Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all workers for “non-essential” businesses to stay home and threatened civil fines or mandatory closure to those employers who don’t comply.
The edict goes in effect at 8 p.m. Sunday.
He also said all public gatherings of any size for any reason are cancelled.
Cuomo made the announcements late Friday morning in his daily update on the coronavirus pandemic in New York. The state saw confirmed cases skyrocket from 2,382 on Wednesday to 7,102 as of Friday morning.
The governor also announced a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants.
The escalation of social distancing is a reflection on the state’s attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The work-from-home edict went from 25 percent on Wednesday to the full workforce today.
Public transportation will continue to operate because the governor said many essential workers rely on mass transit for their commute. However, Cuomo urged others via Twitter to “limit the use of public transportation to only when absolutely necessary.”
He also said there is a critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, gowns and masks. He said the state will “pay a premium and offer funding” to any manufacturer that believes it can alter their business model to produce those goods.
For funding, call 212-803-3100. To donate unused supplies, call 646-522-8477.
Cuomo said gathering in a park or playing basketball with a group of five is prohibited but that solitary walks or runs are encouraged.
Businesses considered essential are, according to Empire State Development:
» Essential health care operations;
» Infrastructure entities including utilities, telecommunications, airlines/airports and transportation such as buses, for-hire rides and garages;
» Manufacturers who produce food, paper products, health supplies, chemicals, pharmaceuticals as well as agriculture/farming entities;
» Retailers including grocery, pharmacy, convenience stores, gas stations, hardware/building supply, farm markets and restaurants for takeout only;
» Essential services such as mail, trash collection, laudromats, auto repair facilities;
» News media;
» Financial institutions;
» Essential services to the needy, such as homeless shelters and food banks;
» Construction workers, including all skilled trades;
» Law enforcement, code enforcement, sanitation and janitorial staff, doormen;
» Business that provide child care, logistics, technology support and essential government services.
If a business isn’t sure whether it fits the criteria, or if your firm believes you provide an essential service, Empire State Development can provide an opinion.
A news release from the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce said ESD “will review requests and grant exemptions should it determine that it is in the best interest of the state to have a workforce continue at full capacity in order to properly respond to this disaster.”