ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed an executive order Friday that extends the coronavirus state of emergency to June 7, maintaining the governor's expanded legal authority to address the crisis. At the same time, the administration insisted regions of the state could still emerge from the provisions of the current "pause" if they are able to meet certain criteria.
Under the new order, New York will remain in a state of emergency until June 7; the “pause," however, currently remains in place only until May 15.
The order's legal nuances caused confusion even within the administration, as evidenced by an initial statement from Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi: "We take things month by month, and if we did nothing, (the pause and the state of emergency) would expire Saturday and everything would be open," he said in an midday Saturday interview with the Times Union, referring to May 16.
That statement was corrected later in the day by a Tweet from Cuomo's secretary Melissa DeRosa: "NY ON PAUSE was NOT extended to June 6. Yesterday's Executive Order extended the underlying legal authority for the (initial) executive order BUT did not change the text of any of the directives in NY ON PAUSE & so the expiration date on May 15 still stands until further notice."
In his own subsequent Tweet, Azzopardi apologized for providing "less than accurate information and I am sorry for the confusion. I have a lot of calls to make."
Under the criteria announced last week by Cuomo's administration, any of the state's 10 economic regions can begin the first phase of reopening if it can meet the following conditions:
- A 14-day decline in hospitalizations and hospital deaths (or fewer than 15 new hospitalizations and five deaths in a three-day average);
- New hospitalizations remain less than two per 100,000 residents on a three-day average;
- Hospitals maintain 30 percent vacancy of their bed capacity for any resurgence, including intensive care units;
- Monthly COVID-19 testing of at least 30 of every 1,000 residents in a region;
- At least 30 "contact tracers" per 100,000 residents;
- Hospitals in each region must have a 90-day stockpile of personal protective equipment.
Also Saturday, Broome County Executive Jason Garner said on Twitter that his county and the Southern Tier economic zone "have met all guidelines for the first phase of business to reopen on May 15. Reopening guidance will be available early next week."