May 20, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that Memorial Day services to honor those who have died while serving in the military will be allowed to go ahead this weekend – with restrictions.
Ceremonies with a maximum of 10 people in attendance will be permitted, the governor said at a press briefing Tuesday.
The state will also allow vehicle-only parades to take part in ceremonies, he said.
“It is an important American tradition and we want to honor our veterans,” Cuomo said.
“I think we can do that and do it safely, he added.
Cuomo said that while he was granting permission for the services to proceed, the final decision will ultimately rest with local authorities.
Non-essential gatherings of people have been prohibited since March under the state’s stay-at-home order but the governor said he wanted families and veterans to be able to mark the occasion.
He hoped the ceremonies would be broadcast on TV to allow New Yorkers to participate in the tradition.
The announcement comes as key COVID-19 indicators continue to decline and government restrictions ease
There were 105 new deaths recorded across the state Monday and new hospital admissions are averaging at 335 per day, he said, citing official state data.
“We are back to where we started before this tragedy descended upon us,” he said.
Long Island, where the governor was speaking, is losing around 13 people per day to the virus compared to a high of about 100, he said.
“We saved many, many lives,” Cuomo said.
Albany and the Capital Region will begin reopening their economies from Wednesday, May 20, having met the state’s seven health-related requirements, he said. They will join Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley. The Western New York region began its re-opening phase on Tuesday.
New York City, Long Island and Mid-Hudson have still not made the state’s threshold to reopen.
The city has only met four of the seven metrics required to begin reopening. It still falls short on having at least 30 percent of both hospital beds and ICU beds available. The city also has insufficient levels of diagnostic and contact tracing capacity – but is on track to meet that metric, according to the state’s regional monitoring dashboard.
The governor also announced that the state will pilot a new program that will allow visitors into some hospitals. Mount Sinai Queens is among the sixteen hospitals named in the program which will begin on May 26.