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New York Capital Brief: November 19, 2020

Several Democrats Declare Victory in Key Senate Races

This week, six Democrats declared victory in highly contested New York Senate races, bringing the Democrats closer to reaching a supermajority and quite possibly the largest Democratic majority in the New York’s history. Currently, the Senate Democrats hold 40 seats and need to pick up two additional seats to reach the veto-proof majority.

There are still four key Senate races that have yet to be called – a delay attributed to the counting of some 1.9 million mail-in ballots that have overwhelmed many local boards of elections and legal action.

NY COVID Cases Spike Across State

On Wednesday, NYC Mayor de Blasio announced that the entire NYC public school system will close for in-person learning on Thursday, as COVID rates continue to increase. The Mayor also said that it is highly likely that indoor dining and gyms will be forced to reclose in the coming weeks.

COVID cases continue to increase in areas around New York including Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland and Westchester counties. Western NY, the Finger Lakes, Central NY, and counties that border Pennsylvania are also experiencing unprecedented spikes. The Governor continues to utilize his micro cluster strategy, which sets various limitations for gatherings, businesses, and schools within the hotspot “zones.”

Cuomo Threatens to Sue Trump

On Sunday at Manhattan’s Riverside Church, Governor Cuomo delivered remarks that threatened to sue the Trump administration if it’s COVID vaccine distribution plan is not amended to ensure equitable vaccine distribution to minority communities. Governor Cuomo was joined by leaders of the Urban League and the NAACP, two organizations of many that have publicly committed their support to the Governors efforts.

NYC Comptroller Sues NYC Mayor over COVID Prep

2021 Mayoral candidate and current City Comptroller, Scott Stringer, has filed a petition with the Manhattan Supreme Court this week seeking access to internal documents related to the City’s early pandemic response. The comptroller’s office is requesting all information that was used to make large-scale decisions, including school closures and PPE purchases and distribution, all as part of an investigation into the shortcomings and successes of the City’s response.

NY’s Travel Advisory Changes

Under Executive Order, New York has implemented a COVID testing requirement for those entering/re-entering NY from other states and from countries at Level 2 and 3 COVID-risk.

According to the Order, instead of a mandatory 14-day quarantine, all people* entering NY will have to bring proof of a negative COVID test. The results must be from a test taken within three days of coming into NY from a non-contiguous state.** Upon arrival, all travelers must quarantine for three days. On the fourth day, the traveler must get another test. Once the second test comes back negative, the person is no longer required to quarantine.

*Essential workers will continue to be exempt from this mandate.
**These new rules do not apply to PA, NJ, VA, MA, or CT, although non-essential travel is highly discouraged.