New York needs to transition its economy to a post-COVID pandemic world, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said in his second part of a week-long State of the State address.
To do so, New York will rely heavily on rapid testing sites around New York. The goal, Cuomo said, is to potentially hold large events and public gatherings like the Buffalo Bills playoff game last weekend.
"This will afford us the means and guidance to reopen more businesses safely," Cuomo said.
Cuomo made a call for revitalizing performing arts in New York, a center for filmmaking and live performances in the country. Broadway has been dark since the start of the pandemic last March.
"These artists are part of what makes New York, New York," Cuomo said.
Cuomo launched an arts revival program with "pop up" events across the state beginning Feb. 4 including Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Wynton Marsalis, and Hugh Jackman, among others.
Cuomo called for a "level playing field" in broadband internet access and greater affordability as more jobs and schools turn to remote work and learning. Cuomo wants a measure requiring $15 per month broadband service for low-income families.
The governor also called for setting aside empty retail space be converted into affordable housing in New York.
The state's economy has been badly battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, with small businesses like restaurants and bars struggling to remain open, and larger companies furloughing workers and keeping others at home. The state's unemployment rate has fallen from the double digit percentage rate it stood at in the spring during the initial shutdown.
But joblessness still remains higher than it was than this time last year at more than 7% in November.
Cuomo's address, the second of four State of the State addresses Cuomo is giving this week, laid out plans for a transitional economy in the new year as testing has been easier to perform and vaccines are still being distributed.
"The reality is not all businesses will reopen and not all jobs are coming back as they were," Cuomo said.
Editor's Note: The parent company of Spectrum Networks is Charter Communications, a broadband provider in New York State.