Governor will require masks be worn in public when social distancing not possible

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 April 2020 at 3:22 pm

Photo by Mike Groll/Office of Governor: Andrew M. Cuomo speaks during a press conference in Albany on Tuesday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued a new executive order requiring people to wear masks or a cloth covering their mouths and noses when in public and if social distancing isn’t possible.

The governor’s new order takes effect in three days.

“Wear a mask, what’s the big deal?” the governor said a press conference today in Albany.

The mask or cloth covering can help people to not spread the virus to others.

He urged people to be expressive in wearing the masks, which can be personalized and be colorful.

Cuomo said the masks need to be worn when social distancing isn’t possible. He mentioned subways, public transit and busy streets are places wear people are close together and masks need to be worn.

People could be out walking or jogging and might not have anyone near them. If they come close to somebody, they need to slip on a mask or cloth covering, even if it’s just briefly, Cuomo said.

He is urging local governments and police agencies to enforce the new executive order. Initially there won’t be a penalty but if people are not complying with the order, Cuomo said he will update the order to include a penalty.

He anticipates the public will send the message to others to comply.

“People will enforce it,” Cuomo said. “They’ll say to you if they’re standing next you on a street corner, ‘Where’s your mask, buddy?’ in a nice New York kind of way.”

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