Andrew Cuomo must have heard supervisors lining up to skewer him Friday.
Two hours after Schoharie County took him to task for what seemed to be an 11th-hour decision not to move to the next phase of COVID-reopening, Governor Cuomo said it would, in fact, be going ahead as hoped.
“They wanted it this morning instead of one o’clock?” Governor Cuomo asked in response to a reporter’s question at his 1pm press conference.
“I never talked to anyone about timing…morning or one o’clock.”
That will likely do little to calm supervisors, who expressed their outrage after a tele-meeting with State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli that focused on COVID’s economic impacts. (See related story in this week’s Times-Journal.)
Right up until mid-day Thursday, said supervisors’ chair Bill Federice--he’s also a member of the Mohawk Valley’s Regional Control Room—“We were assured our numbers were meeting the metrics for Phase 2.”
They started getting suspicious, he said, when their afternoon meeting was moved to 7pm, “and we were told Phase 2 wasn’t ready to go yet. The numbers were still being looked at by the experts…”
Before Governor Cuomo gave Phase 2 the go-ahead, Mr. Federice called the delay disappointing; members of the group were vocal in their frustration, he said, with leaders in some other counties threatening to go ahead and reopen regardless.
“There is no indication that there’s any problem…the Governor just wants to ensure the experts are up to speed,” Mr. Federice said, “but there’s been a lot of work and a lot of disappointed people. We’ll just keep you posted.”
Esperance Supervisor Earl VanWormer slammed Governor Cuomo the hardest.
“The Governor’s gotta get his head out of his butt,” Mr. VanWormer said,
“When you come up with a plan and there’s no reason to deviate…He waited till the 11th hour, the 12th hour to tell us Phase 2 is on hold. There’s no excuse.
“Governor Cuomo should hang his head in shame.”
Summit Supervisor Harold Vroman echoed Mr. VanWormer’s words.
“They need to stop playing games and let these businesses reopen,” Mr. Vroman said.
“I’m all for safety…There will be a spike up [in COVID numbers] maybe, but that happens in everyday life. We can’t do this to people.”
Schoharie Supervisor Alan Tavenner also shared his frustration—and called on reopening guidelines that people can understand.
“You can’t plan everybody’s life and everybody’s business,” he said.
“They’re going to kill us…the economy is being killed little-by-little.”
If Phase 3—restaurants—goes ahead on time, that will happen mid-June with the final Phase 4—arts, entertainment, recreation, and education back by July 1.