ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are three main focuses: managing the virus that continues to exist, relief for people and industries that have been impacted and rebuilding the state based on the experiences of the past year.
"There is no going back," he said. "The question is who deals with this new reality and stands up and confronts it with energy and imagination and creativity."
On continued management, the state is spending $15 million on public education about the vaccine. New York plans to increase access to telehealth.
The budget also funds a citizen volunteer health corps training program as well as hiring a professional corps.
"We have emergency management but it has always been more geared toward natural disasters, hurricanes, floods, etc., snowstorms," Cuomo said. "We've done that quite well. We need an emergency response capacity for a public health crisis and we'll develop that."
Relief plans include a $2.4 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program, $50 million to Nourish New York which connects local farmers to food banks and emergency food providers, as well as $1 billion in grant programs and tax credits, for small businesses, restaurants and the arts and entertainment industry.
"The owners of restaurants did extraordinary things to keep their employees working," Cuomo said. "We want to make sure now that they have the financial resources to return."
With regards to rebuilding, the governor said the pandemic has presented an opportunity to reset as the state focuses on long-term priorities like economic development, a green economy and public safety reform.