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COVID-19 Update: May 16

Updated: May 31, 2020

Capital Region Working to Meet Re-Opening Metrics

Take a few minutes tocheck out this Times Union articleby Bethany Bump and Steve Hughes.

The issue at hand is the data measurement. The data the Department of Health is reviewing is called HERDS data which does not report the address of the patient. This is critical in measuring where the virus is active. Albany Med and St. Peter's, among other hospitals, take in patients from many counties outside our region.

Fortunately, county leadership understands this and is now taking painstaking efforts to verify the data to prove the point to the DOH. We as legislators are supporting and advocating with the Executive. Stay tuned as I believe these two outstanding metrics will be met and the Capital Region will be open sooner than one thinks.

Racetracks – Opening with No Crowds

Governor Cuomo announced today that racetracks in New York will be able to re-open starting on June 1stwithout crowds. The tracks will operate without fans.

Tennis Courts and Drive-Ins to Re-open

Tennis Courts and Drive-In Movie Theaters are permitted to open statewide this weekend. Social distancing rules must still be maintained.

NYS PAUSE Extension

While Governor Cuomohas extended NYS PAUSEthrough May 28th, it is important to note that a region can still enter phase one of reopening as soon as it meets all seven of the metrics needed.

Beaches to Open at Half Capacity

Governor Cuomo announced a multi-state agreement with New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware to reopen beaches for Memorial Day Weekend. The Governoroutlined specific conditionsNew York beaches must meet to reopen. State and local beaches and lakeshores in New York State may open the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend if they meet these guidelines.

NYS Canals System Announcement

The New York State Canal Corporation announced that much of the 524-mile Canal system will open for through navigation of the locks by July 4, 2020 as maintenance and construction projects are set to resume on a regional basis under the “NY Forward Reopening” plan.

This is great news for New York State. The Canal System is not only a great resource but a symbol of our strength as New Yorkers. I look forward to full opening of the navigation system.

Announcements regarding specific lock or regional openings will be communicated through the Canal Corporation’s “Notice to Mariners” notification program available

Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month

This month of May it is imperative that there be greater public awareness of Huntington's Disease, and more must be done to increase activity at the local, state and national levels to support those afflicted as well as their families and caregivers.

The Huntington's Disease Society of America is using a social media campaign, using #LetsTalkAboutHD, to educate the world about the devastating impact that HD has on families.

Learn more about Huntington’s Disease and the resources they have available during this pandemic here:

UAlbany Emergency Communications Survey

UAlbany is conducting a survey focusing on gathering information about the dissemination of risk communication to explore pandemic preparedness decision-making by older adults.  The study proposes to investigate environmental and social cues, information sources, receiver characteristics, and trust in the risk message itself.

Albany School District Pre-K Lottery

Applications are available now for the June lottery to enroll children in prekindergarten classes for 3-year-olds for the upcoming school year. Learn more:

Local Restaurants

Remember to support local restaurants and order delivery or take-out from your favorite local spot!

For a comprehensive list of businesses located in the 108th Assembly District who are currently still offering take out or delivery options see below:

City of Albany:

Also, continue to check out theRensselaer County Chamber Facebook Pageand theRensselaer County Tourism Facebook Pagefor daily updates!

Helpful Reminders

  • Unemployment Insurance - The one-week waiting period for Unemployment Insurance claims for workers directly affected by COVID-19 has been eliminated. The Department has also announced that they are changing the unemployment insurance job search requirement that is currently in place. No work search activities will be required during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information check out the DOL page here:

  • Those in need can call 2-1-1 from any phone for a free, confidential referral to resources providing food, shelter, rent assistance, childcare options and other essential services. The helpline is also able to answer questions and provide referrals for COVID-19 related concerns. Simply dial 2-1-1 or visit

  • If you believe your business is an essential service but has not been included on ESD’s list, you can apply for ‘essential service status’ at this link:

  • OAG will halt the collection of medical and student debt owed to the State of New York and referred to the OAG for collection from March 17, 2020 through April 16, 2020. After this 30-day period, the OAG will reassess the needs of state residents for a possible extension.  

  • Charter will be providing free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription (where service is available), at any service level up to 100 Mbps, as well as opening up Charter WiFi Hotspots across our footprint for public use. For more information or to enroll in the program please contact 1-844-488-8395

  • The Capital District YMCA will provide childcare for emergency personnel who do not have the option to work from home, as defined by The New York State Education Department. For more information visit:


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