December 31, 2020.
There will certainly be new challenges in 2021 and New York will meet them head on. I want to take this moment to extend my heartfelt thanks to each and every New Yorker who did their part to get us through this traumatic and unprecedented year. We showed the entire world the meaning of New York Tough. I send my warmest wishes to all for a happy and healthy New Year. Celebrate smart.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Coronavirus newsletter will not publish on Friday, January 1st. We will resume on Monday, January 4th.
Photo of the Day: The New Year’s Eve ball in Times Square going through one final test before the official drop tonight—which will have no live audience this year (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Here’s what else you need to know tonight:
1. Total hospitalizations rose to 7,935. Of the 216,587 tests reported yesterday, 16,802, or 7.76 percent, were positive. There were 1,276 patients in ICU yesterday, up 26 from the previous day. Of them, 723 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 136 New Yorkers to the virus.
2. The moratorium on commercial evictions is extended to May 1, 2021. I signed an Executive Order extending the moratorium on commercial evictions to May 1, 2021. This measure extends protections already in place for commercial tenants and mortgagors in recognition of the financial toll the pandemic has taken on business owners, including retail establishments and restaurants.
3. A minimum wage increase goes into effect today. As part of the NY 2016-17 budget, I signed legislation enacting a statewide $15 minimum wage plan that will lift the earnings of more than 2.1 million New Yorkers in all industries across the state. The minimum wage rose today from $13 to $14 for Long Island and Westchester, and from $11.80 to $12.50 for the rest of New York State. The NYC minimum wage reached the target of $15/hr a year ago today.
4. Death benefits to families of frontline government workers are extended for 30 days. This extends a measure signed in May providing death benefits to the families of frontline workers who lost their lives fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in New York. They were there for us when we most needed it.
5. The completed 750-mile Empire State Trail is now fully open. The trail, which is now the nation’s longest multi-use state trail, provides a safe and scenic pathway for New Yorkers and tourists to experience New York State’s varied landscapes. The entirety of the Empire State Trail runs from New York City through the Hudson and Champlain Valleys to Canada, and from Albany to Buffalo along the Erie Canal.
6. New Yorkers can use accrued paid sick leave starting tomorrow. Under NY’s Paid Sick Leave law, paid sick leave is secured for workers at medium and large businesses and paid or unpaid leave for those at small businesses, depending on the employer’s net income. New Yorkers can use guaranteed sick leave to recover from an illness themselves, care for a sick family member and more. Learn more about Paid Sick Leave here.
Tonight’s “Deep Breath Moment”: Earlier in December, the Syracuse Hancock International Airport, which was renovated in 2018, received an unusual, but adorable delivery: puppies! This delivery was the first-ever done by air by Syracuse nonprofit Helping Hounds Dog Rescue, and the puppies arrived safely at the airport to get ready for adoption. “We thought it was a nice way to wrap up 2020,” the airport posted on Facebook.
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo