Governor Cuomo just held a press conference announcing New York State is on PAUSE (Policies Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone). This new declaration will supersede the executive order just issued last night that was going to limit non-essential businesses from having more than 25% of their workforce on the job. This new policy means that non-essential businesses can have no workers on site. This is a developing situation, and we anticipate that we will see a new executive order outlining the details of his announcement.
While the requirements regarding employees of non-essential employees has just been changed again, the executive order from last night had already ordered the closure of barbershops, nail and hair salons, tattoo shops, and similar services. That round of business closings is being done in conjunction with New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The executive order from last night also allows notaries to perform services via video.
The biggest question regarding today’s announcement is what businesses are essential vs. non-essential. The Governor directed Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) to release guidance on this issue. The full order can be found here. The guidance also indicates: “[w]ith respect to business or entities that operate or provide both essential and non-essential services, supplies or support, only those lines and/or business operations that are necessary to support the essential services, supplies, or support are exempt from the restrictions.”
For businesses that are still unclear regarding their classification, ESD has established an online form that they can fill out. The form can be found here. We understand that the guidance may create some questions, and we would be happy to discuss the guidance with you.
On the budget front, the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) II met via conference call and approved their final recommendations and report, which will now go to the Governor. These recommendations were designed to find $2.5 billion in savings within the New York Medicaid program. This process was started before the Coronavirus crisis, and the budget director noted that these recommendations will still be used but may be coupled with other budget actions to address the very different financial landscape being faced.
Now that these recommendations have been finalized, they will become part of the negotiations as they push for a final budget deal. The hope is still to finish the budget negotiations as soon as possible, but the official deadline is April 1.