NEW YORK — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a COVID-19 update Wednesday morning in New York City.
During the press conference, Gov. Cuomo announced that New York State's COVID-19 state of emergency will expire on Thursday. The governor says the state of emergency will not be renewed; however, federal CDC guidance will continue to stay in place.
"The emergency is over," Cuomo said. "The state of emergency that I had declared in consultation with Commissioner Zucker - a health emergency - it expires tomorrow [Thursday]. It will not be renewed. It will punctuate the expiration of the emergency that we have been in because New Yorkers rallied and essential workers rallied."
This means face masks will still be required in certain settings for anyone who is unvaccinated. According to Cuomo, local governments may continue to enforce mask requirements where those rules are still in effect.
Cuomo says the focus now is on reimagining, rebuilding and renewing New York in the wake of COVID, and learning from this experience.
"We've learned a lot since last year," Cuomo said. "We've learned many lessons during COVID. So we're not going to just rebuild, we're going to reimagine New York. What did we learn? And now we're going to reconstruct, and how do we reconstruct it better than ever before? How do we use this moment of rebuilding and reconstruction to reimagine New York?"
To honor the essential workers who showed up and worked throughout the pandemic and lockdown orders, Gov. Cuomo says New York State will open the new "Circle of Heroes Monument to Essential Workers" on Labor Day. The monument was designed by a group representing the essential workers in New York State, and will be located in Battery Park City.
In addition, Gov. Cuomo announced that New York State will provide $25 million in child care scholarships to essential workers. According to Cuomo, this will extend support for working families as CARES Act scholarships come to an end. More information about the child care scholarships can be found online here.
Cuomo says the task now is to learn from the pandemic so the strain on essential workers is manageable the next time New York State encounters a situation like this. The governor stressed that New York State will be better prepared.
Cuomo says this begins now with signing the "Safe Staffing Bills" into law. According to the governor, the Safe Staffing Bills will help healthcare facilities better plan and prepare for future challenges going forward.
Under these laws, healthcare facilities will be required to "establish clinical staffing committees of nurses, administrators, and staffers providing direct care, that are charged with developing safe staffing plans." These plans must be implemented by January 1, and Cuomo says the New York State Department of Health will police and regulate those plans to make sure they are implemented.