Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to cancel all in-person press conferences going forward
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to cancel all in-person press briefings going forward, citing revised CDC guidance and rising COVID-19 cases in the Empire State, The Post has learned.
The move comes nearly 10 months into the pandemic, after Cuomo conducted mainly in-person press conferences between March and June from the state Capitol Building in Albany.
Recently he has held a mix of physical appearances as well as phone conference calls with reporters, providing updates on the state’s progress.
“Since the beginning, we’ve talked about the important role the media has played in educating the public about this pandemic and hand in hand we worked with the Legislative Correspondents Association to decrease room density, put protections in place and ensure that ever-evolving health and safety protocols were being followed,” Cuomo senior adviser Rich Azzopardi told The Post.
“Given the new stricter CDC guidelines released Friday and the reality of rising cases in New York, going remote is now the most prudent action. We are making every effort to protect public health and balance it with the need for reporters across the state to continue to have access and to do their jobs.”
The governor’s office notified the Legislative Correspondents Association Tuesday evening — the predominantly Albany-based reporters who cover the governor and state Legislature.
Cuomo will instead transition to a remote briefing style, where reporters will be given call-in numbers and likely view the governor’s remarks via video broadcast.
Cuomo also announced last week a set schedule of Monday, Wednesday and Friday briefings heading into the winter months.
The move also comes a week after The Post pressed the governor and his top aides, inquiring about why they continued to sit maskless at in-person press conferences held in Albany, Manhattan and elsewhere across the state.
During Monday’s briefing, Cuomo’s team added new Plexiglass dividers separating the governor and his team from one another.
His office later defended move, arguing they made amends based the CDC’s new, stricter policies concerning indoor activities.
Cuomo began holding press conferences in March, and gradually the administration made changes in line with COVID-19 restrictions like reduced room capacity, adding extra space between reporter’s chairs in Albany’s “Red Room” conference room, began taking temperatures at the door and limited additional staff entry.
But there have been complications, and a Cuomo aide even contracted the virus in mid-March, causing the governor’s communications team to quarantine.
Cuomo also wrote a new book released in October called “American Crisis,” and in it highlighted how helpful the briefings were to New Yorkers and Americans alike.
Cuomo will join other politicians like Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been holding remote press conferences since the pandemic’s start where reporters call in and view the mayor’s remarks via a livestream.