Spectator sports are coming back to New York – without the spectators.
Horse racing tracks across the state will be permitted to reopen June 1 but with the stands empty, Governor Cuomo announced in his Saturday briefing. The state’s roster of racetracks includes Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens and Belmont Park in Nassau County.
“There will be guidelines for the actual participants, but no crowds, no fans,” Cuomo said. “But for the industry itself, for the televised viewers, that can still work.”
Watkins Glen racetrack in the Finger Lakes region, home to NASCAR races and other motor sports can also reopen.
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Cuomo sounded a positive tone when asked about Major League baseball reopening under similar conditions. “We don’t control baseball. I’ve spoken to baseball organizations. One state can’t make that decision. But if works economically, that’d be great.”
At his daily briefing, Cuomo also praised the $3 trillion relief package passed Friday night by the House of Representatives, which includes close to a trillion dollars for states and localities.
He called on the Senate to respond quickly, though Republican leadership has indicated the bill is dead on arrival. “They funded businesses, they funded millionaires, they funded corporations,” Cuomo said of previous bills. “Who did they forget? They forgot the police, the firefighters, the working Americans.”
Cuomo says the state needs a $61 billion cash infusion in order to avoid massive budget cuts.
While major indicators are on a downward trajectory, Cuomo reported 157 deaths in the previous 24 hours, a statistic that has held relatively steady in recent days. Those totals are similar to the numbers in late March.
“We’re right about where we were when we started,” he said. “We just want to make sure we don’t go back to the hell that we’ve gone through.”
Cuomo also announced Westchester and Suffolk counties are now eligible to resume elective surgeries and ambulatory care.
He warned New Yorkers to remain vigilant even as regions reopen, which he acknowledged could reverse some of the progress made.
“If people are smart, then yes, you will see some increase in the numbers,” Cuomo said. “But you won’t see a spike.”