Assemblyman Michael Montesano (R,C,I-Glen Head) is pleased to announce the Assembly Minority Conference is proposing the New York State Regional Restart initiative in response to the current New York on PAUSE restrictions and the future economy of the state. The initiative would take a regional approach to reopening the states economy by region based on a variety of factors and calls for a plan to be set in place by April 30. The plan would be developed by forming a panel which would include economic development and public-health experts.
While New York has the highest number of COVID-19 positive cases in the US, the numbers by region are vastly different, said Montesano. For this reason, we proposed this initiative which would reopen New York by region according to a variety of factors. This includes having the New York State Department of Health work with county health departments to determine which counties can have non-essential businesses reopen first. Social distancing and having the state paused is working, and while precautionary measures need to stay in place and we still have a long way to go in defeating the COVID-19 crisis, we need to start planning on how to help the state after this is all over. We already know millions of New Yorkers and businesses are hurting and that things will not go back to normal instantly, so this is a way to prepare communities for getting back on their feet once this outbreak is over.
Currently, the governor has extended his New York on PAUSE order until May 15, with social-distancing protocols, including a new requirement to wear masks in public places where social-distancing is not possible, still in place along with non-essential businesses remaining closed, among other restrictions. Of the nearly 250,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, nearly 95% of these cases are in the downstate area of New York.
It seems a bit unfair that counties or regions with extremely low confirmed cases be subjected to the same restrictions as locations with much higher numbers. While we need to keep New Yorkers safe, it is important for us to recognize this discrepancy and find a way to address it. This is why we are proposing a panel of experts be formed to develop a regional reopening plan by the end of April. In a time where there is so much uncertainty, we need to take steps to prepare for the eventual reopening of the state.