Cuomo Will No Longer Have The Power To Dictate COVID-19 Rules
The heads of both chambers of the New York State Legislature have come out and announced that lawmakers have come to an agreement to strip Governor Andrew Cuomo of emergency powers given to him at the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Both Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced Wednesday that the Legislature will vote to take away Governor Cuomo's ability to dictate the rules and regulations regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic. The leaders say policies that are in place now will remain in effect.
The emergency powers, that are set to expire on April 30th anyway, were first given to Cuomo as a way to allow quick responses to the Global crisis when it was new and there were so many unknowns. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins says,
I think everyone understands where we were back in March and where we are now. We certainly see the need for a quick response but also want to move toward a system of increased oversight, and review. The public deserves to have checks and balances.
Throughout the last year the emergency powers granted to the governor were beneficial in some ways, mostly for expediency, but it also caused confusion and frustration for local leaders. When can restaurants open? Why are 4 people at a table okay, but not 5? Why can entertainment venues open at 10% capacity in a 10,000 capacity stadium, but not a 4,000 capacity area? State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said it best when he simply said,
A year into the pandemic, and as New Yorkers receive the vaccine, the temporary emergency powers have served their purpose – it is time for them to be repealed.
While the current regulations regarding vaccine distribution and eligibility, face covering rules and other protocol will remain in place any new guidelines or regulations will have to be presented to Senate and Assembly committee chairs and other top state officials. The law does state that Cuomo can modify certain regulations by executive order such as vaccine eligibility and numbers at restaurants.
What will benefit county leaders across the state is the provision in the legislation that will give them the opportunity to comment on and receive notice of new orders. Some argue those areas impacted by blanket regulations should have had a say to begin with. This provision will allow for that. The vote is expected to happen any day.
LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions
While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.