New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated in a new press conference on Monday that reopening the Empire State will be a “delicate balance.”
In a live-streamed video published by The New York Times, the governor used gears as a metaphor to describe the balance after a reporter asked about the possibility of non-essential employees returning to work.
“You have three big gears. You have transportation, you have economic, you have schools. You want to start turning one gear… they all intermesh, you have to turn the other two gears. You can’t tell me to go back to work… in New York City if you don’t have the transit system,” Cuomo said.
“All these things have to be coordinated, and they have to be coordinated on a state-wide basis,” he added, claiming there had to be “one plan at the end of the day.”
Transportation was not the only practicality the governor touched on.
“Who’s going to watch my children if the schools are closed?” he added. “For many working people in New York, the education system is who watches their children during the day.”
The decision whether to reopen schools has been a particularly politically fraught one. Though New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that districts in the city would remain closed for the rest of the academic year, Cuomo immediately hit back, stating that the decision to close down schools in the Big Apple — which contains 1.1 million students — was in his purview, per The Guardian.
Later in the press conference, Cuomo also noted that another complicating factor in the reopening process would be coordinating with neighboring states like New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Cuomo specifically emphasized New Jersey and Connecticut, claiming that the two states comprised a significant amount of the workforce in New York City and that there was a “total interconnection” among them.
Though the governor had previously voiced his optimism about the pandemic, stating he believed the “worst” was over, he was quick to temper his earlier remarks.
“Stay the course, stay the course,” he repeated, emphasizing that the stay-at-home orders had been effective and that New Yorkers should continue to adhere to them.
Cuomo added that more details would be coming in an announcement planned for later Monday afternoon, around 2:00 p.m. E.T.
New York has been the hardest hit state in the nation, with more confirmed cases than any country in the world. Over 10,000 people have died in the state from complications related to COVID-19 since March; on Monday alone, an addition 671 deaths were reported.