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Graphics courtesy of the Office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo
Graphics courtesy of the Office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo

Cuomo signs executive order to support seniors & restaurant industry; announces approval of Moderna vaccine

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Mon, Dec 21st 2020 09:50 am

Sales tax deadline for restaurants extended until March 2021

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced he signed an executive order providing additional support for two of the groups hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic: vulnerable homeowners and the restaurant industry. Under executive order 202.83, local governments can continue to provide property tax exemptions for low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities who own property through 2021 by lifting an in-person renewal requirement that would put vulnerable New Yorkers at risk of infection from COVID-19. Additionally, the sales tax deadline for restaurants in “orange zones,” which have been required to suspend indoor dining, will be extended until March.

"COVID has tested our collective strength and put a strain on finances for so many New Yorkers," Cuomo said. "We're taking measures that will provide much needed tax relief for some of those hardest hit by this pandemic – New Yorkers over 65 and our restaurant industry. With the finish line in sight, we will continue to support New Yorkers wherever possible and fight to get the federal government to deliver real relief for those who are struggling."

A press release said, “Thousands of low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities rely on property tax exemptions annually to remain in their homes. To claim or renew benefits, eligible seniors and disabled New Yorkers typically line up at town halls across the state to file the required documentation. This raises obvious concerns amid the COVID-19 public health emergency as those eligible to receive these benefits are among those most susceptible to the virus. This modification will decrease density in assessor's offices to limit the spread of COVID and ensure critical tax relief.”

Under the governor's executive order, local governments can automatically renew 2021 benefits for all property owners who received the benefit in 2020 unless the locality has reason to believe an individual has changed their primary address, added another owner to the deed, transferred the property to a new owner, or passed away.

In addition to the flexibility provided for these benefits, the governor's executive order provides a three-month extension to the deadline for restaurants in “orange zones,” including New York City, to turn over sales taxes to the state. Restaurants in impacted areas were required to suspend indoor dining temporarily. The press release noted, “Extending the sales tax deadline for payment of taxes due on Dec. 21 to March 2021 will ease tax burdens for restaurants and bars in communities where COVID-19 metrics necessitated additional restrictions. This action also provides a degree of temporary relief as New York continues to fight to ensure the federal government provides real fiscal relief for these small businesses. Affected restaurants should follow guidance from the Tax Department to request this relief.”

New York State Clinical Advisory Task Force Approves Moderna Vaccine

346,000 doses of Moderna vaccine expected in New York this week

DOH approves use & issues guidance for extra COVID-19 vaccine doses in Pfizer vials

Cuomo also announced the New York State Clinical Advisory Task Force, following the FDA's advisory committee's recommendation for emergency use authorization of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, reviewed and approved use of the vaccine in New York. The state expects to receive approximately 346,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week, pending final FDA authorization.

In addition, the governor said the State Department of Health approved and issued guidance regarding the use of an extra one to two doses that have been discovered in Pfizer vaccine shipments. Pfizer vaccine vials were previously believed to contain five doses each, but may possibly contain six or seven doses. Medical professionals administering doses can use any extra vaccine that can be easily pulled into a syringe to meet the dose requirement. Extra vaccine from one vial cannot be combined with extra vaccine from another vial to make an additional dose. The New York State Department of Health is issuing guidance to guide health care professionals regarding these extra doses. A letter from DOH Commissioner Howard Zucker is available here.

"New Yorkers are smart, they see the COVID numbers and they understand the risks. I think they're going to learn from Thanksgiving and I think you'll see a smarter response through the holiday season. I believe we can avoid a shutdown, because we can slow the spread and the hospitals can manage the increase in cases. This is now a footrace between the vaccine and COVID, and as we slow the spread we also have to accelerate vaccine distribution at the same time," Cuomo said. "The faster we vaccinate people, the quicker new COVID cases go down, and the potential six-to-nine-month timeline is all in our control. I believe we had the first vaccination in the country, because I believe New York is mobilizing faster and is more organized than any other state.”

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