NEW YORK (NEWS10) — On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a press conference from the Javits Center in New York City. He announced the completion of an expansion at the Javits Center—a 50% increase across five new floors—projects to better access the waterfront in Buffalo and Albany, and new construction at New York City’s Port Authority, Laguardia and JFK Airports, and the Belmont Arena.
On COVID numbers, Cuomo said that the state’s 1.5% positivity rate is less than half that of the national average:
And on vaccinations:
Cuomo said that New York plans to participate in and coordinate an initiative from Uber and Lyft to offer free rides to vaccination sites. Cuomo said that initiative will focus on young people, and that he is looking ahead to New York’s recovery in a post-COVID landscape.
“I believe that this is a moment of global transformation and reconfiguration,” Cuomo said. “This is not business as usual.” With that, he announced a $750 million Regional Economic Development Council Initiative:
Cuomo said that New Yorkers in different regions have until July 30 to apply for economic development awards to aid in the recovery from the pandemic. He called for big ideas and bold action: “If you come up with a smart plan and a daring plan, the state of New York will fund it,” he said.
During the question and answer period, Cuomo responded to the idea of vaccinating children as young as 12 with Pfizer doses and requiring immunization to attend school:
“Just so we’re clear on the law of it—you’re right, it would require a state law to mandate the vaccine. And you cannot mandate any of these vaccines yet, because they are all emergency use authorization. A state cannot mandate a vaccine that is authorized by emergency use. It has to receive a full federal approval first,” Cuomo said. “That could take months. Obviously, if it takes months, that gets you past September, where there would be a logical decision point.”
“Would you mandate the vaccine?” the governor mused. “I don’t know if there’s going to be a federal approval in time for that.” Cuomo said that, in case there is federal approval in time, we will cross that bridge when we come to it. “I’m not saying that we’re considering doing it, but it would be a topic of discussion—if you had the federal approval.”
Cuomo said that when reopening venues for ballgames or indoor theatres, there are differences in social distancing recommendations for vaccinated or unvaccinated people. Still, everyone must still wear a mask, even indoors, he said. This follows CDC guidance, according to the governor. “We’re now keeping that [federal CDC] guidance” until or unless it changes.
Cuomo also announced a new public awareness campaign about rebuilding New York City and State, narrated by Robert De Niro, Whoopi Goldberg, and Billy Joel.
This was another stop on Cuomo’s vaccine publicity tour. He echoed many of his old standby themes about the toughness of New Yorkers facing the ambush of the pandemic. He touted the Javits Center as both the largest field hospital and largest mass vaccination site in the country.
“It’s a new day today,” Cuomo said while restating many ideas he’s articulated over the past several months. The governor talked about his vision for the state in a post-COVID world. He has said for months that New York will come back stronger than ever before, as in the days following Superstorm Sandy and 9/11.
Cuomo also reminded viewers of ongoing plans for $29 billion in renewable energy investments and statewide broadband accessibility.