Johnny Milano / The New York Times

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced on Monday that three regions — Southern Tier, Finger Lakes and Mohawk Valley — have met the seven criteria to begin reopening.

April 29, 2020

Pres. Pollack and Notable Alumni Sit on N.Y. Reopening Advisory Board, Cuomo Announces

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced the creation of the New York Forward ReOpening Advisory Board — of which President Martha E. Pollack is a member — during an April 28 briefing.

The purpose of the board is “to help guide the state’s reopening strategy,” according to a New York State press release.

Cuomo emphasized the need to structure reopening carefully in the briefing.

“It is a factual discussion on reopening, so let’s demystify it a little bit, because in this environment it’s becoming rhetorical rather than factual,” he said, speaking from Syracuse’s Upstate Medical Facility.

Cuomo said during the briefing that the board is “made up of statewide business leaders, academic leaders, civic leaders who [are] advising us on [reopening] and they have been for weeks.”

Members of the board include presidents of universities throughout New York state, CEOs of businesses and representatives from unions.

In addition to Pollack’s presence as the president of the University, several Cornell alumni are also on the board.

Leonard Schleifer ’73, the founder and chief executive Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, is one of 116 members. His company is currently researching treatments for COVID-19.

Other members who are Cornell alumni include Vijay Dandapani ’87, president & CEO at Hotel Association of New York City, Elizabeth D. Moore ’75, a Cornell trustee and general counsel at Consolidated Edison of New York and Ken Sunshine ’70, the co-CEO and founder of Sunshine Sachs Consultants.

Cuomo also announced several guidelines that regions of the state have to meet before reopening — the first is that the state must have a 14-day decline in hospitalization rates before beginning the first phase of reopening.

During the briefing, Cuomo said that the percent of positive cases in the Finger Lakes region is 10 percent, less than one-third of New York City’s 31 percent but slightly above Central New York’s seven percent.

According to New York State’s reopening guidelines, regions are responsible for appointing “an oversight institution as its control room to monitor regional indicators during the phased re-opening, including hospital capacity, rate of infection, PPE burn rate and businesses.”

Businesses and industries are also responsible for having plans to protect consumers and workers before they begin reopening in phases. According to the press release, the phases will prioritize opening “businesses considered ‘more essential’ with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers” earlier.”

Cuomo explained the specifics of the guidelines during the briefing, prefacing the details with, “We want to reopen, but we want to do it without infecting new people or overwhelming the hospital system.”