New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) this week ordered the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to develop a comprehensive cleaning plan, which includes nightly cleanings, for New York City subway trains — an order that comes over a month after the Chinese coronavirus began wreaking havoc on the city.
“Any essential worker who shows up and gets on a train should know that that train was disinfected the night before,” Cuomo told reporters, asking MTA to provide a plan for the deep cleanings by Thursday.
“It’s realistic. It’s an essential. How realistic is it? What’s the alternative?” Cuomo said of the state funding the sanitization efforts.
Cuomo’s order comes as New York’s homeless flock to the subway stations, with pictures showing homeless people sleeping on empty trains — images that caught the attention of the governor:
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) April 28, 2020
The condition of the trains are “disgusting” and “disrespectful” to essential workers, Cuomo said this week.
“Respect the essential workers. That is disgusting what is happening on those subway cars. It’s disrespectful to the essential workers who need to ride the subway system. … They deserve better, they will have better,” he promised.
“Any essential worker who shows up and gets on a train should know that that train was disinfected the night before,” Cuomo said Wednesday.
He added that it was not solely the Daily News picture that prompted action.
“It reflected what has been in the press and what people have been saying, which is the deterioration of the conditions in the subways,” Cuomo stated.
New York leaders have faced backlash for allowing the subway system to operate during the pandemic, but Cuomo contended that it was a strategic decision based on assisting essential workers, like nurses.
“That’s why public transportation continued. We talked early on about closing public transportation,” the governor explained this week.
“But, that’s how the nurses are getting to work. That’s how the orderlies are getting to work. Nobody will be at the hospital. Nobody will be there to deliver the food. Nobody will be in the power plant to keep the lights on. Nobody will be at the telecommunications department,” he continued.
“Public transportation is vital for them. Well, then make sure public transportation is safe and disinfected,” he added.
“Please: If you’re not traveling for work related to an essential business, or for urgent personal business like a medical appointment, do not use the subway or take the bus,” MTA’s website states. “We need to keep our limited capacity available for people who must travel.”
MTA senior advisor Ken Lovett said they are “completing a plan to further enhance and increase the frequency” of their cleanings.