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Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay Calls For “New York State Regional Restart”

Panel Would Develop Reopening Guidelines by April 30

Submitted by the Assembly Minority Leader

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R,C,I,Ref.-Pulaski) and members of the Assembly Minority Conference today called for the development of a plan to guide the state’s reopening for businesses on a phased-in, regional basis. The “New York State Regional Restart” proposal presents a series of recommendations, and would create a panel of economic-development and public-health experts to develop a reopening plan by April 30.

A copy of the proposal is available here.

“It’s time to look forward and come up with a plan – within the next 10 days – on how to facilitate the recovery of New York State on a regional basis,” Leader Barclay said. “Precautionary measures need to stay in place, and there is a long way to go in the COVID-19 fight. But we have a wide variation in the prevalence of the virus from region to region. It is incumbent upon us to be prepared and to show a commitment to getting communities back up and running. The governor is actively working with other states on opening the economy in the northeast part of the country. The same conversations need to take place here, with an inward focus that prioritizes a regional restart within our own borders.”

Last week, Gov. Cuomo extended his “New York on Pause” order until May 15, keeping social-distancing protocols, business closures and other restrictions in place. In the past four weeks, New York State has seen 1.2 million jobless claims, and the financial impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is estimated to create a $10- to $15-billion budget deficit. New York has reported more than 240,000 cases of COVID-19. Of that number, roughly 92 percent of the confirmed cases are in the downstate regions of New York City, Long Island, Westchester and Rockland counties.

As part of the proposal, the state would create a panel of experts, including agency commissioners, advocacy organizations and appointees from legislative leaders, to develop regional reopening guidance by the end of April. Part of the panel’s work would incorporate public health experts to develop a formula where specific areas could reopen in a limited capacity based on factors such as rates of infection, population density and risk levels.

“We have counties with fewer than 10 positive cases of COVID-19 that are under the same restrictions as counties with more than 30,000,” Leader Barclay said. “Gov. Cuomo has a task force working with New Jersey, Connecticut and surrounding states on northeast recovery. He has a task force dedicated solely to downstate recovery. Something’s missing. It’s time to develop a plan that’s more than a statewide order and starts to get communities up and running again.”