Gov. Cuomo announces programs to expand testing at pharmacies, help small businesses


NEW YORK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Testing remains one of the biggest priorities of the state as parts of New York begin to reopen.

During Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefing on Friday, he announced that the state is starting a new pilot program to expand testing at pharmacies.

52 independent pharmacies will be taking part in the program, to increase the amount of COVID-19 tests per week by 7,000. It’s not clear if any of these pharmacies are in western New York.

This brings the amount of testing sites in New York to 750.

Later in the day, Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein urged people to get tested. She says the county has purchased 100,000 tests.

MORE | Find a testing site here

On Thursday, there were 109 more coronavirus-related deaths. 27 of the people who died were nursing home residents.

During the Friday conference, Cuomo made another announcement regarding small businesses.

Starting Tuesday, businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees can pre-apply for the New York Forward Loan Fund. This program is aimed at helping small businesses as they reopen.

Non-profits and landlords that have seen a drop in rental income also qualify for this program.

Here are the other qualifications:

  • Small businesses must have gross revenues of less than $3 million per year
  • Nonprofits must provide direct services and have an annual operating budget of less than $3 million per year; and
  • Have not received a loan from either SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for COVID-19 in 2020.

The geographic proportionality goal for this money’s use in western New York is 8 percent. The New York City region has the largest share of the funding goal, with 30 percent.

More information on how to apply can be found here.

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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