On April 16, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo officially extended New York’s stay-at-home order to May 15. “What happens after then, I don’t know,” Cuomo said during his Thursday briefing “We will see, depending on what the data shows.” Here’s everything we know so far about New York’s extended stay-at-home order and what it means for New York residents.
“New York on Pause” Continues
Known as “New York on Pause,” Cuomo’s stay-at-home order was previously set to end on April 29. However, as part of a regionally coordinated plan between governors of East Coast states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut, Cuomo has now set a new target of May 15.
“We must stay the course,” Cuomo emphasized. “Why don’t you open tomorrow?” Because we’re afraid the infection rate will go up. And everything we’ve been doing is to slow the infection rate.” Until experts believe the virus is under control, Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio aren’t ready to reopen the state with the most populous metropolis in the country.
There are small signs that New York’s extreme social distancing measures are paying off. Between April 14 and April 15, the hospitalization rate from COVID-19 decreased by nearly 1,000 patients, while the number of patients in the ICU and undergoing intubations also declined.
“The bad news is that 2,000 people walked into a hospital for the first time with this disease yesterday, and the worst news is that 600 people died yesterday from the disease,” Cuomo explained. The extended stay-at-home order is designed to minimize the infection rate so that the state’s hospitalization and death rates can continue to fall.
Stay-At-Home Order Conditions
New Yorkers will continue following the strict social distancing guidelines established by Governor Cuomo’s March 20 Executive Order:
- Only essential businesses in operation
- All schools closed
- 90-day moratorium on all residential and commercial evictions
- Limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact
- Limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary
- Sick individuals should only leave their homes to receive medical care
In making this decision, Cuomo stressed his rationale: “No political decisions, no emotional decisions. Data and science. We are talking about human lives here.”
New York City Takes Additional Measures
As one of the main epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak, Mayor Bill DeBlasio has taken additional precautions to ensure the infection rate doesn’t spike in May and June:
- City beaches unlikely to open this summer
- Municipal pools unlikely to open this summer
- All street events, including parades and fairs, canceled for May
“We should never underestimate this disease,” DeBlasio reminded. “Imagine Coney Island in the middle of summer, hundreds of thousands of people packed tightly together,” he said. “I don’t see that happening anytime soon. It’s not safe.”
Executive Order Directs All New York Residents to Wear Face Masks
The most notable addition to Governor Cuomo’s guidelines is an Executive Order directing all New Yorkers to wear masks or face coverings in the following situations:
- Public transportation passengers and operators
- For-hire vehicle passengers and operators
- When out in public
- In situations where social distancing cannot be maintained
The Executive Order states that all residents 2 years and older must wear face coverings in public. It goes into effect Friday, April 17 at 8 p.m.
“My phone is ringing off the hook in opposition,” Cuomo said. “As relatively simple and possibly annoying as it seems, wearing a mask is one of the best things we can do. I do not consider it a major burden and it really is a simple measure that can save lives.”