The Governor continues to hold his daily press briefings. For the most part, the briefings surround updates on the numbers and the state’s Coronavirus response. Today, the Governor announced that the NY on PAUSE order will be extended from April 15, 2020 to April 29, 2020. This means all non-essential businesses and schools must remain closed until then. He also announced that while it is too soon to read too deeply into the data, it appears we may be at, or close, to the apex of the outbreak. If this data holds, it means that the social distancing measures are working and that is part of the reason he announced that he would extend NY on PAUSE for another two weeks.
The Governor also noted that while many are following the social distancing guidelines, there are still too many people who are not. As a result, he will be increasing the individual fines for violating social distancing from $500 to $1,000 and he asked all local governments to step up enforcement of these provisions and to hand out fines. He stated that he hopes this will make those not taking the guidelines seriously pay attention and follow the directives.
Also, over the weekend, the Governor was asked if the legislature would be back in session this year. He announced that in his estimation, the legislature was “effectively over” for the year but that it was a decision of the two houses if they would come back. After this statement, both Assembly Speaker Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins announced that the legislature was not done for the year and that both houses are in recess but not adjourned for the year and will be back to do the people’s business as needed. Both leaders also noted that they passed resolutions that also allow them to convene remotely as needed. We still don’t know when or for how long the two houses will be back, but at this point, we are anticipating a return.
In non-COVID-19 news, as part of the state budget that was passed last week, new paid sick leave provisions will take effect in New York starting on January 1, 2021. For your reference, information prepared by our firm is included here.