Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today ordered new restrictions to take effect Sunday in New York when there will be a 100% workforce reduction for all nonessential businesses to combat COVID-19. He denied that the new restrictions on business and personal activity amount to a “shelter in place” order as was put in effect in California. He described the new restrictions as putting New York on PAUSE – Policies that Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone.
Among essential businesses are food stores, pharmacies, the media and health care enterprises. Nonessential business are no longer permitted to have workers report to their facilities. The PAUSE action includes regulations for individuals fitting into the category of “nonvulnerable populations,” those who are not senior citizens, do not have underlying illness and do not have compromised immune systems.
Nonessential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason are canceled or postponed. Any concentrations of individuals outside of the home must be limited to workers providing essential services. Social distancing must be practiced. When in public, people must maintain at least six feet separation from each other. Individuals must limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities putting them in close proximity to others. Sick individuals must not leave their homes except to seek medical care.
People who fall into the classification of “vulnerable” must remain indoors, can go outside for solitary exercise, must pre-screen all visitors by taking their temperature and must wear a mask when in the company of others. Those in the vulnerable segments must not take public transportation unless it is urgent and absolutely necessary.
Cuomo said the number of positive tests for the virus is now 7,102 with 1,091 cases in Westchester. New York City had 4,408 cases of COVID-19. Cuomo said the numbers will continue to increase dramatically as the number of tests conducted goes up. Test results also show that Nassau County had 754 cases, Suffolk had 371. Rockland had 101, Orange had 84, there were 61 cases in Albany County, 36 in Dutchess, 32 in Monroe and 31 in Erie. Cuomo said that he expects every county in the state will soon have active COVID-19 cases.
Cuomo said that the provisions of the PAUSE restrictions will be enforced with civil fines and mandatory closures of business that are not in compliance. He presented figures showing that New York was the most impact state in the country in terms of known cases with its 7,102 cases, followed by Washington state with 1,376 cases. However, while New York had 35 deaths, there were 75 deaths in Washington state.
Cuomo announced that he is ordering a 90-day moratorium on all commercial and residential evictions in the state. Cuomo said that New York state will pay a premium for personal protective equipment and it is prepared to help any manufacturer or startup company that can manufacture equipment such as face masks, gowns and gloves.
Cuomo said he spoke with hospital administrators this morning and it is expected that a date will be set next week to stop all non-critical elective surgery in the state. He said that hospitals have been told they need to double the capacity of each room in their facilities.
Cuomo said that the need for ventilators remains critical. “There are a lot of medical offices that have ventilators that are not operational now and they’re just in a corner of the office. We need those ventilators,” he said.