Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

Cuomo's phased plan to re-open NYS requires health precautions and contact tracers; advisory board contains several pro sports reps, though not from Nets/Barclays

A press release yesterday, Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Outlines Additional Guidelines for Phased Plan to Re-open New York, announced the New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board.

The advisory board will be chaired by Former Secretaries to the Governor Steve Cohen and Bill Mulrow and includes over 100 business, community and civic leaders from industries across the state. That advisory board (in full, below) pays copious attention to sports and entertainment, including as representatives:
  • Kathy Behrens - President, Social Responsibility & Player Programs, National Basketball Association
  • James Dolan - CEO, Madison Square Garden
  • Jon Ledecky – Co-Owner, NY Islanders
  • Randy Levine - President, NY Yankees
  • Kim Pegula – President and CEO, Pegula Sports and Entertainment
  • Jeff Wilpon - COO, NY Mets
Dolan, of course, also owns the New York Knicks and New York Rangers. (Pegula owns the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres.) There was no representative of the Barclays Center and the main tenant, the Brooklyn Nets, as noted by The Athletic's Lindsey Adler.

Note that Cuomo is well aware of Joe Tsai, the owner of the team and the arena operating company, given Tsai's significant donation of ventilators and personal protective equipment. He's a citizen of Taiwan and Canada and is a co-founder and vice-chairman of the Alibaba Group, a huge Chinese conglomerate. If Cuomo's task force only wanted principals, perhaps Tsai's California residence or international ties disqualified him. And the arena has an interim CEO, who runs Tsai's investments from Hong Kong, and just lost its CFO.

Update: Tsai also lives in Hong Kong, where he's quarantined, and his wife Clara Wu Tsai--in San Diego?--was later named to the board.

The guidelines

According to the announcement, each region - Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley, New York City, North Country, Long Island, Southern Tier and Western New York - must follow specific guidelines to reopen, first requiring a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate.

The businesses can re-open in phases, including construction and manufacturing functions with low risk, then certain industries based on priority and risk level. Note: "Regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area." That would seem to hamper venues.

Each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection.

Also, each each region must have at least 30 percent of hospital beds and ICU beds available after elective surgeries resume, and must implement a testing regimen that prioritizes symptomatic persons and individuals who came into contact with a known COVID-positive person, and conducts frequent tests of frontline and essential workers.

There must be at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people--a significant challenge for New York City. Similarly, there must be rooms available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and who cannot self-isolate.

Fauci's warning

In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the key public health expert on
President Trump’s coronavirus task force, warned against resuming sports:
What we need to do is get it, as a country and as individual locations, under control. That sometimes takes longer than you would like, and if we let our desire to prematurely get back to normal, we can only get ourselves right back in the same hole we were in a few weeks ago.

We’ve got to make sure that when we try to get back to normal, including being able to play baseball in the summer and football in the fall and basketball in the winter, that when we do come back to some form of normality, we do it gradually and carefully. And when cases do start to rebound — which they will, no doubt — that we have the capability of identifying, isolating and contact tracing.