Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County is preparing for phase two of the restart of the central New York economy. County Executive Ryan McMahon said Tuesday the numbers are good 10 days into phase one of reopening. He admitted, opening up things like law firms and downtown offices makes this one of the most aggressive moves into higher density situations. 

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’ll meet with President Donald Trump Wednesday to discuss an infrastructure program with federal funds for state projects, including repairing deteriorating commuter rail tunnels under the Hudson River. Cuomo said he believes the state has finally "turned the page" on the COVID-19 pandemic -- for now -- and it’s time to refocus on restarting the economy.

Cuomo began the day by ringing the bell to reopen the New York Stock Exchange after a two month shut down.

Syracuse University

The academic year at many colleges just came to a close but faculty at several central New York institutions are already making decisions that will affect the fall semester as they wrestle with the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cuomo: Families of front line workers must receive death benefits

May 25, 2020
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Local governments in New York will now be required to provide death benefits to public workers on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who also urged the federal government Monday to provide hazard pay to those individuals.

Those benefits will be paid for by local pension funds in the case of local government workers, and the state pension fund for employees of the state government, Cuomo said.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County has reopened the Oneida Shores beach, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo and libraries will reopen Tuesday. County Executive Ryan McMahon said while he’s not as concerned about a rise in COVID cases because of those reopenings, his team will be watching the county's infection rate.  

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The daily number of deaths related to COVID-19 in New York has dropped below 100 for the first time since late March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday, marking another turning point for the disease, which has killed more than 23,000 people statewide.

There were 84 additional deaths in New York Friday, the latest data available from the state, bringing the total number of fatalities to 23,282.

WRVO News (file photo)

How has the federal government responded to the COVID-19 pandemic? Was it proactive enough? Did it learn lessons fast enough. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) about the pandemic, and the responses that his office has been taking. 

Long Island, Mid-Hudson regions could begin reopening next week

May 22, 2020
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Communities on Long Island and the Mid-Hudson region of New York could begin the first phase of reopening their economies as early as next week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday, which would leave New York City as the lone region still on full lockdown.

“If the number of deaths continues to decline, they get their tracing up and online, both regions could reopen this week,” Cuomo said.

Marco Varisco / Flickr


While Gov. Andrew Cuomo has held daily briefings on the coronavirus and issued more than 250 executive orders, the state legislature has been absent from the Capitol for six weeks. Now, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins say they plan to hold committee meetings on May 26 and convene in session in the following days to vote on legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City of Watertown Planning and Community Development / Facebook

New York's statewide shutdown is not just costing businesses a lot of money, it's also depleting the sales tax revenues that local governments need to make ends meet. Syracuse officials earlier this month passed a budget that took $9 million from the city's reserves to plug a budget hole and now Watertown leaders are struggling to make ends meet as well. 

Jason Smith / WRVO News (file photo)

Following a yearlong review, plans to merge five Catholic churches into one parish in Oswego will move ahead. But an historic church in the city Oswego will also continue to operate under different rules.

Jim Griffin / Flickr

Memorial Day weekend begins with beaches around the state opening up and other tentative steps to restart the economy. In his daily coronavirus briefing Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the reopenings can be done safely if people follow the rules.

Belinda Cornell

Barbershops, hair and nail salons were ordered to close on March 21, by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Last week, Cuomo announced hair stylists are in phase two of reopening parts of New York State. Although the state has not yet provided any guidance on what that might look like, salon owners are taking it upon themselves to start planning. 

5/20/20 10pm Tuned to Yesterday

May 20, 2020

#227, Mystery, Suspense “Deep Into Darkness” 7/22/48 CBS, Molle Mystery Theater “Triangle of Death” 3/28/47 NBC.

Tuned To Yesterday features programs from radio's golden era. Drama, Comedy, Western, Sci-Fi and more. Produced by Mark Lavonier.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

New York will allow religious gatherings of up to 10 people starting Thursday, but that size restriction makes it unlikely many services will get underway.

Pastor Darren Jaime of the People's A.M.E Zion Church in Syracuse isn't aware of any parishes that would fit the size requirement. It's nothing a church his size could do.

"Maybe you do ten only for three services. I don't know what the answer would be for those who have that threshold," Jaime said. "Certainly it's a start, but before we can embrace that, it's going to have to open up bigger than that."

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News (file photo)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has about 10 days before he has to make some big decisions about New York state’s estimated $14 billion budget deficit.

He's hoping that Congress will pass a bailout measure to avert some of the financial pain, but some Republican senators are resisting. 

The governor and State Legislature set up rules for coping with an expected shortfall when they approved this year’s budget plan in early April, as tax collections were plummeting. 

St. Joseph's Hospital

St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse is one of 16 hospitals across the state taking part in a pilot program to determine the best way to reopen hospitals to visitors. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday the pilot program will allow limited visitors in hospitals.

"It is terrible to have someone in the hospital, and that person is isolated, not able to see family and friends. I understand the health reasons, you're afraid of the virus spread," Cuomo said.

Cuomo hopes this two-week pilot program can assess ways to bring visitors into the hospital safely.

Carl Wycoff / Flickr

New York will allow Memorial Day ceremonies with up to 10 people despite statewide lockdown rules, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

Ceremonies marking the Monday holiday with 10 or fewer people will be allowed by the state, but at the discretion of local governments, Cuomo said. Nonessential gatherings have been barred in New York since March, but the governor said honoring the sacrifices of military members is an “important tradition.”

Localities can also stage vehicle parades, which have become more popular during the pandemic.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Parts of New York state are gradually reopening, with western New York authorized on Monday to join five other regions of the state and begin the first of a four-phase process. The Capital Region will be allowed to begin reopening on Tuesday. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also said Monday that churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship are not permitted to reopen, though, until phase 4 is reached. Religious leaders are asking the state for more guidance, and whether -- if they practiced safe social distancing -- they could open sooner than that. 

Amazon is at the center of what is arguably the biggest economic development project in central New York in decades. An Amazon executive made the announcement via video Monday during Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon's daily coronavirus news conference.

Anand Mehta, Amazon's regional director of operations, let everyone in on what's been a closely guarded secret since a distribution project was announced last fall, from a video monitor rolled onto the stage.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

NEW YORK (AP) — Western New York, including the city of Buffalo, met the state’s coronavirus containment goals and can begin to reopen its economy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

Hospitals will be able to schedule elective surgeries as the region enters the first phase of reopening on Tuesday, but gatherings such as church services and sports events will still be banned, Cuomo said.

“Personal disclosure — I want to watch the Buffalo Bills,” said Cuomo, who held Monday’s briefing in Buffalo. “But I’m still objective, I’m acting as governor.”

Solvejg Wastvedt / WSKG News

Ithaca College will delay the start of its fall semester, resuming in-person classes October 5, according to an announcement from college President Shirley Collado. 

"In coming to the decision to open the fall semester on October 5, the senior leadership team and I listened to and collaborated with a variety of stakeholders and leaders, on campus and off. We’ve also clearly heard the voices of our students and their families," Collado said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media

Ten regions that make up New York State each have a regional control room with members that will review the infection, testing and hospitalization rates of the coronavirus daily, so action can be taken if positive cases increase significantly. Central New York’s control room has been able to get more clarification from the state on what businesses are allowed to reopen, but questions still remain. 

Keith Garner / Flickr

In the coming weeks, many companies in central and northern New York will become eligible to reopen, but each individual business will first have to satisfy certain state regulations to once again serve their customers.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a plea on Sunday for more New Yorkers who qualify to get tested for COVID-19, even undergoing his own test for the disease on live, national television during his daily briefing in Albany.

New York will also expand the eligibility requirements for a test to all workers who qualify to go back to work under phase one of the state’s reopening plan, which is in effect for five regions.

Horse racing tracks, Watkins Glen can open without fans, Cuomo says

May 16, 2020

New York state will allow horse racing tracks and Watkins Glen International to reopen — without fans — starting June 1, marking another step toward revitalizing the state’s economies in regions that were previously unsure if those venues would reopen this year.

Without fans, the regions will forego the usual boost in revenue they receive from large gatherings for racing, but televised events will still bring in some money.

Tom Fazzio / Syracuse University

New Yok has been the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Central and Northern New York have fared better than downstate, but are nonetheless dealing with a severe public health crisis. This week, Grant Reeher talks with State Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse) about the national, state, and local response to the pandemic. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

There were six more deaths in nursing homes Thursday, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon announced on Friday. The total number of deaths in Onondaga County is up to 90.

The Central New York region is its first day of phase one reopening. But McMahon said that doesn’t mean that social gatherings of more than 10 people are going to be allowed. 

“There is risk involved in even having 10 people together,” McMahon said. “You can always see mom or dad. It’s whether or not seeing mom or dad brings more risk, and whether it’s the smart thing to do.”

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York’s beaches will be open for Memorial Day weekend, along with beaches in New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware, but at 50% capacity and with strict rules about social distancing.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Construction in central and northern New York will soon ramp up now that the state has given the regions permission to start reopening, but it may be awhile before the industry is back to business as usual. 

Earl Hall is executive director of the Syracuse Builders Exchange, an affiliation of 950 construction industry firms in upstate New York. He said prior to the statewide shutdown, upstate was poised to see its best construction season in 20-30 years.