May 26, 2020
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo May 26 Press Conference Transcript
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo held coronavirus press briefing on Tuesday, May 26. Cuomo held his press conference from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which is reopening with new safety precautions.
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Andrew Cuomo: (00:03)
Good morning to all. Thank you for being here. We introduced the people who were with me today to my left, Mariah Kennedy Cuomo who I thank very much for running the competition that we had announced last week on the best wear a mask video. She’s going to report on that today. To my right Melissa Derosa, secretary to the governor, to her right Gareth Rhodes, who’s been an essential component of what we’ve been doing from day one. It’s a pleasure to be here today. I hope everyone had a good weekend. I had a great weekend. Stayed at home Saturday, went to the beach Sunday, went to the Intrepid yesterday. Plus I changed the oil in the car, so I had a good day. Good weekend. I want to thank the stock exchange for hosting us today. This is a beautiful room. I was here this morning, the stock market reopened today.
Andrew Cuomo: (01:06)
So it’s a pleasure to be here. I want to thank Stacy Cunningham, who is the president of the New York Stock Exchange for her hospitality and courtesy. Let’s start with the facts, facts first. That’s what the American people need. Number of hospitalizations down. Great news. Rolling average down. Number of intubations down. Number of new COVID cases down to the lowest level since this ever started just about 200. Amen. Number of lives lost 73, that’s the lowest level that we have seen since this started. So again, in this absurd new reality, that is good news. Any other time and place when we lose 73 New Yorkers, it’s tragic. It’s tragic now, but relative to where we’ve been, we’re on the other side of the curve and that is the lowest number that we’ve had. So, we thank all the healthcare staff. Once again, doctors, nurses who have been doing a fantastic job and you see, we went up the mountain very quickly.
Andrew Cuomo: (02:22)
That spike took us up very quickly and it took a long time to come down, but we’re still coming down. Yesterday was Memorial Day and traditionally Memorial Day is a pivot point. It’s a transition point. Summer is starting, fashion changes, mindsets change, and it shouldn’t be that much different this year. Memorial Day is going to be a point where maybe we don’t all run back to the beach, but we’re going to turn the page on COVID-19 and we’re going to start focusing on reopening and how we reopen and how smart we are in reopening, because that’s the whole issue. You look at what’s happening across the country. It’s not, it was never a question of reopen or not reopen. The answer was always reopen. The question was always, how smart are you on the reopening? How intelligent are you on the reopening? How informed are you? How disciplined are you on the reopening?
Andrew Cuomo: (03:31)
Because that determines how successful the reopening is. The stock market reopened today. I had the honor of ringing the bell and it didn’t reopen the way it was, it reopened smarter than before. Fewer people, wearing masks, new precautions that the stock exchange has incorporated, not because government said they had to, but because the stock exchange is smart and they wanted to get back to business, but they wanted to be smart and they’re doing it in a way that keeps people safe. And that’s an example of exactly what we’ve been talking about. So two tracks going forward from Memorial Day, number one, monitor the reopenings, we’re reopening in regions all across the State because regions are different all across the State, so we’re reopening and regions. Monitor the regions. We have a dashboard that is up, every new Yorker can see the numbers. And what we’re doing is gauged by the numbers.
Andrew Cuomo: (04:36)
Mid Hudson opens today. They met all the metrics, all the numerical criteria. So they’re opening today. Long Island will open tomorrow. We’re going to bring on the last of what’s called the tracers, who do the contact tracing after testing. And they’ll be coming online today and Long Island will open tomorrow. Each region has a regional control group. I’ve spoken to many of the County executives across the State who are key on these regional control groups. And I said to the County executives, “Watch the numbers. When you see a cluster of cases, jump on it.” That’s what the contact tracing is all about. What happened? Where did they come from? Is there any commonality among the people in the cluster? Is there a geographic identity to that cluster, but that has to be done region by region.
Andrew Cuomo: (05:39)
You have to stay disciplined and focused, study the numbers, the numbers inform you. The numbers tell you what’s happening, that dashboard tells you what’s happening. And those regional control groups have to be disciplined. Steve Balone in Suffolk and Laura Curran in Nassau and Mark Polancos in Buffalo and Adam Bellow in Rochester and Ryan McMahon in Syracuse, focus on what’s happening on those numbers. You see a little movement, you pounce on it, find out what it is, explore it and resolve it. New York City is the one region that has not reopened yet in New York. And that’s for obvious reasons, the numbers have been worse in New York City. The number of cases were worse than New York City. Again, nothing endemic to New York City. What happened in New York City was the virus was coming from Europe, we didn’t even know. Nobody told us. It was, we all were told it was coming from China, China, China look to the West, it came from the East.
Andrew Cuomo: (06:47)
We’re looking West. It came from the East. It was coming from Europe and January, February before we did a European travel ban, 3 million Europeans landed at our airports and the virus came that way. So once the virus got here, it spread. This is a dense area, New York City, public transportation. So it had the worst problem in the nation. One of the worst problems on the globe. So it’s the one region that’s not reopened yet. And we’re now going to focus on reopening New York City. And again, we do it smartly. We have data, we have tests. We can focus on the new cases in New York City. Where are those infections still coming from? And we literally can now focus on those areas by zip code. We’ve done so much testing. We do more testing in New York than any State in the United States of America. We do more testing per capita than most countries on the globe.
Andrew Cuomo: (07:58)
We do so much testing that we can actually identify zip codes that are generating the new cases. If you have that kind of intelligence, that kind of data, then you can target your resources right to those areas. Those zip codes tend to be predominantly minority communities. The infection rate is not spreading among the central workers, it’s spreading among workers who have stayed home or who are unemployed. So it’s spreading in the home, it’s spreading in the community. We’re going to focus on those zip codes. We’re going to focus on those communities and we want to slow the infection rate even in those communities. And that will really bring the numbers down in New York City. We’ve started that last week, but we’re going to bring it to a new level starting this week. And you can see that the infection rate in some of these zip codes is double the infection rate in the city.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:00)
The infection rate in the city general population is about 19%, almost 20%. In some of these communities, the infection rate is 40%. Literally double the citywide average. And when we look at those new COVID cases coming into the hospitals, where are they coming from? They’re coming from these zip codes and we can literally identify it. So we want to attack the virus at the source. That’s what we’re going to be doing in New York City. In New York City, we also have to get the number of tracers up and trained and online. And we’ll be focusing on that. Statewide, we all have to remain smart. Regions that are opened, regions that are reopening, New York City, that hasn’t opened yet where we have to get the numbers down. It’s about citizens and it’s about what people do.
Andrew Cuomo: (09:58)
That’s been the great riddle in this whole thing. We don’t understand it, it’s about government, government this, government that. Forget government, this whole trajectory is decided by people. It’s personal behavior. That’s all it is. You tell me what people do today. I’ll tell you what the infection rate is tomorrow. And it’s simple, it’s wash your hands, it’s socially distances, it’s use the hand sanitizer and it is wear the mask. And this is almost a point of cultural communication, wearing a mask is now cool. I believe it’s cool. If I could sign an executive order that says wearing a mask is officially cool.
Andrew Cuomo: (10:48)
There is a certain amount of informing the public and accepting a new type of standard. Wearing the mask has got to be something you do every day when you get up, when you walk out of the house, you put the mask on. And I said the other day, New Yorkers want to reinforce it for other New Yorkers. This is cool. You want to encourage people to do this. By the way, they have all sorts of colored masks, you don’t have to have a boring mask like my mask, I’m a boring guy. They have colored masks, they have masks that say things. Some people coordinate their outfit with the color of their mask. And this has to be part of literally who we are and what we do every day. That does not mean when someone doesn’t wear a mask, we should be rude to that person or be obnoxious to that person. But this has got to be part of every New Yorker’s fashion and design and clothing and outfiting, wearing the mask.
Andrew Cuomo: (12:03)
Design, and clothing, and outfitting, wearing a mask… It makes a real difference. If you think that’s all talk, answer for me why all the first responders have a lower infection rate than the general population. The only difference is they wore a mask, and they wore the PPE. Wear a mask. Everyone has to do their part. Second track is, while we’re reopening, supercharge the reopening, right? Stock market opened today. We want that economy to come roaring back. We want it to come roaring back. That’s not going to happen just by wishing it to be so. We have to take an affirmative action. We have to be part of that. Today is page one of that chapter. I don’t believe that the economy just bounces back. Some economists say, “We artificially stopped the economy. We release it. It went down. It’s going to come right back in a straight line.”
Andrew Cuomo: (13:10)
I don’t believe it comes straight back. I believe it bounces back, but it bounces back differently. We talk about the normal and the new normal. I think you’re going to see the same thing with the economy. I don’t think it comes right back to where it was. It’s not like bouncing a basketball. You bounce a basketball. It goes down. It comes straight back up. It’s like dropping a football. You drop a football. Depending on how it hits, it goes off on different angles. The economy is going to come back up. I don’t think it comes straight back up. I think there will be winners and losers in this new economy. I think the top end of the economy will be fine. They always are. It always works out for them.
Andrew Cuomo: (13:57)
You look at the 2008 recession. After the mortgage fraud, we did the bailouts. The big banks were the first one to come back fine, but I don’t think the economy comes back for everyone everywhere the same way. I think you’re going to see American workers who are laid off. That’s why I’m pushing the Americans First Law in Washington. I think you’re going to see corporations use this as an opportunity to, in their words, restructure, to get lean, to show the analyst we can increase the profit. How do you increase the profit faster than a corporation? You lay off workers. That’s what you do. I think you’re going to see corporations do that. We’ve lost thousands of small businesses that just are not going to reopen their doors. You’re going to see pain in this new economy. Let’s start to anticipate that. Let’s start to deal with that now.
Andrew Cuomo: (15:01)
We know that government can stimulate the economy. This country has done it in the past where we have engaged in major public works that made the nation better. When we did it, we stimulated the economy. You look at all the great things that this nation did: building the Hoover dam, the Lincoln tunnel, all these magnificent public improvements that made the nation the nation and created thousands of jobs at the same time. Now everyone has been talking about the need to do major infrastructure in this nation. Every president, Democrat, Republican… President Clinton talked about it. President Bush talked about it. President Obama talked about it. President Trump talked about it. Vice President Biden talks about it. “We have major infrastructure needs we’re not building. The rest of the world is passing us by.” It’s true. Well, then do something about it. Don’t just talk about it. Everybody’s identified the same problem, Democrats and Republicans, but nobody has done anything.
Andrew Cuomo: (16:13)
If there’s ever a time to actually take on this overdue need, a major infrastructure construction, now is the time. There is no better time to build than right now. You need to restart the economy. You need to create jobs. You need to renew and repair this country’s economy and its infrastructure. Now is the time to do it. It’s especially the time to do it when some of the volume is lower, right? “The time to fix the hole in the roof,” we would say in Queens, “is when the sun is shining.” That’s when you… Why? You don’t think that’s a Queens’s expression? That was a Queens’s expression as far as I’m concerned. That’s when you fix the hole in the roof, when the sun is shining. The time to do this work is now when you need the jobs and the volume is low. New York will lead the way.
Andrew Cuomo: (17:16)
We are going to accelerate our big infrastructure programs. We have the Empire Station project, which is building a new Penn Station, which is long overdue. That Penn Station has been torturing people for too long. Let’s now accelerate the Empire Penn project while the ridership is low and when we need the jobs. Accelerating LaGuardia Airport, which is… be the first new airport in this nation in 25 years. Traffic is low. Passenger volume is lower. Let’s accelerate that construction now. Let’s do things that we’ve been talking about for a long time, but we’ve never actually pulled the trigger on. We know that we need renewable power. We know we can generate renewable power in upstate. We know we need it downstate. Let’s build the cross-state transmission lines to develop that renewable market upstate and satisfy the need downstate. We know they have low-cost hydropower in Canada. Let’s run the cable, the transmission lines from Canada to New York City to get that power down here. Let’s stop talking, and let’s start doing. Let’s invigorate this whole renewable market.
Andrew Cuomo: (18:39)
There are other big infrastructure projects that we’ve been talking, talking, talking about, which we have to do, where we need federal help and federal approval. Let’s put those on the table. The air train to LaGuardia… New York city is one of the only major cities that has no train from the airport into the central city. We’ve been talking about the cross-Hudson tunnels, where the Amtrak trains come through, that are old and that are crumbling, and that if they become a problem, you literally stop Amtrak travel to the entire Northeast. Let’s stop the politics on it, and let’s get it done. Let’s build those new tunnels. The Second Avenue subway… The next extension for the second Avenue subway, goes from 96th street to 125th street, would open up that whole 125th street area. It would bring a whole new chapter of revitalization to New York City. Let’s do that in partnership with the federal government.
Andrew Cuomo: (19:46)
I’m going to go to Washington tomorrow. Scheduled to meet with the president to talk about a number of things, but this is one of the things I want to talk to the president about. You want to restart the economy. You want to reopen the economy. Let’s do something creative. Let’s do it fast. Let’s put Americans back to work. Let’s make America better. It is common sense. It is common sense. So many of the things that we need to do, you don’t need to be a government expert or an engineer to figure out. It’s common sense. You have an infrastructure that’s crumbling. You need to jumpstart the economy. You need to create jobs. Do it now. Do it now. That’s one of the things I’m going to talk to the president about tomorrow.
Andrew Cuomo: (20:36)
Last point, we did the Wear a Mask New York PSA Contest. I asked my daughter, Mariah, to help out, volunteer pro bono, no money, supervised by a very nice, easygoing boss, moi, and Mariah agreed. She did a fantastic job. Frankly, this contest has gone much bigger and generated much more energy and excitement than I anticipated. With that, I will turn it over to Mariah.
Mariah Cuomo: (21:13)
Thank you. We launched the Wear a Mask Ad Contest in May, asking New Yorkers to create ads about the importance of wearing a mask in public. We received over 600 video submissions from across the state. We selected five finalists and put it to a vote. People cast 186,117 votes. Today we are proud to announce the winning ad, which is We Heart New York. With that, we’d like to-
Speaker 3: (21:50)
I love New York.
Speaker 4: (21:51)
We love New York.
Speaker 5: (21:51)
We’ve been stuck inside our homes.
Speaker 6: (21:52)
While our everyday heroes have been working overtime.
Speaker 7: (21:55)
For New York to reopen.
Speaker 8: (21:57)
And stay open.
Speaker 9: (21:58)
We all need to do our part.
Speaker 10: (22:00)
And show that we care.
Speaker 11: (22:01)
Speaker 12: (22:02)
I wear a mask to protect you.
Speaker 13: (22:02)
You wear a mask to protect me.
Speaker 14: (22:05)
Let’s all wear a mask.
Speaker 15: (22:06)
To stop the spread of coronavirus.
Speaker 16: (22:08)
And save lives.
Speaker 17: (22:10)
When we show up in a mask.
Speaker 18: (22:11)
We’re showing up for each other.
Speaker 19: (22:13)
Show your love for New York.
Speaker 20: (22:14)
Because New York loves you.
Mariah Cuomo: (22:15)
Andrew Cuomo: (22:15)
Mariah Cuomo: (22:21)
Thank you. Congratulations to Bunny Lake Films, a female-founded boutique production company based in Brooklyn, New York, who created that incredible ad. We’d now like to show the second place ad, which is You Can Still Smile.
Speaker 21: (22:39)
I wear a mask for my fellow New Yorkers.
Speaker 22: (22:42)
My mama who’s a healthcare worker.
Speaker 23: (22:44)
Nurses and doctors.
Speaker 24: (22:46)
For my father.
Speaker 25: (22:46)
For the marginalized communities who don’t have access to adequate healthcare.
Speaker 26: (22:49)
For my children.
Speaker 27: (22:50)
Speaker 28: (22:51)
Speaker 23: (22:52)
Speaker 30: (22:53)
Speaker 25: (22:54)
I wear a mask so we can get back to work.
Speaker 24: (22:57)
Go to school.
Speaker 32: (22:57)
Share a meal.
Speaker 30: (22:58)
See a movie.
Speaker 25: (22:59)
Hug my friends.
Speaker 22: (23:01)
Speaker 26: (23:01)
Go to the theater.
Speaker 27: (23:02)
See our families.
Speaker 23: (23:03)
Continue to show support.
Speaker 29: (23:05)
Take care of each other.
Speaker 33: (23:06)
Speaker 34: (23:06)
Mariah Cuomo: (23:10)
Andrew Cuomo: (23:10)
Mariah Cuomo: (23:11)
Thank you to everyone who submitted ads, who voted, who shared ads, and helped spread this important message, that it’s absolutely critical to wear a mask in public. We’ll be continuing to reach out to New Yorkers for help in spreading the message about how we can get through this together because New Yorkers are clearly ready, willing, and able to help.
Andrew Cuomo: (23:35)
Beautiful. That is a great job. Now I have to make an executive decision, not order. There was no election that we have nowadays that doesn’t raise issues, it seems. This was extraordinary. We opened this up to competition. There were 96, 000 votes for the first…
Andrew Cuomo: (24:03)
… 96,000 votes for the first and second place winners. 96,000 votes, only a 500-vote differential between number one and number two which, if it was a normal election would normally trigger an automatic recount. All right. It’s that close. There is also an issue with this election that we never really defined an eligible voter, and we have people who voted in this competition all across the state, all across the country, all across the world. We had international people voting in this competition, which I did not really fully think through.
Andrew Cuomo: (24:48)
So rather than have a debate about who would’ve been an eligible voter, because at 500 votes between first and second is so small, if you start to have a question about who’s an eligible voter, it could get dicey. So I’m going to make an executive decision. The state will run both ads first and second because they’re both great. And obviously, yes, one won by 500 votes, but it was a tremendous turnout. People love both. That’s clear. So the state will run both and we don’t have to get into a debate about who is ineligible voter in a video competition. So we’ll run both of those PSAs.
Andrew Cuomo: (25:29)
I want to thank all of the voters who participated. That tremendous number just shows how engaged people are all through this. This is about life and death. This is about their lives. This is about their community, and they’re engaged and they should be because they are New York tough, smart, united, disciplined, and loving. Questions?
Speaker 35: (25:50)
Governor, on the bill in Albany that would authorize the city of New York to borrow $7 billion, are you open to signing that bill? My understanding is they’re having trouble meeting basic operating expenses without it, assuming the federal government doesn’t come through. And assuming that the economy comes back unevenly and the people at the top are okay, would you ever favor raising taxes on the wealthy?
Andrew Cuomo: (26:12)
Yeah. Let’s deal with the here and now, now, and then we’ll deal with the future when we figure out what the future is. There’s no doubt that governments are hard stretched. State government is hard stretched; we have $13 billion deficit. City is stretched, local governments are stretched all across the state, all across the nation. That’s why I think the real answer is the federal government has to step up and provide state and local aid.
Andrew Cuomo: (26:39)
There was also a piece in the Wall Street Journal that said, “In those situations when the state and local governments are starved, the economic recovery is slower than when you actually fund state and local governments,” which makes sense. Because if you starve the state government, what happens? I turn around. There’s less funding for schools, less funding for hospitals, less funding for local governments and that’s police and fire.
Andrew Cuomo: (27:07)
So, we need funding from Washington. If we don’t get funding from Washington, we’re going to have a serious financial issue, and it’s going to compound our state problem overall. What do you do if you don’t get federal funding? Well, then you have to be fiscally responsible. And for New York City, New York state, Suffolk, Nassau, it’s going to be the same question. We’ll borrow a lot of money. Well, is it fiscally responsible what you’re borrowing? Do you have any chance to pay it back? When you start talking about borrowing to pay operating expenses, this is a whole new situation. Normally, you borrow for capital expenses. You’re making an investment. It’s going to increase future revenue. Borrowing for operating expenses is fiscally questionable. So it’s an issue that we’re going to face for the state, an issue we’ll face for the city, and fiscal responsibility is very important here.
Andrew Cuomo: (28:27)
We don’t want to create more debt than the state can pay going forward. We don’t want to create a situation where the state or any local government borrows so much money that they can’t repay it, and then you have to start to cut services, and now you’re in that vicious, downward spiral. Right? We’ve been there before. New York City has been there before. So I’m still banking on Washington doing the intelligent thing. It’s prudent for everyone. If that does not happen, we’re going to have to make hard choices, but they’re going to have to be fiscally responsible. And I haven’t even looked at those issues for the city or for the state because I still don’t want to create the possibility or the excuse for Washington to say, “Well, we don’t have to act. You can just go mortgage your future.” I’m not in the mortgaging for future option scenario.
You mentioned in recent days that CDC guidance changed with regard to transmission of the virus on surfaces. In light of that, has the MTA’s nightly disinfecting of every surface on every train been a misallocation of resources? Would you instead instruct them to get ready for the reopening by handing out masks to every single rider or to increase capacity?
Andrew Cuomo: (29:54)
Andrew, all of the above. First of all, the CDC did not say you can’t get it from surfaces. They said, “You can get it from surfaces, but it’s not a major transmission source.” What does that mean? And they previously had suggested that it was a major source. But even if it’s not a major source… This is tricky. If I get the virus, I don’t care if I got it from a minor transmission source. I don’t want to get the virus. So even if only 20% of the people get infected from surfaces, I’m still worried about those 20% of the people.
Andrew Cuomo: (30:39)
So, I think for the MTA, for any organization, it’s all of the above. Yes, masks. Yes, hand sanitizer. Yes, social distancing, and yes, clean and disinfect the surfaces. Because even if they’re right, and again, that assumes they’re right… And let’s be honest, the experts have changed their opinions and their numbers and their projections three times through this thing. So even if they are right and it’s only a minor source now, it’s still a source. And do everything you can, do everything you can, do everything you can, and that’s what we’re doing.
[crosstalk 00:31:22] the rider should do if they’re going back to work and there’s someone on their train who’s not wearing a mask?
Andrew Cuomo: (31:30)
Look, New Yorkers are tough, right? As we’ve said, there is a social responsibility, I believe, to wear a mask. I believe it should be part of our culture. I think we should encourage each other to be responsible and to wear it. I encourage people. When I’m walking around the street and somebody doesn’t have a mask and they’re walking past me, I encourage them nicely, politely point out some facts. But it’s New York. We have to be careful that that nice and polite stays nice and polite. People are afraid now, and you can see tempers flare, and you can see the energy goes up. I think that’s not helpful. I think you can have conversations with people and point it out, but keep it friendly and helpful and constructive.
Speaker 36: (32:33)
Over the weekend, I did some interviews out on the boardwalk in Long Beach, and people were already expressing concern about a second wave coming. They were happy that the boardwalk was opened, but it’s going to get crowded and there’s going to be a second wave. Have you started forming a new plan for a second wave, and how would it be different from what we did this time?
Andrew Cuomo: (32:58)
The way we are reopening, in many ways anticipates the possibility of a second wave. It is built into our reopening plan. When we say you must reserve 30% capacity in the hospitals, that’s anticipating either a current surge or a second wave. 30% of the ICU beds have to be available. That’s anticipating either a current surge, people around undisciplined, you have a hotspot, or a second wave. Hospitals must have 90 days of PPE on hand. We’re not going through that can’t find a mask crazy scramble again, right? All the PPE has to be in place for 90 days at the COVID level.
Andrew Cuomo: (33:56)
All those early indicators, getting the testing capacity up. What’s going to happen when you get to the fall, even if there’s not a second wave? People will need flu tests for the normal flu. Right now, we’re using basically all our testing capacity to do the COVID tests. So we’re planning for testing in the fall, split between the flu test and the COVID test. But what we are now doing builds in the anticipation of the possibility of a second wave.
Andrew Cuomo: (34:33)
And, look, I don’t even know if it’s a second wave anymore. They now talk about, basically it’s not going away. It’s not that it’s going to go away and come back like they first talked about the second wave. It’s just that there may be a lull, a seasonal lull because of the summer climate, but then it comes back, it increases in the fall because it never really went away.
Speaker 37: (35:01)
The Stock Exchange recommends employees to avoid taking public transit to work. Do you think that’s a wise policy? Do you think that the subway is a super spreader of the virus? [inaudible 00:35:10] have you identified which phase of the reopening the overnight subway service will resume? What date are you looking at on that?
Andrew Cuomo: (35:16)
As I’ve said, I don’t pick dates in the future. We have had projection models from day one on this. We follow the projection models. Remember the projection models said we could need about 120,000 hospital beds. We only had 50,000 hospital beds. I spent one month developing thousands of hospital beds off the projections, and we did it. It was probably the largest single undertaking that I’ve undertaken as governor, and we did it. And then the projection model didn’t come true. Now, in defense of the projection models, they’ll say, “Well, we had a number of variables that changed and-
Andrew Cuomo: (36:03)
Number of variables that changed. And we didn’t know how effective social distancing would be, and social distancing turned out to be more effective because people were more responsible. So the numbers came down. But I don’t think you can project into the future. I don’t think anybody can say, “I’ll tell you what’s going to happen in four weeks.” So I know the numbers today, we’ll know the numbers tomorrow, make decisions based on the facts you know, and that’s what we’re going to do. So I am not going to give you a future projection. The MTA, public transportation, has to be ready when you reopen. Everything has to be staged and public transportation has to be working. You can’t do a full reopening without public transportation. You just can’t. You don’t have an option, of everybody walks or everybody drives or everybody bicycles. You can’t do that in this metropolitan area.
Andrew Cuomo: (37:04)
You have people coming in from New Jersey, Connecticut, et cetera. So you need Metro North, et cetera. So the question becomes, how do you reopen public transportation? And we have trains cleaner than ever before, remarkably so. We’d need social distancing precautions. You’d need the masks. You need the sanitizer. You need to schedule in a way so you don’t overload a train. But I’ll tell you one of the silver linings here. The subways have never been as clean as they are now, and we’re helping more homeless people than ever before. For me, this has been an issue that we’ve worked on for a long time, and there’s been a lot of dissension. And I spent my whole life working on the homeless issue. And finally, finally, we’ve had the wisdom to understand that you’re not really helping the homeless by letting them sleep on the train.
Andrew Cuomo: (38:13)
That was a misguided theory. “Well, we respect your civil rights and civil liberties. We’re going to let you sleep on a subway car and risk getting molested or hurt during the night.” No, they deserved better. Offer them safe shelter, offer them services. That was always the answer. And now, because we close the subway to clean the cars the homeless have to be off the subway, otherwise you can’t clean the car. And it’s the first time you’ve actually had a real outreach program. So out of crisis comes positive.
Speaker 38: (38:56)
What about the stock exchange policy? Do you think that the subways spread the virus right now? Is it safe for that?
Andrew Cuomo: (38:56)
The subways have never been cleaner. And people are social distancing and they’re wearing masks. There’s no configuration on a subway done right, that’s not a sidewalk done right, that’s not any other place done right. If you have an overcrowded subway car, well then you’re where you are with an overcrowded sidewalk or an overcrowded lobby or an overcrowded elevator. Then it’s the same thing.
Speaker 39: (39:27)
One company this morning, I think it was JP Morgan, I could be wrong on that, that refused to participate in the opening of the floor. [inaudible 00:39:37] bacteria and other things. What do you say to a company who doesn’t even want to participate?
Andrew Cuomo: (39:43)
I think you will see people making their own decisions. I think you’ll see companies make their own decisions. We’ve never been here before. They opened some parts of China, and just because the government says, “Okay, we’re back,” some people said, ” I’m not ready to be back. I’m not ready to get on public transportation. I’m not ready to walk down the sidewalk. I’m going to sit home and I’m going to watch to see what happens.” People have gone through a trauma. People are scared. So I think you’ll see all sorts of individual decisions by companies, by people. And some people are going to hang back and say, “I want to see the facts. I don’t want to be the first one out.” I think that’s all fine. And I think that’s to be expected. I think there’s an emotional transition here as much as there is a physical transition.
Andrew Cuomo: (40:38)
And again, I don’t think this is about government rules. I think it’s about, everyone has informed themselves. “You’re talking about my life now. You have my attention. You’re talking about my kids. You’re talking about my mother. I’m taking this very seriously and I’ve informed myself and I’m going to make my own judgment, thank you very much.” Well, the federal government says, the President says, the Governor says. “I don’t care what they say. I’m going to make my own decision.” And I think that’s fine, because this is really about restoring confidence and comfort. And it doesn’t happen until you feel confident and comfortable. Anyone want to make some points? Melissa, Gareth? Any more votes? How come you got more votes for that competition than you got for your own dad? Let’s take one more.
Speaker 40: (41:37)
[inaudible 00:41:37] fund the federal government will give the state? Do you anticipate that the state will unveil the state budget cuts before or after [crosstalk 00:00:41:49]?
Andrew Cuomo: (41:51)
You tell me what the federal government does, I will tell you what the state budget looks like. And I want them to have that responsibility. Right now you have a $13 billion deficit. We will cut schools … With no money from the federal government, schools get cut 20%, local government gets cut 20%, and hospitals get 20%. Cut. That’s what happens today. That’s the budget. It’s done. And by the way, the budget is done. It was passed in April. That’s the budget. How do you avoid those cuts? It’s purely dependent on what the federal representatives do. And remember, the House is controlled by congressional Democrats, the Senate is controlled by Republicans. But I’ve said to them very clearly, this is a situation where the people of this state are going to know what you did. Right now if you do nothing, we have a 20% cut to schools. If you want to cut schools 20%, then don’t fund New York. If you want to cut police and fire 20%, then don’t fund New York. If you want to cut our hospitals 20%, don’t fund New York.
Andrew Cuomo: (43:16)
And the way to avoid those cuts is that Congress has to deliver. I believe that politicians should be held accountable. When I would watch TV with my grandfather, my father’s father Andrea, the Italian name Andrew, and a politician would start to talk on the TV, my grandfather would go like this. And a lot of his mannerisms were Italian and I didn’t understand them so I didn’t ask, but he would go like this. And then one day I said, “Grandpa, what is that? What are you doing there?” He said, “It’s all they do, these politicians, is talk.” He didn’t mean my father, but that’s a different conversation. “That’s all they do is talk.” Yeah, federal representatives, it’s your turn to deliver. We need help. I don’t care federal politics, Washington politics. We need help. And we need you to deliver.
Andrew Cuomo: (44:18)
And we need you to deliver the SALT repeal, which is also in the House bill, which was a theft from the people of the state of New York in the first place. And I want to keep the focus right there so they are held accountable. Nobody really knows any more who does what, what does the state do, what does the federal government do? And if they’re not held accountable, then it can become too easy. This one can’t be easy. We need federal help. If we don’t get it, call your congressperson. And I want to keep the focus there.
Speaker 41: (44:59)
Yeah. Why not use the crisis to push forward an actual subway extension instead of the current plan, which is pretty unpopular among transit experts?
Andrew Cuomo: (45:08)
You know what’s more unpopular? Forget your transit experts. You know what’s more unpopular than the people in the neighborhoods that are affected? The subway plan. So look, you have two questions. You have, funding is an issue, and then you have feasibility of the project. I don’t want a project that’s going to be in court for 150 years and that gets kicked the can down the road, which is what happens with so many public works. When I say I’m going to do something I actually do it, which is a little different. I say I’m going to build Mario Cuomo Bridge, I build it. I say I’m going to redo tunnels, I do it. I say I’m going to build a new airport, I do it. And I do it in real time. And I want projects that are real as opposed to theoretical, I have a great idea, in a perfect world we could do this. Yeah. When the world is perfect then I’ll do it. Thank you for taking time.
Speaker 42: (46:16)
[inaudible 00:46:16] the meeting with the President tomorrow. So this was part two continuing your last discussion?
Andrew Cuomo: (46:23)
Well, we’ve had talks. It’s not part two. It’s probably part 28.
Speaker 42: (46:23)
Is it the fiscal package you’re trying to get out of Washington primarily, would you say?
Andrew Cuomo: (46:31)
Literally [inaudible 00:10:37]. My three favorite topics. And the state of New York. Talk to you later. Thank you, Stock Exchange, for this beautiful room.