The governor said Sunday he was upping capacity from 50 percent to 75 percent everywhere other than
The move came the same day Cuomo signed a bill stripping himself of his emergency executive powers amid the growing sexual harassment and nursing home deaths scandal.
Cuomo is facing mounting calls to resign from State
Meanwhile, this week he was also forced to deny claims that his aides massaged the data on COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes back in July in order to hide the true extent of the crisis after an order meant infected patients were sent back to facilities.
Governor Andrew Cuomo (above) has announced that restaurants across most of New York will be able to welcome indoor diners at 75 percent capacity later this month – but has left the hard-hit Big Apple stuck at 35 percent
Cuomo announced a relaxation to the state’s COVID-19 restrictions for restaurants in a call with reporters as he said it was ‘very good news’ for business owners and that he believes the ‘consumer is ready’ for the change.
‘That is all very good news. It’s not just good news for the restaurant owners, remember you have a lot of good restaurants. There are a lot of jobs for a lot of suppliers. So we’ll go to 75 percent,’ he said.
‘We also think that 75 percent is what the consumer is ready for, all the same safety capacities remain in effect, but we will go to 75 percent.’
The date of the change coincides with the date restaurants in Connecticut move to 100 percent indoor capacity, he added.
However, the governor warned however that the easing of restrictions is dependent on continued progress on the state’s COVID-19 numbers.
‘As a caveat. Between now and March 19, if the numbers change, if something happens, if there’s a downturn then obviously, we will adjust with the new law that the legislature passed,’ he said.
The statewide positivity rate fell to 2.98 percent and there were 4,789 people hospitalized with the virus.
Saturday marked the lowest death count since December 6 as 59 people died.
While the relaxation will be welcome news to restaurant owners across most regions of the state, for eateries in New York City there is no increase in capacity for now.
Indoor dining only reopened in the Big Apple on February 12 at 25 percent capacity before rising to 35 percent two weeks later on February 26.
Diners in NYC on February 12 when indoor dining reopened in the city at 25 percent
The governor said Sunday he was upping capacity from 50 percent to 75 percent in restaurants everywhere other than New York City from March 19
The restaurant industry was crippled by months of closures during lockdown while the Big Apple was the epicenter of the global pandemic.
Restaurants were shuttered for months with indoor dining only reopening on September at 25 percent before closing again in December.
There was some additional relief for the industry this week when the Senate passed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, including $28.6 billion for restaurants impacted by the pandemic.
The NYC Hospitality Alliance tweeted that the package will help save ‘countless’ workers and jobs in the industry.
‘Today, the U.S. Senate passed the American Rescue Plan, which includes $28.6 billion for dedicated restaurant relief to help save countless small businesses and jobs!’ it read.
‘Thank you @SenSchumer + so many for their partnership, advocacy and support.’
The federal funding and Cuomo’s relaxation of COVID-19 rules in parts of the state will provide some help to hard-hit restaurants however Cuomo added that the New York state legislature can now reject the state’s move.
‘The legislature has five days to review the change,’ he said.
‘And we’ll discuss it with any members of the legislature or local governments who have issues. [The] legislature has the ability to cancel it with 50 percent of the vote.’
There was some additional relief for the industry this week when the Senate passed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, including $28.6 billion for restaurants impacted by the pandemic. The NYC Hospitality Alliance tweeted that the package will help save ‘countless’ workers and jobs in the industry
The legislature’s position comes after Cuomo signed a bill to remove himself of his expanded emergency executive powers Sunday, following a vote by state lawmakers last week.
The New York State Senate passed a bill Friday by a 43-20 vote to rescind the powers which were handed to Cuomo to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The State Assembly followed later Friday, voting 107-43 to strip the governor of his emergency powers.
Cuomo’s additional emergency authority was approved in the early days of the pandemic last year, and designed to give him sweeping powers to rapidly change laws, in the midst of the public health emergency.
Cuomo was not able to veto it due to the vote margin but said he backed the move anyway.
Now, he can only create new directives or extend existing ones with the Legislature’s approval.
The repeal came as calls mount for Cuomo to resign or be impeached as the list of women accusing him of sexual harassment continues to grow.
Two women came forward with allegations on Saturday, bringing the total to five and prompting State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to call for Cuomo’s resignation Sunday.
‘For the good of the state Governor Cuomo must resign,’ said Stewart-Cousins, a fellow Democrat who has publicly sparred with Cuomo in the past.
‘Every day there is another account that is drawing away from the business of government.’
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (above) called for Cuomo’s resignation as he was stripped of his emergency powers
An electronic billboard in Albany displays a message that reads ‘Resign Now’ for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the wake of allegations that he sexually harassed young women
‘We have allegations about sexual harassment, a toxic work environment, the loss of credibility surrounding the COVID-19 nursing home data and questions about the construction of a major infrastructure project,’ the majority leader added, referring to the numerous controversies swirling in Albany.
Fox News reported that a total of 37 legislators have now called for resignation – including Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie – and another 10 have demanded impeachment.
Impeaching Cuomo would require a majority vote in the 150-seat Assembly, followed by a two-thirds vote in favor of conviction in state Senate.
The governor has repeatedly insisted that he will not step down, including on a call with reporters on Sunday where he refuted allegations from one of his latest accusers, Karen Hinton.
Lindsey Boylan, 36, was the first person to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment.
She worked for Cuomo’s team from March 2015 to October 2018 and recounted her story of sexual harassment in the series of Twitter posts.
She then elaborated on her accusations in a February 24 blog post in which she said Cuomo once suggested a game of strip poker.
Ana Liss, 35, (pictured left) previously served as Cuomo’s policy and operations aide between 2013 and 2015 but claims he subjected her to sexual misconduct during her time in his administration. Karen Hinton (right) claims the governor summoned her to his ‘dimly lit’ hotel room and embraced her after a work event in 2000 before she managed to escape
Charlotte Bennett, 25, worked as an aide for Cuomo. She claims he sexually harassed her and left her ‘terrified’
Anna Ruch, 33, (left) claimed Cuomo behaved inappropriately at a Manhattan wedding in September 2019. Lindsey Boylan, 36, (right) claims Cuomo commented on her appearance inappropriately, kissed her without her consent and went out of his way to touch her on her lower back, arms and leg
Ex and current Cuomo staffers say they’re ‘waking up to the fact they were in a cult’
Nearly a dozen former and current staffers have detailed to Gothamist/WNYC the working culture inside Gov Cuomo’s office after he was accused of sexual harassment.
Some of the staffers say they weren’t surprised by the allegations given what they claim is a bullying environment and intense work culture inside Cuomo’s office.
Former staffers have described working there as having ‘Stockholm syndrome’, while others said they’re ‘kind of waking up to the fact that we were in a cult’.
Some said Cuomo was a ‘micromanager to the 100th degree’ and had a tough management style.
One staffer who had a fellowship when she was in her 20s in 2013 described how she was quickly set up near Cuomo’s office, with staffers later telling her the governor liked blondes.
She was also told to wear stilettos when in the Albany office.
Some staffers, however, refuted the toxic workplace notions.
‘I think everyone there wants to do the best work they can. Sometimes that work-life balance is sacrificed. I was definitely burned out by the end of my time there. I didn’t take it personally,’ the staffer said.
Boylan claims the unwanted advances included an unsolicited kiss on the lips in Cuomo’s New York City office. The governor has denied these allegations.
Charlotte Bennett, 25, became the second woman to come forward.
She worked as a health policy adviser in the New York governor’s administration. She was hired in the spring of 2019 and swiftly promoted to senior briefer and executive assistant only a few months later.
She claimed he sexually harassed her, asking her questions about her sex life and telling her he would consider dating ‘anyone above the age of 22’ – she is 25.
A third accuser, Anna Ruch, 33, then came forward telling the NYT that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her after meeting her at a September 2019 wedding.
Cuomo said this week he was apologizing to ‘people’ who were uncomfortable with his conduct but insisted he has never ‘touched anyone’ inappropriately.
‘I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,’ Cuomo said.
‘It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.’
On Saturday, Hinton, 62, and Ana Liss, 35, made their separate allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo.
Hinton told the Washington Post about a 2000 incident when she said Cuomo summoned her to his ‘dimly lit’ hotel room and embraced her after a work event.
She said she tried to pull away from Cuomo when he pulled her back and held her before she managed to escape the room.
Cuomo said Sunday Hinton’s allegations were ‘not true’ and labeled her a ‘long-time political adversary of mine’.
Liss, who previously served as Cuomo’s policy and operations aide between 2013 and 2015, told the Wall Street Journal that during her time in his administration, the governor had subjected her to unsolicited advances, including touching her lower back, kissing her hand and quizzing her about her love life.
Cuomo said Sunday: ‘There is no way I resign. Let the attorney general do the investigation and go from there.’
The governor added that he will not be ‘distracted’ from tackling the pandemic by the allegations.
The bombshell claims come amid the ongoing COVID-19 nursing home deaths scandal.
On Friday, his office was forced to deny claims his aides massaged the data on the deaths back in July in order to hide the true extent of the crisis after a bombshell report this week claimed Cuomo’s office asked the state health department to change its definition of COVID-19 nursing home deaths.
A bombshell report this week claimed Cuomo’s office asked the state health department to change its definition of COVID-19 nursing home deaths back in July to mask the extent of the crisis
They said Cuomo’s top aides requested the state health department remove the hospital deaths from the figures before the report was made public.
This revision resulted in the report detailing 6,432 nursing home deaths up to that point – a significant undercount of the actual death toll and down from the almost 10,000 which were included in the initial version of the report.
Cuomo’s most senior aides allegedly did not want to make that number public as the governor was under fire for an earlier directive that ordered infected patients to be sent back to facilities.
The true number of deaths among nursing home residents only became clear this year following a review by the state attorney general.