New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, during his daily meeting on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, addressed the overnight protests that struck the nation in response to George Floyd’s death.
Cuomo noted that the virus devastated mostly minority communities and linked health inequalities to nationwide protests. Cuomo commented on the deaths of Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in a police company, and other black Americans killed by police officers.
“We have an injustice in a hideous criminal justice system,” said Cuomo. He also commented on the brutality towards black Americans in general: “The names change but the color does not.”
He said that while he “figuratively stands with the demonstrators,” he does not tolerate violence in protests. He also asked people to wear masks during the protest.
Cuomo mentioned violent police-civil clashes that took place during Friday’s Brooklyn protests, saying he asked Prosecutor General Letitia James to review the events and report to the public.
“The public deserves action and the public deserves accountability,” said Cuomo. He added that he asked James to quickly review the matter and submit a report within 30 days.
Cuomo announced that the Capital Region and West New York will end Phase 1 next week, and said the state government will make a decision as to whether these regions could transition to Phase 2 reopening.
Cuomo said the state would “be smart and avoid politics and avoid emotions and stay on the data” to decide whether regions should be reopened.
Cuomo announced on Friday that New York City, the virus’ epicenter in the U.S., is on the way to reopening on June 8. He said on Saturday that the state will focus on ten hotspots in the city in the first phase, the reopening can begin on schedule.
Cuomo said Friday that New York City is on track to meet all seven criteria that the state needs for reopening, including hospitals at or below 70% capacity, PSA coverage, and testing and contract tracking capacity.
Cuomo also announced that the five hinterland regions that reopened in Phase 1 two weeks ago can now transition to Phase 2. These regions are the Finger Lakes (including Rochester), the Mohawk Valley (including Utica), Central New York (including Syracuse) and Southern Tier and Nordland.
In phase 2, all jobs in the office with a capacity of 50% can be reopened. In-store purchases can be 50% full and employees must wear face masks, but shopping centers remain closed. Real estate services can be reopened. Hair salons and barbershops can also be reopened with restrictions.
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