Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo finally issued an executive order that mandates a state-wide shut down and ‘stay home’ instruction for all people.
Essential services such as food stores, pharmacies, and others will remain open, but the order pretty much shuts down everything else.
In a tweet Friday, he said the order would exclude pharmacies, grocery stores, and others.
The announcement came after new figures showed New York state now accounts for 40 percent of coronavirus cases in the U.S, with New York City itself responsible for approximately 30 percent.
“This is the most drastic action that we can take,” Cuomo said later at a news conference at the state capital building in Albany.
He said the restrictions, which he called New York State on Pause, will take effect Sunday.
The restrictions will cause disruption, cause businesses to close, cause employee to stay home, “cause much unhappiness,” Cuomo said, but he added they were necessary to protect New Yorkers.
“I believe these policies will save lives,” Cuomo said.
On Friday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City’s number of cases had climbed to about 4,000, and 26 people had died from the virus.
“We now constitute 30 percent of the coronavirus cases in the United States of America, 70 percent of the cases in the state of New York,” de Blasio told MSNBC. “We have to take really intense, radical action right away.”
Cuomo has been under pressure from de Blasio and others to issue a shelter in place order for New Yorkers to combat the spread of the virus.
But Cuomo denied that his order was a shelter in place.
The restrictions include a ban on non-essential gatherings, including “parties, celebrations or social events.”
They also ban all non-solitary outside activity, like outdoor basketball games and other team sports.
“We have to do it, we have to be serious,” Cuomo said. “Everyone has personal freedom and everyone has personal liberty and I’ll always protect that.”
The governor said the restrictions will be enforced legally.
“These are not helpful hints,” he said.
Cuomo also said he was announcing Matilda’s Law to protect New Yorkers age 70 and over and those with compromised immune systems.
They will be required to remain indoors and, if they have visitors, those individuals will have to be re-screened by taking their temperature. Visitors should wear masks and adhere to social distancing.
Matilda’s Law is named after Cuomo’s 93-year-old mother.