April 30 (UPI) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an unprecedented effort Thursday to clean the city’s subways — saying they will be closed for a few hours each morning until the crisis is over.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority will close all subway stations from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. daily, beginning May 6.
“The MTA is undertaking something people would have said is virtually impossible,” Cuomo said at his briefing Thursday. “The entire transit system in downstate New York will be cleaned and disinfected every 24 hours. This is as ambitious as anything we’ve undertaken.”
Subway cleanliness has become an issue since New York’s stay-home orders took effect. As ridership fell, more transients began sleeping on the trains.
“It’s not that easy to stop train service,” Cuomo added. “You have to close down stations. You have to make sure people don’t walk in. Then you have to figure out how to clean all these trains, all these stations.”
Cuomo also said Thursday the latest daily death toll fell again, to 306.
Earlier, de Blasio said nearly 2 million surgical gowns are coming from a local company with production facilities in Vietnam.
“We now have for the first time in this crisis a large-scale provider of surgical gowns,” he said, adding that the city bought 3 million more gowns and is coordinating an air-lift to get them quickly. The supply is expected to last until mid-May.
In his remarks Thursday, de Blasio responded to police finding dozens of bodies that were stored in unrefrigerated trucks at a Brooklyn funeral home. Police were called after neighbors complained of the foul smell. The case is under investigation.
“Funeral homes are private businesses with an obligation to treat those they serve with dignity,” de Blasio said. “I have no idea in the world how any funeral home could let this happen.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy met with President Donald Trump at the White House Thursday, hoping to build support for federal aid for states whose budgets have been depleted by the health crisis.
After the meeting, Murphy said New Jersey’s finances could take a $30 billion hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. The president, however, was non-committal on additional state support, calling it a “tough question.”
In Florida, the state’s latest single-day death toll climbed to 1,268 and cases grew by 500. Experts had previously projected it would take weeks for the crisis to peak in Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that restaurants and retail stores will be allowed to reopen beginning Monday, but at just 25 percent capacity. The order does not apply to the three heavily populated counties of the Miami metropolitan area in southeast Florida, which has seen the most cases in the state.
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected Thursday to order all of the state’s parks and beaches closed. His plans were spelled out in a memo this week after a heat wave drew thousands to various California beaches last weekend.
Beaches in Orange and Ventura counties were crowded with thousands after they reopened last week, but with social distancing guidelines. Videos and photographs, however, showed thousands crowded close together.
“Those images are an example of what not to see … if we’re going to make the meaningful progress that we’ve made in the last few weeks extend into the next number of weeks,” Newsom said Monday.