Morning News Briefing
Written by Michael Baldwin on May 4, 2021
The casualties of the coronavirus pandemic are far and wide. Mercy Flight Inc.’s air and ground emergency transport operation has taken a significant financial hit due to COVID-19 and continues to deal with challenges in other areas, including the safety and protection of its first responders and the ongoing effort to fairly compensate these skilled emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Those were the take-away points as the agency’s director of medical operations reported to the Genesee County Legislature’s Human Services Committee meeting. In Genesee County, Mercy Flight received 143 requests for helicopter ambulance service during its fiscal year, resulting in 76 transports. Fifty-six of the requests were deemed not necessary and 11 were canceled due to poor weather conditions. A change from Visual Flight Rules to Instrument Flight Rules will enable Mercy Flight to increase its weather-related capabilities. In legislative action, the committee approved an allocation of $12,825 for this year to support Mercy Flight.
Residents are urged to light their homes and social media in “red” today in recognition of International Firefighters’ Day. The role of all firefighters, both volunteer and paid, has never been more important. International Firefighters’ Day was established in 1999. The international recognition falls within National Arson Awareness Week – also an important time to reflect on the selfless dedication of firefighters.
Governor Cuomo has announced $15 million in funding is available for the state cooling assistance program. The initiative provides air conditioning to low-income New Yorkers who suffer from serious health issues exacerbated by heat. Beginning now eligible families can apply under a fist come first serve basis and applications will be open through August 30th, or until funding runs out. Nearly 30,000 New York households have benefited from cooling assistance over the last 5 years.
The New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation Monday night that extends the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction Moratorium. The bill protects tenants and small business owners from being evicted under certain circumstances. The extension will now go until August 31. The bill is headed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signature.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that more than 7 million New Yorkers are now fully vaccinated. 91,035 doses have been administered across the state’s vast distribution network in the last 48 hours, and more than 1.1 million doses have been administered over the past seven days.
Nominations are being accepted for the 2021 BCSD Foundation Inc. Scholarship. This scholarship will be awarded to a graduating senior from Batavia High School. Any member of the local community may nominate a Batavia HS senior. All nominations need to be received by May 21.
Beginning May 19, COVID capacity restrictions will be lifted at a number of New York businesses. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this is part of a major reopening effort set to begin in a few weeks, in accordance with neighboring states Connecticut and New Jersey. This impacts a number of different locations and services, including restaurants, gyms, museums, retail stores, theaters, offices and amusement parts and outdoor entertainment locations. Also beginning on May 19, outdoor large stadium capacity in New York state will expand to 33%. The outdoor curfew on food and beverage service will be lifted two days earlier, on May 17. The indoor curfew will be lifted on May 31.
After a lengthy scandal-induced media silence, WNY Congressman Tom Reed has issued a press release…and it’s an important one for area eateries. Rep. Reed provided constituents with new information regarding the opening of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund through the Small Business Administration. He urges eligible businesses to apply to this program, which aims to help restaurants and other impacted businesses keep their doors open throughout the pandemic. Reed said while he didn’t support the plan, “this program is critical to the small businesses across the district.” Funds will not need to be paid back by the businesses if the funds are used in the correct manner by March 11, 2023.