New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday ordered all of New York state except essential workers to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Two basic rules,” Cuomo said at a press conference Friday. “Only essential businesses can have workers commuting to the job or on the job. Second rule, remain indoors to the greatest extent to protect physical and mental health.”
Essential services included groceries, pharmacies and utility operators, Cuomo said. Individuals can continue to do “solitary” outdoor exercise, he said, but not “laying in a park with 10 other people and sharing a beer.”
Mass transit and delivery food were considered essential services, the governor clarified.
“This is the most drastic action we can take,” Cuomo said. The new rules will go into effect Sunday evening.
New York’s move mirrored the action taken by California Gov. Gavin Newsom Thursday night.
Without the ability to expand the capacity of the state’s health care system, Cuomo said, the best way to combat the disease’s spread was to tighten the “valve” of density in the state by limiting New Yorkers’ movements.
“We’re going to take it to the ultimate step, which is we’re going to close the valve,” he said Friday. “Because the rate of increase in the number of cases portends a total overwhelming of our hospital system.”
“So we’re going to put out an executive order today: New York state on pause.”