In the final days of President Donald Trump’s presidency, Democrat New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo now says the “cost is too high” for businesses to remain closed until the coronavirus vaccine “hits critical mass.”
“We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass,” Cuomo said in a tweet, just days before Trump is set to leave office. “The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open.”
We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass. The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open. We must reopen the economy, but we must do it smartly and safely.#SOTS2021
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 11, 2021
“We must reopen the economy, but we must do it smartly and safely,” Cuomo added.
For months during the coronavirus pandemic, Cuomo has consistently implemented harsh restrictions on businesses in the state, closing certain restaurants and stores for periods of time and threatening to shut down restaurants that fail to adhere to the state’s restrictions.
“Three violations and you’re closed,” Cuomo said last July, adding that the state government would expose those that do not comply. “We’re also going to post the names of the establishments facing disciplinary charges.”
Last summer, Cuomo introduced additional restrictions on serving alcohol, telling restaurants to serve it only to those who are ordering and eating food, practically eliminating those which did not serve food. State orders also concluded that “all service at bar tops must only be for seated patrons who are socially distanced by six feet or separated by physical barriers.”
Cuomo has also faced scrutiny from the United States Supreme Court, which found Cuomo’s orders violated the First Amendment via coronavirus restrictions on religious gatherings.
“Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the 5-4 decision. “But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.”
“The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty,” Gorsuch concluded.