NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that ski resorts in New York can open in November at reduced capacity as he detailed the state's draft plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
Ski resorts will be allowed to open at 50% indoor capacity beginning Nov. 6, Cuomo said.
There will be a number of restrictions for skiers, including mask and social distancing requirements.
Cuomo also announced the New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Program. He said it is a strategy to ensure the distribution and administration of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to all New Yorkers.
“We have a draft of the program to start the vaccine administration planning process,” Cuomo said at a briefing.
The governor said the state will have an independent clinical advisory task force that will review every COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the federal government. It will advise New York state on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness in fighting the virus.
“We believe there’s going to be questions about the safety of the vaccine, so we’ve put together a special New York task force team of experts,” the governor said. “I’m going to ask them to review any vaccine before I recommend it to the people of the state. I think that will give people added surety in the vaccine.”
Cuomo said when the vaccine does become available, it will first be distributed to those most at risk and frontline workers.
New York state is building a network of facilities where vaccines can be administered, including hospitals, urgent care clinics, pharmacies, mobile units and mass vaccination sites, the governor said.
“The state will have a statewide vaccination plan. We will do it in concert with the federal government,” Cuomo said. “The federal government is in charge of producing the actual vaccine and distributing the vaccines. So the state’s position is we have to wait for the federal government to provide us the vaccines.”
Cuomo said the state will have one, statewide vaccination plan and that local governments will participate through the state.
“We have 62 counties. We’re not going to come up with 62 county plans,” Cuomo said. “We have 1,527 cities in New York state. We’re not going to have 1,527 different city plans. There will be one, statewide plan and the key is going to be working that out with the federal government.”
“This is a massive undertaking. This is a larger operational undertaking, I would argue, than anything we have done during COVID to date,” Cuomo said. “And we need the federal government to be a competent partner with this state and with every state.”
Cuomo said the National Governors Association sent a letter to the White House seeking to meet with President Donald Trump on how the distribution of the vaccine will work. The association is also releasing a letter with a compilation of 36 questions from governors across the country.
Cuomo also said that the data shows the state's "micro-cluster strategy" is working to bring down infection rates in “red zone” hotspot areas. He said red zone infection rates are lower over the past week than the week prior.
Cuomo said the state will continue to review micro-cluster data over the next few days and announce any changes on Wednesday.
“When you look over the past two weeks, we have been remarkably flat. If anything, the numbers have been trending good. So that is great. Why? Because we’re so aggressive on the micro-clusters,” Cuomo said.