NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Gov. Andrew Cuomo started his daily coronavirus briefing with a moment of silence for all who’ve fallen and are being honored on Memorial Day.

He turned it into a day to repay those who served, and continue to serve, the state and city during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Cuomo and his daughter Michaela Kennedy Cuomo threw wreaths into the water near the USS Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum to honor those who served this nation in the armed services. Then he spoke of the need to honor those who heeded the call to serve in a new war – the war against COVID-19.


“Many of those who showed up and did their duty and served with honor lost their lives to keep others of us safe and in many ways, this is a microcosm of what we’re talking about on Memorial Day,” Cuomo said.

With his daughter by his side, Cuomo quoted former President John F. Kennedy about the need to honor the heroes of the coronavirus pandemic – who saw danger and reported for work anyway. He talked about health care workers, cops, EMS workers, grocery store clerks and transit workers.

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“As John F. Kennedy said, remember with your actions. And today we say we’re honoring that service, and we’re going to make sure every government in the state provides death benefits to those public heroes who died from COVID-19 during this emergency,” he said.

“Today we’re saying we honor that service and we’re going to make sure that every government in the state of New York provides death benefits to those public heroes who died of COVID-19 during this emergency,” he said. “They showed up because I asked them to show up. They showed up because I required them to show up. There’s not a transit worker who drove a bus or conducted a train or a nurse who who didn’t walk into an emergency room who wasn’t scared to death. I mean, they knew what we were talking about.”

The governor didn’t stop at benefits for those who passed away. He said the federal government should provide hazard pay for all front line workers.

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“Honoring the front line workers, showing Americans that we appreciate what you did. You showed up when it was hard, that you worked when it was hard, you appeared for duty when it was troubling to do so. I’m sure many people were afraid to show up but they showed up anyway,” Cuomo said.

The governor also honored three veterans who lost their lives in the latest war the war against the coronavirus.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In other news, the governor said that though hospitalizations, intubations and other metrics are down, there were still an additional 96 coronavirus-related deaths.

Cuomo said Staten Island can’t reopen on its own despite nearing the metrics to do so. Cuomo said it’s part of New York City and can’t begin to reopen in isolation.

Cuomo again reiterated the importance of people to wear masks in public. He said that masks work and are helping to keep to coronavirus numbers low.

The governor said his order preventing evictions for nonpayment of rent are based on financial hardship, and are not intended to empower people who can afford it to not pay and take advantage of the situation.

“You should not be evicted because you can’t pay the rent,” Cuomo said. “That doesn’t mean if you can pay the rent, just don’t pay the rent. You know, it’s not a free pass.

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“It can’t just be that you’re rich and you don’t want to pay and you want to stiff the landlord. That’s not what this is about,” he added.