Only “essential businesses” will be allowed to remain open.
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Topline: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a press conference on Friday that he would sign an executive order mandating that 100% of the state’s workforce must stay home, as the number of reported coronavirus cases continues to rise at an alarming rate.
- The order excludes pharmacies, grocery stores and other “essential businesses.”
- Delivery services are also deemed as essential, as is mass transit—though Cuomo said, “Don’t take public transit unless urgent and absolutely necessary.”
- “These are legal provisions,” Cuomo said. “There will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for businesses not in compliance.”
- The New York governor also reiterated the need for medical supplies and ventilators: “I’m asking businesses to get creative. . . . If you can make them, we will give you funding to do it,” he said. “We will pay a premium for these products.”
- Cuomo also said that the state would waive elected surgeries as it tries to deal with the increasing severity of the coronavirus outbreak. He asked nursing and medical schools to step up and provide staff, as well as for retired doctors to come back into service.
- The governor confirmed that he would be issuing a full stop to any evictions of residential or commercial tenants for 90 days.
Crucial statistic: New York state has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. The number of infected has now risen to over 7,000—significantly more than in Washington and California. The hospitalization rate currently sits at 18%, according to Cuomo.
Crucial quote: “Ventilators are to this war what missiles were to World War II,” Cuomo said in his press conference. “It’s ventilators, ventilators, ventilators. That’s the greatest need.”
Big number: New York is now testing more people per capita than China and South Korea, Cuomo said. “We’ve done a great job of ramping up the number of tests,” but that also obviously leads to more positive cases, he noted.
Key background: A day earlier, Cuomo ordered 75% of the workforce in nonessential services to stay home. He argued that the coronavirus pandemic is akin to one of the most significant moments in his state’s history—the September 11, 2001, attacks. “For me, in New York, it reminds me of 9/11, where one moment that was inconceivable just changed everything,” Cuomo said yesterday. On Wednesday, he also announced that President Trump would send a U.S. Navy hospital ship to anchor in New York Harbor to help ease the crowded city hospitals.
Further reading: Governor Cuomo is the “control freak we need right now,” argues New York Times columnist Ben Smith. Forbes senior contributor Carmine Gallo similarly writes that Cuomo “balances calm with the need for drastic measures.”
What to watch for: As of now, no individual fines will yet be levied against people who ignore the governor’s stay-at-home order. Cuomo also criticized young people who have still been going out and feeling “invincible.” The statement that young people can’t get the virus is “wrong—it’s just not a factual statement,” the governor said.