New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo claims that he was unaware of the concerns of Long Islanders who have seen an influx of New York City residents flocking out east amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Since the outbreak, some affluent suburbs on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley have seen a surge of Manhattan residents with summer homes in the suburbs heading there, bringing the virus with them.
In response, officials, largely on the East End, have encouraged New York City residents to stay home, and avoid the suburbs, which may be less equipped to handle the outbreak due to a limited amount of hospital space and emergency equipment.
Over the weekend, when questioned about New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s edict to not go to second homes at the Jersey Shore, Cuomo said he wasn’t aware of the concerns some Long Island communities have.
“I have not (heard the complaints),” Cuomo said on Sunday, April 5. “I will take a look at the New Jersey order. But I haven't heard local officials raise concerns.”
Cuomo noted that “counties can come up with whatever they want (regarding a potential travel ban), but I don’t have any travel ban on my agenda.”
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he was "surprised" by Cuomo's statement, noting that he and other East End officials sent a signed letter to the governor urging him to consider new restrictions in March.
“We asked for it, but I don’t know whether the governor actually saw it or not," Schneiderman said. "I guess it’s possible that he didn’t; he’s very busy dealing with so many different things.”
There have been numerous media accounts of New York City residents fleeing for the East End, dating back to last month.
“With ‘non-essential’ employees directed to stay home, our East End communities are seeing a surge in population as seasonal residents are seeking to leave the NY metropolitan area and spend this period of 'social distancing' in their summer home communities,” the letter stated.
“As leaders of East End Towns, Villages and Tribal Government, we are growing increasingly concerned with our local ability to manage the added strain to our local health care system, food markets and other essential businesses needed to maintain the health and safety of our residents.”
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White House Coronavirus Task Force Response Coordinator Barbara Birx previously said that “we are starting to see new cases come across Long Island that suggests people have left the city.
"So this will be very critical that those individuals do self-quarantine in their homes over these next 14 days to make sure they don't pass the virus to others based on the time that they left New York, so if they are already four days out, then it's just 10 more days.”
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