During his morning briefing, the governor announced “New York State on PAUSE, which stands for ‘Policies that Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone.'”
Cuomo laid out the 10-point PAUSE plan:
- All non-essential businesses statewide must close by 8 p.m. Sunday. Businesses that fail to comply will face civil fines and mandatory closure, the governor said.
- Non-essential gatherings of any size, like parties or other social events, are canceled or postponed.
- In public, individuals must practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others.
- Any “concentration of individuals” outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services, and those workers should practice social distancing.
- Businesses and entities that are still open because they provide essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing.
- New Yorkers should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact.
- Only use public transportation when absolutely necessary and try to stay six feet away from other riders.
- Anyone who is sick should not leave their home unless they are going out to receive medical care. In that case, the individual should first conduct a telehealth visit to determine if leaving their home is in their best interest.
- Young people should practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations.
- Use precautionary sanitizer practices, such as using isopropyl alcohol wipes.
Cuomo urged residents to “stay home,” but made clear this is not a lockdown.
“You need to get out to take a walk and get some fresh air, yes,” he said. “There’s a practicality to this, you can’t say to someone, ‘you must be locked in your apartment 24 hours a day for the foreseeable future.'”
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The governor shared even stricter rules for vulnerable populations, like senior citizens or people with underlying respiratory issues:
- Remain indoors
- Can go outside for solitary exercise
- Pre-screen all visitors and aides by taking their temperature and seeing if person is exhibiting other flu-like symptoms
- Do not visit households with multiple people
- All vulnerable persons should wear a mask when in the company of others
- To the greatest extent possible, everyone in the presence of vulnerable people should wear a mask
- Always stay at least six feet away from individuals
- Do not take public transportation unless urgent and absolutely necessary
“I call it Matilda’s Law. My mother’s name is Matilda. Everybody’s mother, father, sister, friend in a vulnerable population – this is about protecting them,” he said. “What you do highly, highly affects their health and wellbeing.”
The governor admits these are dramatic restrictions that may prove devastating to many businesses and leave seniors feeling isolated, but he insists they are necessary.
“Don’t go to your daughter’s house. ‘Mom doesn’t want to be alone.’ I understand, but you bring her into your house and you have 10 people there and they’re coming in and out and your daughters have friends, that is a mistake. That is a mistake. ‘Well, we’re gonna go visit mom, I’m gonna bring the whole family to see mom.’ Uh, no. Not now,” Cuomo said.
By Friday night, there were 8,398 confirmed cases in New York State with 5,683 in New York City.
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He said these steps are necessary to help area hospitals keep up with the influx of patients.
The state plans to postpone all non-critical elective surgeries in order to free up 25-35% of existing beds. Officials are also working with the Army Corps of Engineers set up additional beds at the Jacob Javits Center and several SUNY and CUNY campuses.
The governor renewed his call for medical supplies and staff, but said, “It’s ventilators, ventilators, ventilators. That is the greatest need.”
“Ventilators are to this war what missiles were to World War II,” he said.
Cuomo urged any medical offices that are closed because of the coronavirus to share their equipment with the state.
The governor also hopes to re-purpose some non-essential businesses if they have the skill to make gloves, masks and other needed supplies.
“If you can make them, we will give you funding to do it, and we will give you funding to get the right equipment, to get the personnel, et cetera. I’m asking businesses to be creative,” Cuomo said.
In Elmsford, umbrella manufacturer Desi Medina says he can easily make vinyl facial shields to protect first responders and health care workers.
“Anything to help. Anything we can do to help, we’re here,” he told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
But the closure order upsets print shop owner Laura Cronin. The canceling of so many events means no one needs programs or banners, and she’s not sure her family business can survive an extended shutdown.
“Business was tough enough before this happened, and we’re all struggling, so I don’t know if we’ll be back. And that’s why you can probably hear that I’m, like, quivering, because I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Cronin said.
“I accept full responsibility. If someone is unhappy, somebody wants to blame someone or complain about someone, blame me,” Cuomo said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had high praise for New York for the move to press pause.
“The things we spoke about a while ago that you want to really ratchet it up, like Governor Newsom is doing in California, like Governor Cuomo is doing in New York, are how you put an end to this outbreak,” he said.
Though President Donald Trump too praised the states doing this, the president doesn’t believe there will be a nationwide lockdown.
“We’re working with the governors, and I don’t think we’ll ever find that necessary,” he said.