Cuomo: 100% of non-essential businesses must shut down on-site operations, work from home


Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday said most businesses in New York state will be forced to shut down their on-site operations for the foreseeable future to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The order takes effect Sunday evening.

The order will not apply to essential businesses, including grocery stores, banks, pharmacies and other companies critical to public health and safety.

"These are non-essential services, essential services need to continue to function," Cuomo said. "When I talk about the most drastic action we can take, this is the most drastic action we can take."

Cuomo first set the mandatory on-site workplace maximum at 50% Wednesday, suggesting employees telecommute or work in shifts to stop the spread of the coronavirus. On Thursday, the requirement was increased to 75% of workers, starting Saturday night. And Friday morning, he increased it to 100% of non-essential workers.

Cuomo said there will be civil fines and mandatory closure for any business not in compliance.

The new rules do not apply to "essential" businesses. An executive order issued Wednesday provides a little more guidance on what businesses the state deems essential.

The state said other business may be deemed essential by requesting an opinion from the Empire State Development Corp. ESD will review the requests and will have more concrete definitions.

Cuomo has spoken with governors in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey to consider these policies as well.

Suspension of evictions

Cuomo is also ordering a moratorium against evictions of residential or commercial tenants for 90 days.

"I know we’re going to put people out of work with what I did, I don’t want to put them out of the house," Cuomo said during a briefing Friday morning.

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