Cuomo says protesters should get tested for COVID-19 and let the police do their jobs

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update during a press conference in the Red Room at the State Capitol. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

As the George Floyd protests continue throughout New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging protesters to get themselves tested for coronavirus.

According to Cuomo, the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations and intubations, as well as new COVID-19 cases, are steadily declining throughout the state. New York is continuing to lead the way in testing, with 50,000 tests administered daily, with many regions showing huge decreases in the number of positive COVID-19 test results.

Cuomo warned that just as the numbers came down, the numbers can just as quickly go right back up again.

“Many of [the protesters] wear masks, but there’s no social distancing. You look at the encounters with the police, the police are in their face, they are right in the face of the police,” said Cuomo. “We are going to open testing facilities for all people who were at a protest. One can infect hundreds. If you were at a protest, go get a test, please.”

During his daily briefing, Cuomo acknowledged that most of the protests have been peaceful in nature. However, there were instances on Wednesday that resulted in a number of police officers being injured, including an officer being stabbed and two more that were shot.

While he shares the outrage that the protesters have, Cuomo stated that the police still need to be able to do their jobs and violence against them will not be tolerated.

“That is intolerable. The police are doing an impossible job; they’re trying to deal with the protesters, they’re trying to stop looting, and they’re trying to keep themselves safe because the police want to go home to their families,” said Cuomo. “There is no tolerance for violence against the police officers, period.”

Cuomo also believes that looters should be rightfully charged for their crimes and called on New York’s district attorneys to follow through.

“These people should be charged for the crime they are committing, and bail set,” said Cuomo. “I understand the political environment. I also understand that the law is the law, and they should charge crimes appropriately.”

For the stores that were looted, the state is directing insurers to expedite claims for the stores that were looted, provide free mediation for disputes and accept photos as proof so they don’t have to wait for the police report.

“Many of the businesses they looted were mom and pop businesses in distressed communities that were struggling in the first place,” said Cuomo. “Many of these businesses were essential businesses for the poorest communities in those locales. So we’re going to do everything we can to help them.”