On June 24, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 210, which stated in part:
WHEREAS, it has been determined that Executive Orders 202 through 202.111 and Executive Orders 205 through 205.3 are no longer necessary.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ANDREW M. CUOMO, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of New York, do hereby order that upon due consideration, deliberation and review, Executive Orders 202 through 202.111 and Executive Orders 205 through 205.3 are hereby rescinded effective June 25, 2021.
Readers will likely recall that legislation that was adopted in 2020 to allow LOSAP sponsors to credit up to five (5) points per month for restrictions and cancellations having to do with the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation, and the points that could be awarded, were tied to the state disaster emergency declared pursuant to executive order 202. Here is the applicable section of that statute:
(p) For purposes of determining total points earned for a calendar year in which a state disaster emergency, as defined in section twenty of the executive law, has been declared pursuant to executive order number two hundred two of two thousand twenty, as amended, to address the outbreak of novel coronavirus, COVID-19, an active volunteer firefighter service award program may provide for the crediting of up to five additional points per month, prorated for periods of less than one month, to each active volunteer firefighter for each month that special emergency response rules were in place restricting firefighter responses to emergency responses and/or restricting the holding of activities for which points could be earned due to guidelines related to the state disaster emergency. A political subdivision electing to provide the additional points authorized under this subdivision shall adopt a resolution by April thirtieth, two thousand twenty-one determining the number of additional points to be credited per month, provided that any additional points credited pursuant to this subdivision shall be in addition to any other points earned pursuant to this section during the state disaster emergency.
Now that Executive Order 202 has been rescinded, the window of opportunity to award up to five (5) points per month during the COVID-19 pandemic has closed. It would appear that no COVID-related points can be awarded after June 24, 2021.
We observe that since the vaccine became widely available, most fire departments began to again operating at/near pre-pandemic levels. Therefore, it seems less likely that additional points will be needed for 2021.
However we obviously don’t know what will happen in the future, especially as we see new strains of the virus and the long-term effectiveness of the vaccine is put to the test. Since Executive Order 202 has now expired, if we enter a new state of emergency at a later date, and fire departments are forced to revert back to restricted activities, it would appear that a new bill may have to be introduced to allow LOSAP sponsors to grant additional points. All readers are strongly encouraged to review this with your local attorney for guidance.