ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that 100 percent of non-essential workers in businesses statewide must stay home amid concerns of the novel coronavirus spread.
“These are non-essential services but essential services need to continue to function,” he said during a press conference in Albany. “Grocery stores need food, pharmacies need drugs, your Internet needs to continue to work, water has to turn on when you turn on the faucet. When I talk about the most drastic action we can take, this is the most drastic action we can take.”
Food delivery service and public transportation are among the essential services, he added.
He also said that businesses that do not comply will face civil fines and mandatory closures. “These provisions will be enforced,” he said. “These are not helpful hints. This is not if you really want to be a great citizen. 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.”
Cuomo said he understands his actions “will cause disruption,” affecting businesses, employees and the larger economy. “I accept full responsibility,” he said. “If someone is unhappy, if somebody wants to blame someone, or complain about someone, blame me. There is no one else who is responsible for this decision.”
As of Friday, March 20, Cuomo announced there are 7,102 COVID-19 cases in New York state and Albany County Executive Dan McCoy reported there are 70 cases in the county.