Governor Cuomo Says 100% of Non-Essential Workforce Must Stay Home


(Bloomberg) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered New Yorkers to stay at home for the foreseeable future, after days of conflict with Mayor Bill de Blasio over whether such an extreme measure needed to be taken to arrest the spread of coronavirus.

The move follows a similar order by California's Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday, leaving only limited businesses allowed to operate and requires people to remain home other than going outside for exercise.

He said the new orders would go in place on Sunday and exempt non-essential services including public transit and grocery stores. The state's death toll has reached 35.

"This is the most drastic action we can take," Cuomo said.

He said New Yorkers should stay indoors and shouldn't take public transportation unless necessary. The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 rose to 7,102, adding 2,950 since Thursday. New York City added 1,939 cases, to 4,408.

The new order had the force of law, Cuomo said. "They will be enforced," he said. There will be a fine for businesses that don't comply.

The rules are being adopted to protect the state's most vulnerable population, including seniors over 70 and people with existing health problems, the governor said.

Seniors must now remain indoors, prescreen all visitors and shouldn't visit households with multiple people. Anyone visiting should wear a mask. Older New Yorkers shouldn't take public transportation unless it's urgent and absolutely necessary, Cuomo said.

Cuomo has resisted de Blasio's calls to restrict people's movements on the grounds that it would create more panic among citizens during a time when authorities need cooperation.

Part of the dispute has to do with the terminology. The governor he abhors the term "shelter in place," because it first became commonly used as a strategy to stay alive duritopng a nuclear attack, and more recently during an active shooter situation in a school.

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