Governor Cuomo gave the green light Tuesday for small Memorial Day gatherings to honor veterans and those who died serving in the military.

“That is an important American tradition,” Cuomo said. “We want to honor our veterans and we want to make sure that no matter what happens we are still honoring our veterans. The state will allow ceremonies.”

The ceremonies will be limited to ten or fewer people, but vehicle parades will be permitted.

At his daily press briefing, Cuomo also announced the start of a two-week pilot program allowing family members to visit coronavirus patients in 16 hospitals, including nine in the city.


For the last two months, visitors have been kept away from hospitals across the state. The practice, put in place to protect people against the highly contagious virus, has resulted in thousands of patients suffering and dying alone.

“It is terrible to have someone in the hospital and that person is isolated, not being able to see their family and friends,” Cuomo said. “I understand the health reasons for that, we were afraid of the virus spread, but this is a pilot project to see if we can bring visitors in and do it safely.”

News that a vaccine may be closer than experts originally thought prompted Cuomo to urge Washington to ensure it is distributed equitably.

“If the federal government is jumping through hoops to allow this company to develop a vaccine then let’s make sure the federal government sets the rules now and says to anyone who develops the vaccine, the next day we have to be in a position where that patent, that formula is given to companies all across the globe to produce a vaccine so we can treat everyone,” Cuomo said.

Meanwhile, the western part of the state began opening its economy Tuesday for construction, manufacturing and curbside pickup at retail businesses. It’s the sixth region in the state to start a phased reopening. On Wednesday, the Albany area is expected to be the next.


Main story image: a file photo of flags in Fallen Soldier's Flag Garden in Madison Square Park in New York City. Bo Zaunders/Getty Images.


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