FARMINGVILLE, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — The kids across Sachem can get ready to play ball and a limited number of other sports, based on the latest guidance from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the likelihood of Long Island advancing to another stage of reopening before the month ends.
Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced "low-risk" youth sports for regions in Phase Three of reopening can begin on July 6. Cuomo said up to two spectators would be allowed per child. Cuomo said the "low-risk" sports are baseball, softball, crew, cross country, gymnastics and field hockey.
"Young people can engage in sports...that's another step towards return to normalcy," Cuomo said.
Long Island is presently in Phase 2 reopening, which began Wednesday, June 10. Based on the anticipation that each region in New York State will advance phases approximately every two weeks, Long Island could potentially begin Phase Three on or about June 24, which means Long Island would already be in Phase 3 by the time sports are allowed for all Phase Three regions on July 6.
In addition to youth sports, Cuomo made several other announcements today.
"We're getting reports from all across the state that there are large gatherings, social distancing is being violated, people are not wearing masks," Cuomo said. "We have gotten 25,000 complaints to the State of businesses that are in violation of the reopening plan - 25,000 complaints. We have never received more complaints in a shorter period of time. 25,000 - just think about that."
Cuomo reminded bars and restaurants that any violations of reopening rules and guidelines can result in the loss of that establishment's liquor license. Additionally, individuals can be fined for open container and social distancing violations. Cuomo also reminded local governments to enforce all reopening rules and guidelines and that any failure to enforce these rules can result in the closure of businesses.
"Manhattan and the Hamptons are the leading areas in the state with violations," Cuomo said. "These are not hard-to-spot violations. People send video of these violations, you can look it up on social media. You don't need a detective squad to go out and find them. They are rampant and there's not enough enforcement. I am not going to allow situations to exist that we know have a high likelihood of causing an increase in the spread of the virus."
Cuomo signed legislation (S.8245-A/A.10517) requiring the State Department of Health to conduct a study on the health impacts of COVID-19 on minorities in New York State. The state previously conducted an antibody testing survey at churches in lower-income New York City communities and communities of color, which showed higher infection rates among individuals in these communities compared to the overall population.
The state has reached the lowest number of hospitalizations and deaths since the pandemic began, Cuomo said. The number of total hospitalizations was down yesterday to the lowest level since March 20 to 1,657. Twenty-three people in New York passed away due to COVID-19, down from a record-high of 800 nine weeks ago.
"New York State has been continuing to follow the data and the numbers on the COVID-19 virus and we are making really great progress with the lowest number of deaths and hospitalizations since this pandemic first began," Cuomo said. "This is all good news, but our behavior is what's keeping these numbers down and the numbers can change in a week if we don't remain disciplined and follow the guidelines and protocols in place."
Cuomo also announced the state is extending the special open-enrollment period in the Health Plan Marketplace for an additional 30 days through July 15.