New York Daily News

Rapid test­ing can bring back arts

Cuomo touts en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, web ac­cess for poor in State of State

- BY DE­NIS SLAT­TERY NEWS AL­BANY BU­REAU CHIEF Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · New York County, NY · Buffalo Bills · Hugh Jackman · Charles Schumer · Brooklyn · Albany · Buffalo · Ballet Hispanico · Amy Schumer · Chris Rock · Wynton Marsalis

AL­BANY — Gov. Cuomo’s 2021 agenda in­cludes res­ur­rect­ing the dev­as­tated arts in­dus­try through rapid COVID test­ing and ex­pand­ing af­ford­able in­ter­net ac­cess across the state.

The gov­er­nor de­liv­ered the sec­ond part of his State of the State ad­dress on Tues­day, fo­cus­ing on the “re­turn of the arts” amid the coro­n­avirus pan­demic and an­nounc­ing a plan that would re­quire in­ter­net com­pa­nies in New York to of­fer high-speed in­ter­net ser­vice to low-in­come cus­tomers for $15 a month.

Fol­low­ing the suc­cess of a rapid test­ing pi­lot used to al­low around 6,700 fans at­tend a Buf­falo Bills play­off game last week­end, Cuomo said the state must build upon the pro­gram to re­vi­tal­ize the econ­omy, re­open of­fices, Broad­way the­aters and art spa­ces as vac­ci­na­tions ef­forts con­tinue.

“There is a real op­por­tu­nity for the place and the peo­ple who best and most quickly adapt to the post-COVID econ­omy,” Cuomo said dur­ing the speech from the State Capi­tol’s War Room. “We will seize that op­por­tu­nity. The vac­cine is the weapon that will end the war, but it won’t hit crit­i­cal mass un­til June, Septem­ber or even De­cem­ber.

“Test­ing is the key to re­open­ing our econ­omy be­fore the vac­cine hits crit­i­cal mass. Rapid test­ing poses great pos­si­bil­i­ties. It can be com­pleted in as lit­tle as 15 min­utes,” he added.

The gov­er­nor also an­nounced a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship that will or­ga­nize pop-up per­for­mances and events across the state start­ing next month.

“We must act,” he said. “We can­not wait un­til sum­mer to turn the lights back on for the arts. We will not let the cur­tain fall on their ca­reers or our cities.”

The star-stud­ded events will fea­ture per­for­mances by the Bal­let His­pan­ico, Arts Nova, the Al­bany Sym­phony Orches­tra and the Na­tional Black The­atre as well ap­pear­ances by Hugh Jack­man, Amy Schumer, Chris Rock and Wyn­ton Marsalis.

Events will be held at pre­dom­i­nantly out­door sites across the city and state, in­clud­ing St. Ann’s Ware­house in Brook­lyn and the Park Ave. Ar­mory.

Cuomo, who is de­liv­er­ing a to­tal of four vir­tual speeches this week, told re­porters ear­lier in the day that he wants to ac­cel­er­ate the re­turn of the arts to cities across the state.

“What is a city with­out the cul­ture and en­ter­tain­ment that makes a city, a city?” the gov­er­nor said. “How do you use science and tech­nol­ogy to start to open up the­aters and restau­rants, etc.”

Cuomo said the state will work with lo­cal real es­tate com­mu­ni­ties to open up rapid test­ing sites could en­list prop­erty owner and man­age­ment com­pa­nies to re­open “COVID-safe of­fice build­ings.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, the gov­er­nor stressed the im­por­tance of af­ford­able in­ter­net for all amid a pan­demic that has left mil­lions work­ing or at­tend­ing classes from home.

While the state has ex­panded broad­band ac­cess in re­cent years, Cuomo lamented that many low-in­come New York­ers are stuck pay­ing a min­i­mum of $50 a month to ac­cess the World Wide Web.

The gov­er­nor is pitch­ing leg­is­la­tion that would not only re­quire com­pa­nies to of­fer high-speed in­ter­net ser­vice to low-in­come cus­tomers for $15 a month.

 ?? OF­FICE OF GOV­ER­NOR AN­DREW M. CUOMO ?? Gov. Cuomo on Tues­day out­lined pri­or­ity spend­ing for the new year.
OF­FICE OF GOV­ER­NOR AN­DREW M. CUOMO Gov. Cuomo on Tues­day out­lined pri­or­ity spend­ing for the new year.

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