Cuomo Puts New York 'On Pause', Closes Non-Essential Businesses

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all non-essential businesses must close down and that New York State residents must stay home in the fight against coronavirus.

The new order will go into effect on Sunday. Referring to the policy as "New York State on pause" in a press conference, Cuomo said that people should "remain indoors to the greatest extent to protect physical and mental health." 

He clarified that public transit and food deliveries will remain open. 

Additional rules for people over 70 or vulnerable populations include staying indoors, going outside only for solitary exercise, not visiting other households, wearing masks in the presence of other people and avoid public transportation. 

For everyone else, the rules include no non-essential gatherings, social distancing of at least six feet, only outdoor recreation that are non-contact activities, limiting use of public transit, avoiding interacting with vulnerable populations and using alcohol wipes.

"These provisions will be enforced," Cuomo said. "These are not helpful hints." 

He said that businesses could face fines and mandatory closures. At this time, individuals do not face legal consequences. 

Cuomo said that there are 7,102 positive cases of coronavirus in New York State, with 4,408 in New York City.

Cuomo also said that all non-critical elective surgeries will be canceled in New York state, which could free up to 35 percent of existing hospital beds. 

The governor also said that the state would purchase medical supplies like gloves, gowns and masks at a premium, and encouraged any manufacturers who have the capacity to produce these items to do so. 

"If you can make them, we will give you funding to do it," Cuomo told manufacturers. 

He also asked any health departments with unused ventilators to provide them for the state's use. 

"The ventilators are to this war what missiles were to World War II," Cuomo said, invoking the image of Rosie the Riveter. 

The governor said that he was pausing all commercial and residential evictions for 90 days.