The state is providing $25 million from the state’s special public health emergency fund for food banks and providers most affected by COVID-19, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday.
The Nourish New York Initiative will purchase food and products from upstate farms and direct it to food banks across the state. The state will also be partnering with the state’s dairy producers – Chobani, Dairy Farmers of America, Upstate Niagara, Cabot Cheese and others – to process excess milk into products like yogurt, cheese, sour cream and cream cheese, that will be distributed to food banks and those in need.
In addition, the Federal Reserve Board lowered population requirements to allow Suffolk and Nassau Counties to borrow from a program through the central bank that will help municipalities to pay their bills. The program, the Municipal Liquidity Facility, will ease some of the pressures on the counties’ budgets. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “Over the past few weeks, Suffolk County has been working to identify a solution to provide temporary property tax relief for homeowners reeling from the Coronavirus. Today, our pleas were heard by Washington when the Federal Reserve announced it would allow Suffolk County to obtain short-term borrowing in the midst of this economic crisis. I want to thank U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Lee Zeldin for working to make this happen, and I look forward to continue working together to deliver for Suffolk taxpayers during this unprecedented time.”
Cuomo said the Nourish New York Initiative will be led by:
- Kelly Cummings, Director of State Operations and Infrastructure
- Richard Ball, Commissioner of Agriculture
- Rossana Rosado, Secretary of State
- Karim Camara, Executive Director of the Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services
- Fran Barrett, Director of Non-Profits
- Mike Hein, Commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
The governor also announced that two million bottles of NYS Clean hand sanitizer have been distributed across all 62 counties to date. The hand sanitizer has been distributed to hospitals, nursing homes, food banks, food handlers, Red Cross, first responders, schools and colleges, healthcare workers, homeless organizations, law enforcement, unions, transportation systems and faith-based organizations
Temporary Medical Centers at the Javits Center, Westchester County Center, SUNY Old Westbury and SUNY Stonybrook will be put on hold for the fall flu season.
He also confirmed 3,951 more Covid-19 cases in the state, bringing the state total to 291,996. Suffolk County has 32,470 cases, including 411 new ones.
Cuomo said, “We want to un-pause. May 15 is when the pause regulations expire statewide…But you have to be smart about it. As we said there is no light switch where you flip a switch and everybody goes back to doing what they are doing. We have to take these circumstances into consideration. We have to learn the lessons, we have to move forward and we have to be smart because if you are not smart you will see that infection rate go right back to where it was.”