New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday explained his rationale for keeping comedy clubs and live events closed but didn’t address movie theaters, which have been lobbying to reopen, insisting they’re less risky than other venues that have already been cleared.
The governor also announced he would not ban trick-or-treaters from going door to door this Halloween.
“I would not ban trick-or-treaters going door to door. I don’t think that’s appropriate. You have neighbors — if you want to go knock on your neighbor’s door, God bless you and I’m not going to tell you not to. If you want to go for a walk with your child through the neighborhood, I’m not gonna tell you you can’t take your child to the neighborhood, I’m not going to do that – I’ll give you my advice and guidance and then you will make a decision what you do that night,” he said during an interview with News 12 Long Island.
Los Angeles County last week banned trick-or-treating and other Halloween activities but backtracked the next day.
While New York’s COVID-19 numbers are good, Cuomo said in a radio interview earlier Tuesday, he’s afraid they could teeter at any moment, especially now with schools and colleges open.
“The rule is you don’t want to go over one percent infection rate, okay? That’s the rule. Open as many things as you can to stay at one percent and that’s what I’m doing. ‘Well, maybe you can open more?’ We are at one percent every day, Jay, not to torture the analogy, but you get on the scale and you’re supposed to be under 200 pounds. We’re at 199.8. We don’t have a lot of flexibility here,” he told host Jay Oliver of Long Island News Radio.
“Some parts of the state are over 1. And we have 0.9, 0.92, we’re right there, so I have my foot as far down on the gas pedal as I can push it without going over the speed limit. And if we’re good on the social distancing and the schools don’t explode and colleges don’t explode and flu season doesn’t complicate it, I have my foot on the pedal as far as I can to keep it just at 1. And you’ll see, we’ll go over 1 a little bit, we’re under 1 a little bit, but we’re at the maximum capacity now.”
He said “the greatest risk is still the density.”
“I understand concert venues, my good friend Billy Joel, he was doing Madison Square Garden, when will we get back to Madison Square Garden? Those large arenas pose the greatest risk, even if you say, ‘Okay, every two seats, every three seats,’ yeah but you’re still channeling people in and out of a corridor, right? They’re still coming through a gate, and then essential, and I hate to say this because everything is essential – comedy clubs. How essential is a comedy club when you’re talking about the infection rate? Not to offend people in the comedy club, Lord knows we need to laugh, but those are the calibrations we’re making.”
In the past he has called movie theaters less essential and more risky than other venues. Bowling alleys, gyms, museums, malls and indoor dining have all been cleared. The absence of two major markets, New York and Los Angeles, is a factor that’s been pushing studios to move releases until later this year or into next. Besides being devastating for cinemas that have been shuttered since March, the shifting schedule leaves theaters that are open in difficulty with little new product to attract audiences.
Cuomo also said a humorous Paul Rudd video urging young people to wear masks – the latest in the governor’s ‘Mask Up America’ ad campaign developed with Jane Rosenthal, CEO of Tribeca Enterprises — has gotten 9 million views in 24 hours. The public service push to get millennials to wear masks has featured celebs from Billy Crystal to Robert De Niro. The governor’s office said the PSAs have been viewed 22 million times nationwide.
“You know, my frustration is younger people. College kids coming back to college, they all want to have a party, they all want to drink. Younger people at protests, they’re not wearing their masks, they think they’re invincible. So, for months the great challenge is how to get to young people,” the governor said during a morning interview with Long Island News Radio.
“I call up Paul Rudd, and I’m a big fan of Paul Rudd, I had met him at an event. I call him up and I said, ‘You know, can you do a PSA, a video, that really gets to young people?’ And he’s respectful, he’s listening to me. ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah I can do that.’ I said, ‘You know you’re funny. I think humor might do it.’ Because I’ve tried everything. I’ve begged, I’ve pleaded, I’ve threatened. I don’t know what else to say. So, Paul Rudd says, ‘Yeah, I can do it,’” the governor told host Jay Oliver.
Rudd raps, calls up Billie Eilish and joked that he didn’t correct the governor who asked the actor to help because he thought he was 26. (He’s 51).