Cuomo and Trump at an impasse

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks during a press conference Feb. 12. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

The steps that state authorities have taken to curtail the spread of COVID-19 turned even more drastic Monday morning.

In a joint news conference with his colleagues from Connecticut and New Jersey, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced several measures restricting mass gatherings. Beginning Monday night, bars and restaurants were limited to delivery and take-out services; they were offered waivers for take-out alcohol.

In addition, he limited recreational and social activities to 50 people. Casinos, gyms and movie theaters were temporarily closed as well.

Mr. Cuomo said that he, Connecticut Gov. Edward M. Lamont and New Jersey Gov. Philip D. Murphy agreed to these uniform regulations to thwart residents from traveling to a neighboring state to patronize these types of businesses. He said the rules will remain in place until further notice.

“Our primary goal right now is to slow the spread of this virus so that the wave of new infections doesn’t crash our health care system, and everyone agrees social distancing is the best way to do that,” Mr. Cuomo said in a news release issued Monday. “This is not a war that can be won alone, which is why New York is partnering with our neighboring states to implement a uniform standard that not only keeps our people safe but also prevents ‘state shopping’ where residents of one state travel to another and vice versa.”

Granted, the governor has a lot on his plate right now. We appreciate his determination to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and spare the health care industry as much grief as possible. We also recognize that Mr. Cuomo is listening to experts on infectious diseases and commend him for doing so.

But businesses affected by his mandate have some unanswered questions. Many of the bars, gyms, movie theaters and restaurants will be forced to close for good if they continue losing money for a period of time. Is the state prepared to invest the substantial amount of revenue needed to keep these merchants operating?

And what about their employees? How will they make ends meet?

Mr. Cuomo recently signed an executive order waiving the seven-day waiting period for unemployment insurance for anyone whose job was disrupted by the pandemic. This is good news as these individuals will have quicker access to this financial resource.

But unemployment insurance only offers a portion of someone’s weekly wages. What will people who have been laid off do to make up the rest of what they need to pay all their bills?

Picking up work elsewhere will soon become much more difficult. A wider circle of businesses will be hit before too long, and they’ll likely have to lay off their workers as well. And once many of these people lose their jobs, they’ll also lose their health insurance — how will that benefit the crisis?

It’s easy to say that the businesses subject to these restrictions aren’t as essential as others, so the economy shouldn’t suffer too much. But this ignores the reality that businesses in a community support each other. They hire residents as employees, who use their wages to patronize surrounding companies.

It’s worth noting that Mr. Cuomo didn’t order shopping malls or retail stores to close — not yet, anyway. Why direct some businesses to scale back their operations but not others?

That’s because authorities accept some risks in balancing how these policies should be drafted. We could close all firms across the country to greatly reduce the likelihood of spreading the virus. If keeping people out of some places will help the situation, why not go all the way?

The reason is we simply cannot put the United States on hold “until further notice.” We depend on the economy and must keep it moving forward. Halting all commercial activity would itself put numerous lives at risk, and this would counter the good we’re trying to accomplish in quashing this health crisis.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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(10) comments

Holmes -- the real one

Where is all of that trickle down?


This is an unprecedented event in our lifetime. It's going to take a while for things to get worked out. I'm thankful now that I decided to take a "preppers" approach a couple of years ago. Me and mine are in a better situation than some. I'm confidant our state leaders will try to do right for all.


Wait a minute!

There are merits to considering a "stop everything" approach.

An example of the thinking around "stop everything":

An all-out war that's relatively short will result in fewer infections, fewer deaths, and, in the long run, less economic devastation. The proposal is to "Stop everything" for two weeks or so. The economic damage will be great. The Feds and states will have to pick up the pieces. But a relatively short all-out war is better than Washington continuing with its incremental approach, leading to more infections and deaths, persisting through the spring, summer and fall, or longer, resulting in an ongoing "piling on" of economic devastation, and ending in the virtual death of the American economy.

The "stop everything" plan has been likened to "the 42-day Persian Gulf War versus the more than a decade-long Vietnam War."

(Yahoo Finance. Analyst Ed Mills, Raymond James. "The case for shuttering the economy to battle coronavirus".)

The idea of altogether halting the US economy for even a relatively brief period of time verges on inconceivable for most of us. But, at one time, wasn't our present predicament inconceivable? Let's wrap our heads around "inconceivable" instead of avoiding or resisting it. Let's consider the merits of "Stop everything."

Jerry Moore Staff
Jerry Moore

zeitgeist, thank you for your input. We appreciate the feedback of readers even when they disagree with our views.

But there are two problems with your suggested solution here. First of all, no one in authority has recommended a stop everything approach, and no one in authority ever will. So it's not on the table. Secondly, a stop everything approach is not possible in any way, shape or form. Vital work needs to be accomplished by many people. But nothing would get done if no one is doing anything. How would that address the problem in any meaningful way? Take care.

Jerry Moore

Editorial page editor

Watertown Daily Times



Because no one in authority has publicly recommended a stop everything approach doesn't mean it hasn't been floated privately or that it will never be put on the table or that it won't happen (maybe, as we speak, it's happening, and we don't realize it... now the automakers are out).

I understand stop everything to mean stop all work that entails workers around workers and workers around the public, freeing workers and the public to stay home... freeing everyone to stay home. Today, 50% of workers can congregate at a workplace where, in some instances, the public is still welcome; restaurant workers can congregate for take-out service where the public is welcome, etc.-- workers are around workers; workers are around the public; the public is around the public. Stop everything would end it. It would isolate all of us. But it wouldn't mean an end to all work. Workers from many work-sectors could still work from home, where they aren't congregating around other workers or engaging with the public... a level of vital work could continue. Couldn't NNY360 carry on in some form or fashion? The exception would be healthcare-associated workers.

Stop everything is drastic but short-lived-- two weeks or so. Is it possible we could plan and prepare for it, put everything in place in order to survive the two-week storm, with the exception of healthcare-associated workers?

I didn't say I disagree with your point of view. I said we should consider the merits of stop everything. In no way did I mean to suggest that I think it's the answer. I meant to suggest that approaches that seem inconceivable could have merit and, therefore, merit our consideration.

Thank you, Mr. Moore.

You have to wonder whether we are in the process of stopping everything without recognizing or acknowledging it. Now the automakers are closing...


"But nothing would get done if no one is doing anything. How would that address the problem in any meaningful way?

Jerry- Isn't that gutless failure to act in the face of an obvious crisis how a simple virus BECAME a crisis?

No onee ever will?

Have you ever heard of "China", Jerry?

They imposed absolute STOP orders, and it worked.

Unlike Trump and his imbecilic lies "It will go away in warm weather."

Are you serious?


"But nothing would get done if no one is doing anything."

What would get done is the saving of lives.

Mr. Moore is suffering from fiscally conservative angst and newspaper industry dread, rendering him callous and inhumane.

Holmes -- the real one

This is a copy of the email that Cuomo sent 2 days ago to business owners in NYS:

I write to update you on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

During this pandemic, I cannot implore you enough to social distance — which means limiting all in-person social interactions as much as possible. Experts agree that staying apart is critical if we want to reduce the strain on our health care system and slow the spread of this virus to save lives. To that end, I have taken a number of actions:

Schools in NYC, Westchester County and Long Island are closed. Remote learning will take place, and plans are being developed so that children still can get the meals they need and essential workers have access to child care. (Your local school district will have more details.)

We are aggressively urging private businesses to consider closing and having employees work from home.

Non-essential state employees, as well as non-essential local government employees, have been directed to work from home.

Starting at 8pm tonight until further notice, restaurants and bars statewide will be delivery and takeout ONLY.

Starting at 8pm tonight until further notice, gyms, casinos and movie theaters will all be closed.

Pharmacies, grocery stores, medical facilities and gas stations will remain OPEN.

We do not take these decisions lightly — they are necessary because of the unprecedented public health crisis we find ourselves in. Want updates from New York State on Coronavirus? Sign up for more frequent updates here.

How dangerous is this virus?

Eighty percent of people who contract COVID-19 self-resolve — and may not even have symptoms.

The virus presents a larger risk to the elderly, the immune-compromised and those with underlying health conditions. We are laser focused on protecting these at-risk populations.

Remember: Even if you have no symptoms, you can still spread Coronavirus. Be a good neighbor and take precautions even if you are young and healthy. Those around you may be at greater risk.

What should you do?

All New Yorkers can take simple steps to prevent the spread of this virus:

Wash your hands regularly — for at least 20 seconds

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve

Avoid handshaking

Don't touch your face with unwashed hands

New Yorkers should also follow our recommendations for social distancing:

Stay home, even if you feel well

Keep 6 feet of distance from others in public

Cancel unnecessary travel plans

New Yorkers can call the Department of Health's coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or visit this page for further information.

I will be transparent with you. The number of confirmed cases in New York State will continue to go up, and the situation will get worse before it gets better. But I know that New Yorkers are strong and we will get through


Thank you for your cooperation.

Ever Upward,

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo


Thank you, Real Holmes. You are a member of the very audience that Mr. Moore is accusing Gov. Cuomo of ignoring. One need only compare his TV appearances with those of Pres.Trump to see true leadership in action at a time of threat to us all.

part of the audience Jerry Moore is accusing Gov. Cuomo of ignoring.

Holmes -- the real one

Newsjunkie39a --

It's time that we all looked closely at those who are constantly banging the drum of division; we will all benefit if we identify them clearly.

Divide and conquer has been a strategy in warfare for a long time -- and that is simply because it works so well to defeat those who fall prey to its siren call. That is not to say that constructive criticism is not needed. But those who seek to offer advice should do so from a position of expertise and from a place of balanced support and concern for the welfare of all of our country's inhabitants.

Jerry Moore, and yes, thus implying the entire editorial/managerial staff at NNY360, appears to be yet again appealing to the "me-firster" resentful chip-on-the-shoulder Trump supporter crowd with this editorial.

We have nearly unlimited strength when we stand together and support one another.

I have seen that support with my own small business. From its inception, I have made it a mandate to give back as much as the business can afford. At first that was about 20%, now it is closer to twice that. We are still open because the business falls into one of those essential categories -- and our aim is to provide as much to those in need without charge as is possible for us to do. I realize that all business owners may not think this way, but I have found that the more we give away, the more we have prospered.

I am proud to be a New Yorker. I'm proud of the job Cuomo is doing.

And I'm grateful for the friendship of the many noble commenters here like yourself, Newsjunkie39a.

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