Governor extends school and non-essential business closings to May 15
The state will remain “on pause” with schools and nonessential businesses closed until May 15, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at about noon today.
He will look at the data with the rate of infections and hospitalizations from Covid-19, and consult heath experts, to see if the closures will continue after May 15.
“NY Pause has worked,” Cuomo said at a news conference in Albany. “But we are not there yet.”
He announced today the state is developing a metric for allowing some businesses currently closed to reopen. The metric will consider the importance to society for the different sectors of businesses, and possible risk to public health with having them open.
The state is making progress in reducing the rates of infection, hospitalization and the deaths from Covid-19. But Cuomo said the state still needs to be very careful and take precautions or else the numbers can revert back to an upward trajectory.
“We’ve controlled the beast,” Cuomo said. “We’ve brought the rate of spread down.”
The state has been on pause since 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. The governor’s directive requires all non-essential businesses statewide to close in-office personnel functions and temporarily bans all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason.
The pause directive has shown many businesses can function with people working from home or telecommuting.
Once businesses reopen their worksites, Cuomo said there should be a plan in place for social distancing among co-workers.
“This will be a moment of transformation for society, and we paid a high price for it,” he said. “We can do things differently and better.”
Cuomo also issued a directive on Wednesday requiring masks or cloth covering over the mouth and nose when people are out in public and can’t maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. That directive doesn’t include children under age 2. The directive takes effect at 8 p.m. on Friday. The governor acknowledged a lot of pushback about the mask directive.
“I understand, I’m getting a lot of not happy phone calls,” he said. “I’m sorry it makes people unhappy. I don’t consider it a major burden and it is really a simple measure that can save lives.”