New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo are once again at odds over vaccine distribution.
Mayor de Blasio spoke out against Governor Cuomo at a state budget hearing, saying the city’s vaccine distribution, which includes the new Citi Field location is getting slowed down by red tape in Albany.
“Localities know what’s best for them, counties, cities, towns know what’s best for them and their people,” de Blasio said. “Let our local leaders, elected leaders, and public health officials make decisions that work for them. The power has to go back to localities.”
Governor Cuomo’s communications director released a statement that said, “As far as the mayor saying he knows what he’s doing, I respectfully suggest that every public poll suggests the people of NYC strongly disagree.”
Governor Cuomo will actually be at the White House Friday morning to meet with President Biden.
He is part of a bipartisan group of governors and mayors discussing that massive COVID relief bill.
Cuomo has praised President Biden’s handling of the vaccine, a complete 180 from his relationship with President Trump.
The Biden administration is now shipping the vaccine direct to pharmacies.
In New York City, that means an initial shipment of 26,000. That’s 500 doses to 250 Duane Reades, Walgreens, Rite Aids, and Costcos, starting Friday.
Outside the city, CVS is also involved.
Meantime, New York State is reporting the lowest positivity rate since late November as restaurants reopen indoor dining at 25% capacity in NYC on Friday.
By all accounts, outdoor dining in the dead of a cold, snowy winter has been a dismal failure for most restaurants in the city.
“The most helpful thing to do is bring back indoor dining in a safe way,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Adams joined other elected officials in demanding a reprieve that restaurants be allowed to re-open at 50% of capacity and that the mandatory closing time be extended from 10 p.m. to midnight.
“If we don’t act quickly, we’re gonna lose our neighborhood restaurants,” said Randy Peers, President, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “And New York City is going to look very different this time next year.”
The decision is up to Cuomo, who has insisted that indoor dining poses a unique risk of COVID-19 infection.
There is a move in the state legislature to limit the governor’s emergency powers.
Cuomo warned New Yorkers not to “let their guard down” despite the updated CDC guidance.
“Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance regarding quarantine following exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. According to the guidance, ‘asymptomatic fully vaccinated individuals’, meaning those who have received both shots and at least two weeks have passed since the second shot, are no longer required to quarantine within 90 days after the second shot. From the outset of the pandemic, New York State has followed the science and listened to the experts, and quarantine requirements only for New Yorkers who have received both shots will be similarly updated to reflect the CDC’s new guidance. However, the science regarding COVID transmissibility post-vaccination remains unsettled, and this updated guidance is not an all-clear for New Yorkers to let their guard down. All New Yorkers, including those who have been fully vaccinated, should continue to wear masks, social distance, and be smart until herd immunity is reached and this pandemic is fully relegated to the history books,” Governor Cuomo and NY Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement on Thursday.”