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Daily Briefing – 120

Post: Aug. 2, 2020

Cuomo: New York Casinos Are Nonessential, Will Remain Closed

For four New York commercial casinos in the midst of a 4½-month shutdown due to COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn’t deliver good news last week. 

During a call with reporters, Cuomo explained the state’s decision to keep the four facilities — del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County, Resorts World Catskills, Rivers Casino in Schenectady and Tioga Downs Casino Resort — closed. There has been no timetable for the casinos to reopen. 

Read more at the Democrat and Chronicle

Jobless Aid Expires as Talks Continue on Coronavirus Package – Negotiators Report Progress

A $600 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits that has provided a key economic lifeline for millions of Americans ended Friday, with the White House again pushing for an interim deal on jobless aid while Democrats remained focused on negotiating a broader coronavirus relief agreement.

Lawmakers reported progress on a relief bill Saturday, as political pressure mounts to restore the $600-per-week supplemental unemployment benefit and send funding to help schools reopen. “This was the longest meeting we’ve had and it was more productive than the other meetings,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who was part of the rare weekend session. “We’re not close yet, but it was a productive discussion — now each side knows where they’re at.”

Read more at the Chicago Tribune

Governor Cuomo Announces $94 Million for School Technology Upgrades Through the Smart Schools Bond Act

Governor Cuomo announced Friday the approval of 148 Smart Schools Investment Plans aimed at improving school security and reimagining teaching and learning for the 21st century. The approved plans, totaling $94 million, are part of the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act — the underutilized education technology initiative and  approved by voters in 2014. 

The Smart Schools Review Board met Friday for just the fifteenth time in 6 years to consider investment plans submitted by school districts and special education schools. The Board is composed of the Director of the Budget, the Chancellor of the State University of New York, and the Commissioner of the State Education Department.

Read the press release  

DiNapoli: Local Sales Tax Collections Drop for Second Quarter of 2020

Sales tax revenue for local governments in New York state dropped 27.1 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Sales tax collections from April through June totaled $3.3 billion, which was $1.2 billion less than last year.

Collections for the month of June showed some improvement in most regions. Total collections were down 25.4 percent compared to June 2019, largely due to a steep decline in New York City. Most counties saw an improvement compared to the significant drops in April and May, and many had year-over-year June increases.

Read the Controller’s press release

Sanofi, GSK reach virus vaccine deals with US, EU

The U.S government announced a deal worth $2.1 billion with two pharmaceutical companies, Sanofi of France and GSK of Britain, to support the development of their covid-19 vaccine. The deal includes 100 million doses, with an option to buy a further 500 million. It is the largest such agreement entered into by United States yet.

At the same time, the European Union said it had reached a deal with Sanofi for the supply of 300 million doses of the potential coronavirus vaccine.

Read more at Medical Express

Air Travel’s Sudden Collapse Will Reshape a Trillion-Dollar Industry

As airlines sell fewer tickets, owing to pandemic travel restrictions or travellers’ fear of infection, the industry that makes flying possible faces a reckoning. Aircraft-makers will make fewer passenger jets and so need fewer parts from their suppliers. Ticket-sellers will see less custom and airport operators, lower footfall. Many firms have cut output and laid off thousands of workers. The question now is how far they will fall, how quickly they can recover, and what will be the long-lasting effects.

Get some insights At the Economist

Raytheon Cuts 8,000 Jobs

Due to the adverse impact of COVID-19 on the aviation business, Raytheon Technologies Corp, cut about 8,000 jobs in its commercial aviation business.  In a conference call on July 28 with analysts, CEO Greg Hays said that the impact of the virus was “ a lot worse” than was originally projected, according to Bloomberg.

“During the quarter, we continued to deliver good performance in our defense business, while we saw challenges in commercial aerospace as expected,” Hayes said in a statement.  “Looking ahead, we expect the pressures in commercial aerospace to persist as OEM production levels and aftermarket activity remain low. As a result, we are taking difficult but necessary actions to strengthen the business, including achieving the previously announced cost and cash savings this year.”

Read more at IndustryWeek

OSHA Changes Rules Regarding Worker Medical Records

OSHA has amended the process in which its employees gather and use sensitive and personally-identifiable medical files.. Revisions to the rule are meant to “improve efficiency in implementing these internal procedures.”

One main amendment to the rule transfers approval of written medical access orders (MAOs) from the Assistant Secretary of Occupational Safety and Health to the OSHA Medical Records Officer (MRO). The MRO is responsible for determining the transfer and public disclosure of personally-identifiable employee medical information in OSHA’s possession.

Read more at EHS Online