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Andrew Cuomo’s inside-dining rules for the city are absurd and unfair – New York Post

September 10, 2020 | 8:01pm

It took 6 months, a $2 billion lawsuit, the risk of losing nearly three-quarters of the city’s restaurants and public shaming from the president for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to finally OK indoor dining in the city — and he’s still insisting on absurd and unfair restrictions.

It’s not just that it has to wait ’til the end of the month. Beyond the standard mask and social-distancing rules, the gov orders all eateries to close by midnight — just the latest in his long string of “don’t have too much fun” edicts.

Plus, unlike casinos, they must take customers’ temperatures on entry and get (and keep) contact info to allow for the tracing of any outbreaks.

It may make sense to start off by limiting seating to a quarter of pre-COVID capacity — but Cuomo should offer clear guidelines on the conditions (e.g., no significant uptick in new cases) for quickly moving the bar up to 50 percent. If it proves safe, the limits need to loosen, fast: The hospitality industry is drowning after six months on the sidelines.

Restaurants in most of New York, including counties next to the city, have been open at 50 percent capacity since June. Why would eateries here be higher-risk than those in Buffalo, Rochester or Albany?

Bowling alleys opened a few weeks ago at half capacity. City gyms are open at 33 percent capacity and malls at 50 percent; each museum gets to set its own regulations. But Cuomo — with Mayor de Blasio cheering him on — continues to inexplicably single out restaurants as a special source of danger.

The extra restrictions make even less sense next to public-transportation guidelines, which basically stop at the mask requirement.

Strangers can huddle into a packed subway train, but it’s too dangerous to eat a meal in the same room as more than 10 other people? When the city’s overall infection rate hasn’t surpassed 1 percent in a month? Just doesn’t compute.

Cuomo has claimed that New York City needs more careful monitoring because its spread rate is higher and people tend to ignore the social-distancing guidelines. But the stats suggest otherwise: The city’s infection rate has consistently mirrored that of the rest of the state for months now.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who joined a host of restaurant owners in suing Cuomo over his failure to reopen the city in a timely manner, says the suit will proceed until the gov allows 50 percent restaurant capacity. Good.

It’s past time to give this industry some hope of survival — at the very least, the same hope it has in the rest of New York.

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Andrew Cuomo's

Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 tall tales – New York Post

Gov. Andrew Cuomo must have a short memory — either that or he’s just trying to distract attention from his administration’s deadly coronavirus failures by criticizing President Trump’s many lifesaving actions.

During a recent press conference, Cuomo took yet another cheap shot at Trump, arguing that the president’s handling of the COVID-19 ­pandemic was somehow worse than the infamous Watergate scandal.

“You look at the facts, the facts clearly demonstrate Trump was wrong from Day One, and New Yorkers have been right from Day One,” Cuomo bragged.

The problem is that Cuomo has been resoundingly — and tragically — wrong about the pandemic himself. And unlike the Trump “scandal” that exists only within Cuomo’s imagination, Cuomo’s failure of leadership has been very real. More people have died of COVID-19 in New York than in any other state — at least 6,000 of them in our nursing homes. That is not something to be proud of.

On March 25, Cuomo’s Department of Health issued a mandate forcing New York nursing homes to admit coronavirus patients — a move that alarmed infectious-disease experts nationwide.

“If you introduce 4,500 people sick with a potentially lethal disease into a vulnerable and notoriously imperfectly monitored population, people are apt to die,” said Dr. Charles Branas, chairman of the Epidemiology Department at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

The executive director of the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, Christopher Laxton, also sharply condemned Cuomo for failing to consult clinical experts prior to implementing the policy.

After blistering criticism, the controversial mandate mysteriously disappeared from the Department of Health Web site, but it took almost two months for ­Cuomo to officially revise the deadly order. By that point, the damage had already been done. Many New York nursing homes had become breeding grounds for the virus, which turned out to be particularly dangerous to the elderly and infirm — exactly the sort of people who reside in nursing homes.

The Department of Health has now published its own report defending the March 25 order, but my colleagues and I are preparing for a public hearing and calling for an independent probe into the ­Cuomo administration’s mandate to make sure we get the full, unvarnished truth.

The people of New York, nursing-home staff and the families of coronavirus victims deserve real answers from their governor — not deflection and partisan sniping.

Meanwhile, in contrast to ­Cuomo, President Trump has gone above and beyond to help New York win its battle against the virus, providing federal assistance whenever we needed it most. For instance, the White House deployed a Navy hospital ship, USNS Comfort, to Manhattan, which ­Cuomo himself admitted “not only brought comfort but also saved lives” in New York City.

At the president’s direction, the Army Corps of Engineers worked closely with state authorities to convert the Javits Convention Center and Westchester County Center into dedicated COVID-19 hospitals.

Trump also secured thousands of ventilators for New York (that we ultimately, fortunately, did not need) and millions of items of personal protective equipment for our first responders and health-care workers. Our heroes were unable to rely on Cuomo or Mayor Bill de Blasio, but they were able to count on Trump.

Not long ago, the New York governor openly praised the president’s response to the pandemic, cheering that Trump “delivered for New York” and that “by and large [his strategy] has worked.”

After the outbreak of the pandemic, I was careful not to pass early judgment against our elected leaders and their handling of the coronavirus. The loss of people’s lives should never become a partisan issue, but Cuomo has made it clear that he is all-in on politicizing this virus, even as it has already killed more than 32,000 of our fellow New Yorkers.

Cuomo’s desperate attempts to shift blame for his own failures onto the federal government must not distract us from the facts: New Yorkers must hold Gov. Cuomo and his administration accountable for their deadly failures.

Kevin Byrne represents the 94th Assembly District, including portions of Westchester and Putnam counties, and serves as the ranking minority member of the Assembly Health Committee.

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