The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
We are entering the eleventh month of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this span, Governor Cuomo has exercised absolute authority over every aspect of life in New York. We should stop pretending he is motivated by #science. Cuomo, like every politician, acts like a politician. Racial justice marches are essential. But 11 Jews praying in a synagogue that fits 1,000 people is forbidden. Cuomo does whatever he thinks he can get away with.
Now, for the first time in a quarter century, the Buffalo Bills have made the NFL playoffs. And, Governor Cuomo will permit nearly 7,000 fans watch the game:
The plan allows for 6,772 fans, with attendees needing to register a negative COVID-19 test before being granted entrance. The team will work with the state's Department of Health to conduct contact tracing afterward.
Fans will be socially distanced throughout the stadium, with masks required at all times. Fans who fail to comply will be ejected.
As we know all too well, tests are not always accurate. And people may contract the virus after taking the test. If the state's goal was to keep transmission as close to zero as possible, no one would consider this feat. But that isn't the state's sole goal. "Essential" simply means "important" to Governor Cuomo. And Cuomo was not willing to accept the wrath of football fans in upstate New York. Orthodox Jews–who tend to vote Republican–are simply not that important.
Cuomo would be wise not to appeal the recent Agudath Israel decision to the Supreme Court. His Solicitor General will be asked about the Bills game.