state, all the numbers are constant. We still are watching Western New York. Western New York is at one point five percent, that’s not good. But we have been taking a lot of actions in Western New York, and I think people got the message. And we still have a caution flag, but the number is not increasing and that’s good news. Across the city, the numbers are all good, in the outer boroughs, infection rate point nine yesterday. That means we’re under one percent for 33 straight days, which is great news and a credit to New Yorkers and what they’re doing.

Andrew Cuomo: (01:27)
And by the way, that is with more testing than any other state. If you want to see something interesting, go look at how many tests different states are taking. Remember the President said, “I told my people not to test as much because if you don’t test as much, you won’t see that there are more cases.” Some of these states are testing at very, very low levels. If you don’t do many tests, you won’t find many cases. And the number of cases will drop. Yeah, but that is false comfort. If you want to see a reduction in the number of people with cancer, take fewer cancer screenings. Yeah, you can then say, look, we have fewer people who have detected cases of cancer. Yes, but that’s only because you’re not looking and that’s what’s happening across this country. It’s a scandal, frankly, because it allows more people to get sick and more people to die. But that’s what’s happening, exactly what the President said.

Andrew Cuomo: (02:58)
If you listen him, he will tell you the scandal that he is about to perpetrate and states are testing less. Just look at the number of tests. New York, it’s the opposite, we’re testing more than anyone else. So when we say this is how many cases we have, that’s accurate because we’re testing more than anyone else. Yes, I’m letting the New York State Police have a special task force that is working on compliance on bars. They observed 969, they did five establishments. Compliance on bars is way up, 99.2%. Compliance on bars has increased dramatically from when we started. Why? Because, if you know someone who’s going to check, if you know there’s monitoring, people tend to increase compliance. For a bar or a restaurant, if you lose your liquor license, that is very serious business. So they’re making a calculated decision. The bad actors who were violating the rules now know they could very well lose their license. What has happened? Compliance has gone up. That’s good news.

Andrew Cuomo: (04:27)
Rules are only as good as their compliance. I can sit here all day and promulgate rules, wear a mask, stay home, six feet. The rule is only as good as the compliance and the compliance is only as good as the enforcement. Bars, you must do X. Well, bars want to do business, I understand the economic pressure. The compliance at the bars is only as good as the enforcement and the enforcement was lax. The state put together the task force, there’s now real compliance. They’ve heard about it every day. They’ve heard about the enforcement. They’ve heard about the number of enforcement actions. They knew that the chance was very high that somebody may check. What happened? Compliance went up. That’s good news. We want to thank New Yorkers for the increase in compliance and because the compliance has gotten better, we can now take the next step. That takes us to restaurants, opening restaurants, I understand the economic benefit and I understand the economic pressure that they’ve been under. A restaurant is not just the restaurant owner. A restaurant is the kitchen staff, the wait staff. There’s a whole industry around restaurants.

Andrew Cuomo: (06:02)
And restaurants also pose a possible risk, right? Concentrations of people inside, indoor dining. But there’s also a great economic loss when they don’t operate. We had a caution flag with restaurants and indoor dining for two reasons. Number one, we are doing indoor dining at 50% across the rest of the state. We have seen clusters outbreak from restaurants. So that was a reason for caution. Second, we knew that compliance was lacking in New York City. That was a reason for caution. We’ve been speaking with stakeholders. We’ve been working on this issue every day. And we’re now announcing today that we can go to 25% of indoor dining with certain restrictions that will be enacted on September 30th. Indoor dining, the rules will be temperature checks for anyone who comes in at the door. One member of each party has to leave information, phone number, email, so that there’s contact tracing information if there is an outbreak.

Andrew Cuomo: (07:20)
One person from every party, no bar service. The bars will only be for service bars, for wait staff. They can make drinks. They can transfer them over the bar but nobody will be sitting at the bar. Masks must be worn at all time except when you’re sitting at the table. All tables must be six feet apart. Restaurants will close at midnight, strict adherence to the state guidance that has been promulgated. Restaurants will have the air filtration requirement, the enhanced air filtration requirement that is specified in the state guidance. There’ll be limited air recirculation. We want air from the outside to provide additional ventilation. Outdoor dining can continue along with 25% of indoor dining. How do you do compliance? State will expand the SLA State Police Task Force. New York City will provide ultimately 400 code enforcement inspectors to work with that task force. The number of places that are going to have to be checked for compliance are about 10,000.

Andrew Cuomo: (08:45)
So even with the state expanding the task force and the city adding 400 code compliance inspectors to that task force, 10,000 is still a very large universe. So I have a new idea, new ideas. The new idea to assist with compliance is this, New Yorkers themselves will help with compliance. New Yorkers will keep New Yorkers safe. The New York community, community of New Yorkers is the best compliance unit. New Yorkers have shown all through this that they have forged community, right? What does community mean? Community means, I look out for you and you look out for me. Community means, I understand our connection. I understand our interdependence. I understand that I can’t keep myself safe and you can’t keep yourself safe. And the only way we’ll be safe is if we work to protect each other, that has worked extraordinarily well. The Restaurant Association in New York State will run public service announcement, asking New Yorkers to be part of the compliance of this 25% rule. New Yorkers, I’m asking to report violations of that 25% capacity. We call it New Yorkers protecting New Yorkers. We’ll have a special alert phone number, text number that will go to the task force. And we ask people if you’re in a restaurant and you see more than 25% in that restaurant in indoor dining, you text the violation, the information to the task force. It will all be anonymous. The restaurant will not know that you are the one who provided information, but it will help that task force because then the task force can send an inspector to that specific restaurant. And again, you have a universe of about 10,000, beyond the bars that we’re already monitoring. And we’re asking New Yorkers to be part of the solution. Every restaurant will post their 25% capacity of indoor dining. Every restaurant will post that text number, that phone number where people can call and report the violation. And I’m asking New Yorkers to be part of the solution. I believe in New Yorkers, I believe in New Yorkers ability to do the right thing, that is not blind faith. That is a result of the experience we’ve had going through COVID. New Yorkers, got the-

Andrew Cuomo: (12:03)
Had going through COVID. New Yorkers, got the information. We did the briefings every day. New Yorkers, I think are more informed about COVID than anyone in the country. And New Yorkers stepped up, right? Mask compliance. I put out the rule. New York was the first state to have a rule on mask compliance, but I couldn’t enforce it. We don’t have enough police to enforce it, New Yorkers enforced it. The society enforced it. If you walked past somebody without a mask, they gave you a look. And it became socialized in the New York community that you should wear a mask. You look at our infection rate. Why is it so low? Why is it lower than any other place in the country? Because New Yorkers are doing the right thing. That’s why we’re below 1%. So I believe in New Yorkers, they put a lot of trust and faith in me.

Andrew Cuomo: (13:02)
They believed in the actions that I was proposing and trust is reciprocal. They trusted me. I trust them. And I trust that if they have the right information, they will do the right thing. We will continue to watch the infection rate the way we do every day. If there is a spike in the infection rate, then we can always hit the emergency pause button. We can do that at any given time. If you see an increase in the infection rate, the first thing we do is to look for a definable cause something that generated a cluster, that actually is good news, when you can find something that generated a cluster, because then you can go stop that source.

Andrew Cuomo: (13:54)
If you can’t find the origin of the increase and it’s just community spread across the board, then you hit the pause button. We can hit the pause button on restaurants, indoor dining. You can hit the pause button on any of these activities that we’re allowing. So we always have that as a backdrop. It gives us comfort. And especially since the information we’re receiving is timely and it’s based on a lot of tests and we can identify it all across the state. That’s the good news about having the amount of data that we have. So if the infection rate goes up, bang, hit the pause button. At the same time, if the infection rate doesn’t go up and these restaurants that have gone through very tough economic circumstances, we can always reassess the guidelines and go from 25% to 50% would be the next increase.

Andrew Cuomo: (14:58)
And we can do that at any time, but we’ve set November one as a deadline to determine whether or not we can go from 25 to 50. Again, we could do it at any time before November one, but we have November one as a benchmark where we could go to 50%. On the issue of childcare, people are coming back to work it’s after Labor Day, we want people to come back to work. We want people to come back to their jobs in Manhattan, to get people to come back to work. They need childcare. The state is going to release $88 million today in additional childcare funding. So we can provide that childcare so people can come to work. Post Labor Day is normally a time when people start to come back to work. As a lifelong New Yorker, I can tell you, you can always tell post Labor Day because the traffic increases, that’s normal. We’re seeing the traffic increase dramatically in the downstate area, the commute from Long Island Westchester into New York City. I’ve experienced it firsthand myself. Vehicle traffic is heavy and it is disproportionately heavy. Public transportation is still very light. What’s happening? People are starting to come back to work, but they’re commuting by their cars. Why? Because they’re nervous about public transportation. This has happened by the way, everywhere across the globe. When urban areas have reopened, people have tended to commute by car rather than using public transportation, because they’re nervous about public transportation. Public transportation is safe. These cars, commuter cars, subway cars, buses are disinfected every day. They have never been cleaner. Silver lining to this entire debacle of COVID.

Andrew Cuomo: (17:15)
We’re cleaning our public transportation system more than we ever have in history. Ridership is relatively low compared to what it was. Public transportation is safe. Leave the car at home, take public transportation, try it. I think you are going to be favorably impressed with what you see, but we’re not going to get back to normal. If the new normal is everybody is driving their car into Manhattan. The traffic backup will be horrendous, it’s bad for the environment. It’s expensive. Try public transportation. I’ve been on it. I know the condition of it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised, but please try it.

Andrew Cuomo: (18:10)
In terms of federal help, the U.S. Senate put in a proposed package on relief. Again, it has no state and local aid. It is malpractice for this Senate to suggest a relief package that doesn’t have state and local aid. Remember what state and local aid goes to. It goes to all the essential workers who we’ve relied on, and we continue to rely on. We’re talking about having a vaccine and being able to dispense a vaccine. How many nurses, how many schools, how many police, how many firefighters, how many EMS, how many medical personnel is it going to take to handle a vaccine? And now you want to cut funding for essential workers. It’s ludicrous. If they don’t provide state and local funding, it will be financial chaos.

Andrew Cuomo: (19:07)
The deficit is so large that we would have to do everything. We’d have to cut the budgets and cutting the budgets hurts especially now. We’d have to raise taxes on the state and local level, which should be done at the federal level. We would also have to borrow and you would see continued urban decay because you know, how a state government and local government cuts its budget. You’re going to lose essential workers. When you’re supposed to be doing a vaccine. The streets would get dirtier and by the way, they’re too dirty already.

Andrew Cuomo: (19:49)
Cities would not be as safe. And by the way, there’s increasing crime already in New York City. You would have to raise taxes, which would put States and cities that had the COVID concentration at a competitive, disadvantage. And it would destabilize the national economy for years. Every economist says the same thing, looking at past recessions, when you starve the state and local governments, and you cause more layoffs that destabilizes the national economy. This is not Democratic or Republican issue. I’m head of the National Governors Association. This is every state. This is Democratic governors, Republican governors, all saying the same thing. It’s an American issue.

Andrew Cuomo: (20:43)
Senator McConnell, they have to stop this political nonsense. This is their own politics that they’re playing. And they have to remember that they’re supposed be serving in the best interest in the nation. These people took an oath. They took a constitutional oath. This is a nation in crisis. Remember your constitutional duty. You raised your hand and you took an oath. It meant something. Your word means something. The constitution means something. Do your basic duty. Step up to the plate, do the right thing the way New Yorkers did the right thing. And New Yorkers showed that they were tough and smart and United and disciplined and loving. We need a little bit of that in Washington D.C. Questions?

Zach: (21:41)
Governor, regarding the task force. Are there going to be members… You said it was going to be two to about 400 people. Are any of the members of the NYPD going to be included in that? And did you negotiate this report [inaudible 00:21:51] and the mayor? Because the mayor indicated not so long ago today that we were close on a deal, but not quite there yet.

Andrew Cuomo: (21:59)
The 400 personnel from the city. First, the state… Just go back half a second. We put together the SLA state police task force because New York City was not doing adequate compliance. Also, Nassau and Suffolk, Nassau, and Suffolk actually increased their compliance. The taskforce worked extraordinarily well. How do you know that? Because the compliance has gone way up. If you remember, when we started, I would be saying we did tens of violations every day. We’re now doing a handful of violations. Why? Because the bars got the message. They got the message that it’s not worth risking your license. Okay. I said that we don’t have enough people on that state task force to also do 10,000 more restaurants in New York City. We’re going to increase on the state side membership on that SLA state police task force.

Andrew Cuomo: (23:04)
The city will put 400 people ramping up on that task force. The city can do NYPD, health inspectors, code inspectors. I have environmental inspectors. I have department of state inspectors. Any inspector code compliant agent can function on that taskforce, could be a police officer. Like I have the state police. It could be a health department inspector, could be an environmental inspector. I don’t really care. This is not a highly complex issue, right? You go to a restaurant, indoor dining, it’s 25% of the capacity. You look at the capacity number. You count heads. There’s more than 25%. That restaurant is in violation. If the tables aren’t six feet apart, that restaurant is in violation. People…

Andrew Cuomo: (24:03)
-six feet apart, that restaurant is in violation. People aren’t wearing masks when they’re not at the table, the restaurant’s in violation. So it’s a relatively simple issue, and we’ve been speaking with the speaker. We’ve been speaking with the controller. We’ve been speaking with the mayor. We’ve been speaking with restaurant owners. Everybody wants a little something different. The restaurants want it faster. Some officials want it slower. But this is the best balance that we could come up with.

Speaker 1: (24:37)
After the mayor had his press conference this morning, did you guys further negotiate?

Andrew Cuomo: (24:41)
We have been talking to all stakeholders up until the moment that I just walked out.

Speaker 2: (24:46)
What are the specific penalties and repercussions for restaurants in violation?

Andrew Cuomo: (24:51)
You could lose your license to operate.

Speaker 2: (24:56)
[inaudible 00:00:56]?

Andrew Cuomo: (24:58)
Well, it depends on the egregiousness of the violation, and there are scales. You can just get a fine. You can get a penalty. Egregious violations or repeated violations, you could lose your license. It’s akin to what we did on the bars, right? You could just get a violation, or they could move for immediate revocation of your license. The message to the bars, message to the restaurants, this is not an issue you want to fool around with. It is just not worth the risk. It’s not worth the risk. I understand the economic pressure. It’s not worth the risk. If you lose your license, that’s months of being out of business, assuming you can get the license back.

Speaker 3: (25:51)
What’s the threshold that [inaudible 00:25:55] considered to be [inaudible 00:25:59]?

Andrew Cuomo: (26:02)
There is no hard formula. You see what’s going on in western New York. We watch it every day. We have a lot of data every day. You watch it every day. Can you track it back to a cluster? Which actually makes me feel better. It was a factory that was doing it. There was one bad meeting. There was one bad party. If you can track it back and there’s something that you can remedy, then the infection rate increase is not as relevant. The worst case scenario is it’s going up, the infection rate, and you can’t track it back to anything and it’s a random community spread. That’s the worst. But there’s no hard number. We watch it, and if we have a cause for concern, you hit the pause button.

Speaker 3: (26:52)
[crosstalk 00:02:53].

Andrew Cuomo: (26:53)
Excuse me, one second.

Speaker 3: (26:55)
One last question. Are there any subsidies [inaudible 00:26:58] restaurants in helping them with their air filtration system [inaudible 00:27:04]?

Andrew Cuomo: (27:07)
Unless Rob or Melissa or Gareth know differently, I don’t believe there are any subsidies, and I also don’t believe these are high costs. For most restaurants, it is literally changing the filter to a different filter. If you have a home air conditioning system, not a window unit, but a central air conditioning system, you have a filter that you change periodically. I have one. I don’t really change the filter, which is another problem. But theoretically, you’re supposed to change the filter. There’s a higher density filter. For most restaurants, it’s changing the filter. We’re not envisioning redoing the whole air conditioning system, which would be a major [inaudible 00:03:59]. But Rob, do you have any comment on that?

Rob: (28:00)
No, that’s right. The requirements are based on what the system can handle. But as the governor mentioned, for most of them, they’re easy retrofits. Then there are also other solutions for smaller spaces. So we’re not going to be specific necessarily to the technology.

Andrew Cuomo: (28:16)
Melissa, you want to add something?

Melissa: (28:17)

Speaker 4: (28:22)
Specifically getting to the 50% capacity, I know-

Andrew Cuomo: (28:22)
That’s a very scary mask you’re wearing, by the way.

Speaker 4: (28:23)
I know.

Andrew Cuomo: (28:25)
That is real.

Speaker 4: (28:25)
I got it at Petco. I forgot what it looked like when I wore it today.

Andrew Cuomo: (28:29)
[crosstalk 00:28:29].

Speaker 4: (28:30)
I don’t see it, so I don’t really know what it looks like.

Andrew Cuomo: (28:32)
I know you don’t see it, but I’m looking right at it, and it’s a scary thing.

Speaker 4: (28:36)
It’s like a Halloween mask.

Andrew Cuomo: (28:37)
Ooh, it is. You mind if I close my eyes [crosstalk 00:04:41]?

Speaker 4: (28:43)
Getting to that 50% capacity, I know it could come before November 1st. So what specifically, if there are specific thresholds and numbers that you will use to increase that capacity for restaurants?

Andrew Cuomo: (28:53)
You have a number of things going on at the same time now. Fall is coming. Flu goes up, hopefully not too high. It’s the same type of symptoms for the flu. People are coming back to work. You see the increased traffic, et cetera. You’re opening schools. That’s a whole complexity in and of itself, and we go to 25%. So you have a number of factors that are happening, and we’ll watch the infection rate. Again, and when you increase activity, you expect the infection rate to increase somewhat. We expect the infection rate to increase somewhat because of that increased activity, more people at work, more schools, more restaurants, more people on the street.

Andrew Cuomo: (29:47)
We don’t have a hard number where we would hit the pause button, and we don’t have a hard number where we would say, “We’re ready to go to 50%.” We’ll just watch it and see what we hear, and we’ll study the evidence. By November 1st, it starts to get cold, really, on November 1st, and the outdoor dining is going to be less attractive to people, unless you’re just eating cold food, I guess. It wouldn’t make as much of a difference, but if you get a hot dish and it’s outside and it’s cold.

Andrew Cuomo: (30:24)
So we’ll just watch it, and I’ll inform everyone of everything I know every day. So it’s a collective decision. All the decisions that we’ve made going through this, I said to New Yorkers from day one, it’s not like there’s a back room anywhere here, where we go back and we look at numbers and secret data. Whatever I know, I tell New Yorkers. Whatever the factors are, I tell New Yorkers, and I really believe this has been a collective process. I believe if you could vote on the decisions that we made all through this, I think New Yorkers would have voted for every decision that we made, because I give them all the information, all the facts, and I’ll continue to do that. Here are all the facts. Here’s everything we know. Here’s the upside. Here’s the downside. I think now New Yorkers would support going to 25% with those requirements, as long as we have the compliance in place, and I’ll continue to provide all the information I know. I’ll recommend actions based on that information. But there’s no hard trigger.

Speaker 5: (31:43)
Why not amusement parks? Because Coney Island has suffered this summer, and, as you know, there’s only a short amount of time that they could salvage the season, and also indoor exercise classes, where I’m just not seeing the logic of allowing people to unmask indoors and eat and saliva’s flying, whatever, and then indoor studio, exercise studios, where they could actually put tape down and keep people in a controlled area and keep their masks on, why those two things still won’t be allowed.

Andrew Cuomo: (32:20)
Yeah, I’ll ask Rob and Melissa if they want to comment. Look, this is all a balance, right? None of this is written in the Bible. You can’t go to the Old Testament or the New Testament, and it’s a balance of the risk of the activity. I don’t think you can compare an exercise class to four people at a table in a controlled unit, having a meal. You’re in an exercise class. By definition, there are people in that class that you don’t know, there are a density of people, and you’re exercising. You’re exhaling deeply. You’re inhaling deeply. You’re perspiring. You’re touching other material. That is a much riskier situation to be in than sitting at a table with four people and not being more than six feet from anybody else, not exhaling as if you’re exercising and not inhaling deeply, right? It’s the airborne transmission.

Andrew Cuomo: (33:35)
So it’s balancing the risk of that activity with the benefit of that activity. Restaurants, you have a whole economy. It’s an attraction for New York City. We want people to come back to New York City. An exercise class, what is the social benefit of an exercise class? We opened gyms. You can go work out. What is the social benefit of an exercise class that you really can’t achieve without running that risk, right? You can do it in your living room. You can watch a video. But it’s always a balance of the risk to the benefit. Rob, do you want to comment?

Rob: (34:25)
We want to do this in a phased approach, right? So gyms only started in New York City opened on September 1st, and we left it up to the local governments to decide on fitness classes, because the activity in the fitness class, as the governor mentioned, is riskier. Smaller space. If you allow for the social distancing, that’s required for exercise, which is water droplets can travel up to 12 feet, then you have a very limited number of people in a class, which doesn’t work economically for many of the gyms.

Rob: (34:55)
So what we said was let’s start with the gym activity. Leave it up to local governments to decide on the fitness classes, especially in New York City. New York City decided they wanted to delay the fitness classes for now again. They’ve only been open for less than a week.

Rob: (35:13)
So we are going to continue to look at it, and I think as we move forward and we see that as these other things open and you don’t see increases, then you would open up the opportunity, and you are allowed to have fitness classes outdoors. The weather is still warm, so there’s still opportunity to engage in that activity outside.

Andrew Cuomo: (35:33)
Excuse me. Let me ask you a question. Can we just flip the table a bit? The exercise classes are up to local government or there are state rules?

Rob: (35:41)
The exercise classes are up to a local government. So we allowed all gyms to open with the exercise classes. Local governments could decide.

Andrew Cuomo: (35:49)
Oh, then let me rephrase my answer. We don’t make any decisions on it [inaudible 00:35:55].

Speaker 5: (35:53)
The other thing, amusement parks, though? Because that’s outdoors.

Andrew Cuomo: (35:59)
You want to talk about amusement parks?

Speaker 5: (36:01)
That’s outdoors. Things can be-

Speaker 5: (36:03)
…perhaps outdoor that things could be sanitized. People could be spaced in line.

Rob: (36:07)
It’s the large space. It’s difficult to have enforcement in the amusement park space. So a lot of that is large gatherings. In restaurants, you have seated, we’re seating people with their party. In the amusement space, it was much more difficult to figure out how to control, preventing crowds from forming, preventing queues from forming, preventing people from gathering. There’s eating activity, there’s drinking activity. And they wanted a longer window of when they could be open. They couldn’t just open for two weeks, needed an extended period of time. We’re not allowing for any large gatherings, which is essentially what you require for the amusement parks.

Speaker 5: (36:52)
It looks like on Tuesday, the infection rate in Long Island was 1.8, that’s even higher than it is in Western New York. What do you attribute that to/

Andrew Cuomo: (37:04)
You can have blips in the numbers. When you get to the weekend numbers or holiday number, I say take them with a grain of salt because the sample can be a little different, different people are out on the weekends. Different people are out on the Sunday holiday and you do get little blips. My gauge, question before what number? 1% is very low. Okay. It’s almost artificially low. The experts don’t understand how we have it so low. So 1% is very low. You start to increase activity. Could you go to one, three, one, four, one five, one six? Yeah. Could you go to one seven, one eight? Yeah. 2%, I start to get nervous. 3%, I start to have heart palpitations. So there’s a gauge, but you increase activity. I would not be surprised at all to see you go over one. Two, bells start to go off at two. Three, the alarm bell goes off. It’s like a conversation we were having about Western New York. And again, not on any specific day because you have to allow for the bouncing. But if you are three, four, five, six, seven days, and you see that number staying up, then yeah, then you have to worry. Did you have a point?

Speaker 6: (38:51)
Yeah. Specifically on Long Island on that particular day, what we saw was that there were some of the students that go to SUNY Oneonta and some of upstate schools who live in Long Island who were actually reporting their home address. And so it was showing up in the Long Island numbers, which is something we’ve since rectified.

Andrew Cuomo: (39:08)
Yeah. That’s good news actually. One eight. Trace back the whole contact racing. What happened to get it to one eight? That’s an answer. And that’s actually reassuring. It’s not like it was just random community spread. Kids were giving their address in Nassau.

Speaker 5: (39:31)
How can those numbers not go up with so many things are happening at the same time? You’re telling people to take public transportation because more people are going to work. Be inside restaurants. In person classes. How can those numbers not surpass 2% when all of those things are happening all at the same time?

Andrew Cuomo: (39:48)
Yeah, it’s a good question. And again, nobody’s been here before. We believed, and we were told when we start to reopen the economy, the infection rate is going to go up and it will be above one and it could get to two. That’s what the experts said. And that’s what I said to New Yorkers. It never happened. We’re still at about 1%, a little below. How? How did we reopen the whole economy and it didn’t go up? You increase activity. And by the way, the infection rate went down. It’s inexplicable for the experts. Their only answer is the compliance was extraordinary. And by the way, the compliance is extraordinary. You look at the number of people with masks. We were so well-informed, that New Yorkers really acted better than anyone could have expected. So we did all the reopening and the infection rate went down. Inexplicable except extraordinary compliance.

Andrew Cuomo: (41:09)
And that’s why I keep saying, I’m so proud of New Yorkers. They got the information. They listened to all my boring briefings. They heard my bad jokes. They got the information and they actually did the right thing. Now, going forward from here, you’re about one. You start get on public transportation. You start to go back to work. You start to put people in restaurants. Will that number go up? Yes. We would expect it to go up within a manageable level. And that’s the calibration to all of this. You want to keep the infection rate down? Keep everybody home, close everything. But we can’t function. We have to work. The economy is suffering. All right. So increase the economy as much as you can as long as you have a manageable infection rate. What’s not manageable? You start to hit two, you start to go towards three, that’s when the bells start to go off. So you watch it and you monitor it and you start to get over two, you hit the pause button.

Speaker 5: (42:23)
My other question is about kind of the self policing and asking New Yorkers to call the hotline and stuff like that. New Yorkers have, as you said, the compliance has been great, but also they’ve seen these businesses struggle. They see businesses boarded up in their neighborhoods. How can you now expect them to obviously something that’s really egregious they’ll sound the alarm, but something that might still be dangerous, how are you going to expect them to call knowing how people are suffering during this time? Is that realistic?

Andrew Cuomo: (42:57)
Well, look, first we also have the task force in 400 people, and we’re going to beef up the task force on the state side. So they’re going to be doing compliance. Is it realistic to think that New Yorkers will do the right thing? Yes. Yes. Now, you as a New Yorker want to say, “Well, I’m in a restaurant, it violated the 25%. It’s at 26%. It’s at 27%. I feel bad for them.” Yeah, I understand that. But I don’t think New Yorkers are going to sit in a restaurant and say, “They’re violating the rules and they’re endangering the health of New Yorkers. And they could kill someone in this restaurant.” And I don’t think they’re going to sit by idly. I don’t believe that. Yes, I feel bad for the owner. I want the owner to make money. I want the waiter to make money. So do I. But I don’t want anyone to die.

Zach: (44:02)
Any particular methodology for coming up with September 30th. Why not sooner? And any look to when you could conceivably open up and allow live entertainment, Broadway, kind of the big one that’s still out there. Or do you need a vaccine first to realistically do that?

Andrew Cuomo: (44:14)
September 30th, Zach, because you’re trying to calibrate and gauge the increase in the activity. Schools are reopening. That gives us all a great deal of concern. That’s why we set up that daily dashboard. All these school districts have plans. I don’t know how they’re going to work out. Nobody knows how they’re going to work out. Are they actually going to be able to get the tests done? Are they actually going to be able to get the contact tracing done? Can they handle that volume of tests? Who knows? So we’ll watch that. We have that happening. I want to get people back on public transportation. We’ll have that happen.

Andrew Cuomo: (44:55)
So September 30th was more calibration given the totality of events. And for this month, the outdoor dining is going well. Yes, they want to get indoor dining, but the outdoor dining works through September. For sure. You get into October, depending on the weather, it might be a little different. Broadway, high density, indoor arenas. I don’t have any additional information. Again, we’ll see how it goes. Your basic question is, would you be willing to take more risk? If the infection rate stays down, you can take more risk.

Andrew Cuomo: (45:39)
Let’s take one more. Okay. There are no more. That’s the first time. There are no more questions. When you come with a different mask? Can I give you, I am going to bring you a mask next time. Okay, thank you.

Andrew Cuomo: (45:56)
Good to see you.

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