June 13, 2020
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES WESTERN NEW YORK EXPECTED TO ENTER PHASE 3 OF REOPENING JUNE 16 AND CAPITAL REGION EXPECTED TO ENTER PHASE 3 OF REOPENING ON JUNE 17
Announces Lowest Number of Hospitalizations and Deaths Since Pandemic Began
Governor Signs Legislation Suspending the Forfeiture of Unemployment Benefits During the COVID-19 State of Emergency
Governor Signs Legislation Repealing Criminalization of Wearing a Mask in Public
Only 1.29 Percent of Yesterday’s COVID Tests Were Positive
Confirms 916 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State – Bringing Statewide Total to 382,630; New Cases in 37 Counties
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Western New York is expected to enter Phase 3 of reopening June 16 and the Capital Region is expected to enter Phase 3 of reopening on June 17 following a review of regional data by global public health experts. Business guidance for phase three of the state’s reopening plan is available here.
The Governor also announced the state has reached the lowest number of hospitalizations and deaths since the pandemic began. The number of total hospitalizations was down yesterday to lowest level since March 20 to 1,734. Thirty-two people in New York passed away due to COVID-19, down from a record-high of 800 just nine weeks ago.
The Governor also signed legislation (S.8275-A/A.10348) suspending the forfeiture of unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 state of emergency, aligning with the Executive Order issued by the Governor on May 14, 2020. Over 44 million Americans across the United States have applied for unemployment insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this number is expected to grow as the pandemic continues. Individuals who have had forfeit penalties levied against them from past claims are currently unable to collect their unemployment benefits. This new law will allow those individuals to collect these critical benefits in their time of greatest need even if forfeit penalties have been enacted against them.
The Governor also signed legislation (S.8415/A.10446-A) repealing criminalization of wearing a mask in public. The Governor previously issued an Executive Order requiring that New Yorkers wear face coverings while in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and this new law will remove any legal conflicts with the outdated provision banning the wearing of masks in public and the Governor’s Executive Order.
“As we look ahead, Western New York is expected to move to Phase 3 this Tuesday and the Capital Region should move to Phase 3 on Wednesday. But as usual, we have to stay smart and continue proceeding with caution. Look around the nation and look at the spikes other states are experiencing – we’re not in a vacuum,” Governor Cuomo said. “In just about half the states, infection rates are climbing up. New York is the anomaly – we reopened and our rates continue to come down, but only because we continue to remain smart and vigilant in this fight against the COVID virus.”
Senator Monica R. Martinez said, “I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his support in signing this crucial piece of legislation which I am proud to have sponsored to assist many New Yorkers. Bill S.8275, will officially put the minds of so many New Yorkers at ease who have been struggling throughout this pandemic. As we begin to turn the corner, it will take time for so many to recover, and the relief this bill allows will help to get them there. For the many residents which have been bound by forfeit day limitations, the anxiety and uncertainty of how they will make ends meet and secure the basic necessities has come to an end. We are NY Strong!”
Senator Jamaal Bailey said, “Governor Cuomo issued an executive order requiring that New Yorkers wear face masks while in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19, but this mandate conflicted with an outdated penal law provision banning the use of such masks. The signing of this bill would lift a nearly 200 year old ban on wearing masks in public. As we all know, wearing a mask is crucial to stopping the spread of the virus, and no one should face increased scrutiny, harassment and potential criminal liability solely due to a conflict in an archaic law. I thank Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Carl Heastie, Assemblyman Dan Quart and Governor Cuomo for ensuring this becomes law.”
Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal said, “A global pandemic is no time to deny a person lifesaving unemployment benefits. This new law will allow New Yorkers who have lost their jobs to access unemployment benefits without having to forfeit payments due to past mistakes. People have been clamoring for this relief, and with the Governor’s signature on the bill, we are set to provide it to them.”
Assembly Member Dan Quart said, “This pandemic is far from over. That’s why it is imperative we remove any barriers to people wearing face masks. Repealing this outdated law will remove any confusion over the legality of face coverings and protect New Yorkers against arrest and prosecution. I thank the Governor for signing this bill into law and ensuring everyone feels safe wearing a face mask in public.”