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Cuomo Orders Most Workplaces To Cut On Site Personnel By Half

In his latest update on COVID-19 coronavirus in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an executive order under which most businesses will be allowed no more than 50 percent of their personnel to work on site.

The order covers businesses statewide, with a few critical exceptions.

“That will exempt essential services meaning food, food delivery, pharmacies, health care, shipping supplies, et cetera,” Cuomo said. “Society as the function, people stay at home, but people still need to be able to order food, et cetera. They need to be able to shop. So you have to keep those essential services running.”

A detailed of list of "essential" examples was not immediately available during Cuomo's news conference but it was stated a list would be available in short time. (Click here for the governor's COVID-19 information web page.)

Previously, bars, theaters and gyms were ordered closed as part of a broader strategy to lessen the upward curve of cases that, Cuomo suggested Tuesday, would peak “in about 45 days” according to health experts advising him. The governor acknowledged the further hit New York’s economy will take with this latest order.

“I get it. I understand the impact on the economy,” he said. “But in truth, we're past that point as a nation, there is going to be an impact on the economy, not just here in New York, but all across the country. And we're going to have to deal with that crisis. But let's deal with one crisis at a time and let's deal with a crisis at hand, and the crisis at hand is a public health crisis.”

When asked about what could now be a $7 billion state deficit, the governor stated he is not considering tax increases, acknowledging many New Yorkers are losing jobs during the pandemic.

As of Cuomo’s Wednesday morning update, 1,008 new positive cases had been reported statewide, raising the overall total to 2,382. Twenty of those cases were fatal. Overall, 14,597 tests have been conducted across the state, including 4,482 new ones.

Cuomo continued to encourage the public to avoid contact with more vulnerable populations during the health crisis, but also suggested “the panic is disconnected with the reality” of the coronavirus.

He also expressed again his lack of interest in ordering a “shelter in place” in the metro New York area, explaining that such a measure would shut down essential services including food and health care delivery.