ITHACA, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during a press conference on Friday increased restrictions for businesses, including a 100% reduction in workforce for non-essential businesses across New York state.
New York has now joined California in essentially shutting down the state, as well as Illinois, which made a similar move Friday afternoon. State officials reminded the public that increases in testing are playing an outsized roll in the spike in positive tests in New York, which more than doubled overnight, up to more than 7,100 from about 2,600 on Thursday.
For those of you that are having trouble keeping up with the governor’s daily executive orders and what constitutes an”essential” business — Here is the state’s guidance on what constitutes an “essential” business. If you think your business may be essential, New York state has a form for that, which can be found here.
Cuomo described the slow drawdown of in-person employees and slowly closing down businesses sector by sector as a density control valve. According to the three-term governor, that valve will now be shut off.
“That’s what we have been doing all along. We are going to take it to the final step and close the valve,” said Cuomo of his most recent actions to head off the disease.
The governor also warned businesses considering flouting the new requirements that such actions do not come without consequence.
“These provisions will be enforced. These are not helpful hints, this is not if you really want to be a great citizen,” said Cuomo. “These are legal provisions, they will be enforced. There will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for any business that is not in compliance. Again, your actions can affect my health, that’s where we are.”
As things stand, Cuomo’s plan consists of 10 rules, which he is calling the New York State PAUSE — or Policies Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone. Deleware and Pennsylvania have also joined Connecticut and New Jersey in enforcing the same regulations.
The 10-point NYS on PAUSE plan is as follows:
- Effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22, all non-essential businesses statewide will be closed;
- Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed at this time;
- Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services and social distancing should be practiced;
- When in public individuals must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others;
- Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet;
- Individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people;
- Individuals should limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary and should limit potential exposure by spacing out at least six feet from other riders;
- Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care and only after a telehealth visit to determine if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health;
- Young people should also practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations; and
- Use precautionary sanitizer practices such as using isopropyl alcohol wipes
Cuomo asked medical offices or facilities that may have a ventilator that is not crucial to their operations. The state is requesting those who do get in touch with the New York State Department of Health 518-281-5120
The governor also asked manufacturers in the state to consider if they may be able to make items the state is short on. Personal protective gear, of PPE, are in short supply across New York state,
“If you can make them, we will give you funding to do it. I am asking businesses to be creative. I am looking on the stateside…I’ve also spoken to the state facilities that make uniforms. If you make uniforms, why can’t you make a mask?” mused Cuomo. “I can’t mandate that businesses make something, but I can offer financial incentives, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Cuomo asks businesses willing to participate to contact the Empire State Development Corporation at 212-803-3100
Cuomo has announced a survey for retired medical personnel that may be able to lend a hand and also said the state has reached out to medical and nursing schools, asking retired personnel to consider coming back to work during the crisis.
City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick participated in a conference call with Congressman Tom Reed Friday afternoon, calling on a universal basic income, something he began pushing for weeks ago to help head off the economic impacts locally.
“I Let him know that I think we need to be preparing for and getting ahead of the worst-case scenario when it comes to the economic impact of this,” said Myrick in a Facebook Live update. “That means a universal income for everybody in the country, it means creating a rent freeze…that doesn’t hurt landlords, that fully reimburses fully landlords so they’re not left holding the bag.”
He also called for a debt holiday for, where every dollar you pay off of your student debt or credit card debt, for example, it would actually clear more of your debt.
“This is the kind of intense intervention we need to prevent the worst impacts of homelessness and poverty,” added Myrick.