Gov. Andrew Cuomo pulled off an incredible about-face on Monday. With the COVID-19 vaccine now being administered throughout the state, he's suddenly decided that it's time to reopen the economy.
"We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass," Cuomo said. "The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open. We must reopen the economy, but we must do it smartly and safely."
We simply cannot stay closed until the vaccine hits critical mass. The cost is too high. We will have nothing left to open. We must reopen the economy, but we must do it smartly and safely.#SOTS2021— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 11, 2021
The contrast from a few months ago wasn't lost on Cuomo's many critics.
Some social media users wondered if he was only now open to opening the economy because the Democrats are about to take control in Washington.
"And it begins....this whole lockdown bulls*it was just about securing the election," one Twitter user wrote.
"Now watch how fast democrat supporters start saying we need to open up the country," wrote another. "Was it worth all the lost small businesses just to win an election?"
Others simply wondered if President Trump had hacked the governor's Twitter.
Republican lawmakers were confused by the governor's change of heart. Leader of the New York State Assembly Republican Conference Will Barclay released a statement cheering Cuomo's words but criticizing how he's going about it.
"Certainly, I agree with him on these goals," Barclay said. "But he presented far too little help for small businesses, direct assistance to families, future logistics on the state's slow vaccination rollout or how he plans to address New York's mounting debt and precarious budget deficit."
Statement on the 2021 State of the State Address pic.twitter.com/x4WYImOV3h— Will Barclay (@WillABarclay) January 11, 2021
Cuomo is also catching flak for how he's handled the New York vaccination rollout. He waited days to open up the process to senior citizens, and when he did they found a complicated, convoluted application. He's also announced that vaccinations are going to be by appointment only.
All vaccinations are BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 11, 2021
Due to limited supply from the federal government, all New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient when scheduling appointments.
Do not show up to any vaccination site without an appointment—you will not get the vaccine.