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Cuomo Offers Mortgage Relief and Seeks Hospital Beds as Number of Coronavirus Cases Surges

Gov. Cuomo with his daughter Michaela Kennedy-Cuomo (Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

March 19, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Governor Andrew Cuomo has introduced a number of new measures to help New Yorkers struggling to pay their credit card bills and make mortgage payments — and has taken action to increase the state’s hospital capacity as the coronavirus takes hold.

Cuomo is offering relief to New Yorkers facing financial hardship who are likely to find it tough to pay their mortgage or credit card bills.

“People are under tremendous economic pressure, making a mortgage payment can be one of the number one stressors,” Cuomo said at a press conference. “Eliminating that stressor…I think will go a long way.”

His plan will waive mortgage payments for 90 days for individuals facing financial hardships — such as a loss of full-time employment — with no negative effects to credit scores. There will also be no late payment or online payment fees and all foreclosures will be postponed or suspended, Cuomo said.

In addition, fees will be waived for overdrafts, ATMs and credit cards from state-chartered banks.

The measures will help relieve stress that families are facing during the global pandemic.

“The stress, the emotion is just incredible and rightfully so,” Cuomo said. “It is a situation that is one of the most disruptive that I have seen and it will change almost everything going forward.”

Cuomo made the announcement shortly before Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that there are 3,615 cases of COVID-19 and 22-related deaths across New York City.

Queens has 980 cases, Manhattan has 976, Brooklyn has 1030, the Bronx has 436 and Staten Island has 165.

There are 544 people hospitalized, with 169 of those people in the ICU as of yesterday at 5 p.m., de Blasio said.

Cuomo warned this morning that the state’s healthcare system may soon be overwhelmed and therefore enacted measures to increase hospital capacity proactively.

He will sign an executive order today to allow the State Department of Health to identify space within existing hospitals to increase bed capacity.

He also announced new measures to free up staff and speed up the admission and discharge process at hospitals for 90 days, through the suspension of insurer pre-approval for medical procedures.

The governor also signed an executive order today mandating non-essential businesses to decrease their in-office workforce by 75 percent. This is up from a 50 percent reduction that Cuomo announced yesterday in his call for all businesses to implement work-from-home policies.

Essential businesses exempt from the order include shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions, and other industries critical to the supply chain.

At today’s press conference, the governor brought along his daughter who is completing her final semester in college.

He referred to a news video of young people her age partying in Miami for spring break, despite the coronavirus pandemic and the call for social distancing.

“This is so unintelligent and reckless, I can’t even begin to express it,” Cuomo said.

His daughter, Michaela Kennedy-Cuomo, canceled her spring break plans as a result of the virus.

He said one of the myths is that young people cannot contract COVID-19.

“Young people do get it and young people can transfer it and you can wind up infecting someone and possibly killing someone,” he said sternly.

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