Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

Metro Creative Graphics
Metro Creative Graphics

Hochul reminds New Yorkers of state efforts to ensure safe viewing experience for once-in-a-generation eclipse event


Mon, Mar 25th 2024 01:10 pm

Since October 2022, interagency task force has been working with local authorities to prepare

√ Governor cautions travelers to prepare for high volume of traffic, reminds people to use proper eye protection during eclipse

√ Hochul releases Buffalo Bills PSA with safety tips here

Two weeks ahead of the April 8 eclipse, Gov. Kathy Hochul updated New Yorkers on the state’s preparations “to ensure everyone can have a safe and memorable viewing experience.”

In October 2022, Hochul convened an interagency task force comprised of nearly two-dozen state agencies and authorities. The group has been collaborating for the past 17 months, as New York is expecting hundreds of thousands of visitors. Hochul is reminding travelers of several tips to “ensure the smoothest possible experience for everyone.” She is advising travelers to get to their destination early and plan on staying late to avoid the most traffic, allow for extra travel time, and travel prepared with water and snacks. Additionally, her team said, “drivers should never pull over on the side of the road to ensure first responders can get by in an emergency.”

“The April 8 eclipse is a once-in-a-generation experience, and there’s no better place to view it than in our beautiful state,” Hochul said. “New York is ready to welcome millions of visitors, and my administration has been working hard to ensure everyone in the path of the eclipse can safely enjoy this rare event. I encourage anyone traveling for this experience to plan on arriving early to their destination and staying late to enjoy all of what our state has to offer.”

The governor has been working with her administration:

√ Directing the New York State Police, Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority to prepare for high volume of traffic. The governor is urging travelers to be patient, be prepared for backups, and always obey traffic rules.

√ Ensuring New Yorkers know where to find the proper eye protection. During the eclipse, looking directly at the sun without specialized eye protection can result in serious injury. More information and resources are available here.

√ Working with agencies and local authorities to ensure communities have the tools they need to manage an influx of visitors.

√ Releasing a PSA featuring members of the Buffalo Bills reiterating important safety tips. Watch here.

√ Warning New Yorkers to protect themselves against potential scams, fake merchandise, and phony accommodation listings.

√ Urging New Yorkers to prepare for the weather, pack plenty of water, bring proper gear, and watch out for ticks if camping.

New York state’s eclipse experience preparations

•Interagency task force: For the past 17 months, an interagency task force has been focused on building awareness of the state as a prime location to experience the eclipse by gathering safety and preparedness information, amplifying and supporting region-specific viewing activities, and maintaining regular communication with local governments and municipalities, especially those within the path of totality.

Hochul’s team said, “New York’s public safety efforts align with the state’s normal jurisdictional role over state parks and state roads, and support to local governments in their planning and decision-making in accordance with their own codes, laws and needs as this exciting event approaches. Public safety challenges for such an event include traffic management, communications capabilities and public health and safety. State, county and local public safety and emergency management efforts have been and will continue to be tailored to the anticipated needs from an influx of those who come to view the eclipse from both inside and outside the state.”

•Traffic preparations: Hochul has directed State Police, DOT and the Thruway Authority to prepare for a high volume of traffic the weekend leading up to the eclipse and through April 9. Vehicles are not allowed to park on the shoulder of the highway to view the eclipse. DOT and the Thruway Authority will have increased staffing and patrols for maintenance and traffic crews. Additionally, construction and temporary lane closures will be suspended to allow traffic to flow.

•Eye protection: During the eclipse, it is especially unsafe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection. Doing so can result in serious injury. The partial phases of the solar eclipse can only be safely observed directly with specialized eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer ­– regular sunglasses are not a safe replacement. On March 18, Hochul launched a statewide effort to distribute limited-edition I LOVE NY eclipse glasses at 30 locations throughout the state. There is a limited amount of glasses available for distribution daily, and additional sources for eye protection are available here.

•Eclipse events: Hochul announced earlier in March that, on April 8 and over the next two weeks, numerous eclipse-viewing gatherings are scheduled at many state parks and historic sites. Register for the dozens of events and activities through the OPRHP event calendar and the eclipse website. Hochul also announced that, beginning April 4, scientists, subject matter experts and astronauts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will be providing programming and exhibits at Niagara Falls State Park as well as throughout the city. A full list of events found here will be free and open to the public.

Come for the eclipse, stay for New York

I LOVE NY has launched the multi-platform “Come for the Eclipse, Stay for New York” campaign to present New York as the place to be to witness this event. The campaign and a special eclipse website highlight viewing location information in the five regions that will experience the path of totality, a variety of attractions and special eclipse-related events happening across the state across its digital platforms including InstagramFacebookTikTok and Twitter/X. A downloadable special edition eclipse poster is also available, created through I LOVE NY's partnership with acclaimed artist and professional astronomer Dr. Tyler Nordgren. Visit iloveny.com/eclipse for viewing locations and additional safety tips.

To complement any eclipse travel or viewing experience, I LOVE NY created a special eclipse playlist on Spotify, featuring songs that both reference the eclipse or New York state, or are eclipse-adjacent. From classics such as Bonnie Tyler's “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles, to David Bowie's “Starman” and Taylor Swift's “Welcome to New York,” more than 80 curated songs are available for a solar eclipse soundtrack.

NYSDOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “There’s no better place to take in the upcoming solar eclipse than New York state and, under Gov. Hochul’s leadership, every level of government is working around the clock to make sure this event is as safe and enjoyable as possible. The Department of Transportation will have crews and resources out in force to help people get where they need to go before, during and after the eclipse. But everybody needs to do their part, and that means planning ahead. We urge everyone to arrive at their destinations early, stay later, avoid parking on the side of the road and, above all, be patient. A lot of people will be on the roads, and it’s up to each of us to keep safety top of mind so everyone can enjoy this natural wonder.”

New York State Parks Commissioner Pro Tempore Randy Simons said, “With so many people gathering to experience this rare event, State Parks has opened select campgrounds early, enhanced programming, increased security, ordered certified solar eclipse eyewear, and are hosting dozens of media from across the globe. We ask all who come to come prepared, as our State Park team is ready to welcome visitors from near and far and make it an enjoyable and safe experience to remember.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “On April 8, New Yorkers from the shores of Lake Erie to the Adirondack High Peaks and points in between will have the breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a total solar eclipse. In close coordination with our state agency partners, DEC is encouraging eclipse watchers statewide to enjoy the magnificence of the eclipse safely and responsibly with respect both for others and our shared environment.”

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “The most important step to ensure New Yorkers enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime event is to protect your eyes. ISO-certified eclipse glasses will shield your eyes from serious and possibly permanent damage, which can occur by looking at the eclipse with regular sunglasses or without any eye protection. I am grateful Gov. Hochul is making the specialized glasses available in dozens of locations around the state to ensure this experience is a safe and enjoyable one.”

During the afternoon of April 8, a total eclipse will encompass 29 counties in the western and northern parts of New York state. For other areas of the state that are outside the path of totality, there will still be 88% to over 99% coverage. The next total solar eclipse that will be visible from the contiguous U.S. will not be until August 2044.

Hometown News

View All News