Andrew Cuomo Issues an Executive Order: In Lieu of Social Distancing, New Yorkers Will be Masked

AP Photo/John Minchillo

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference alongside the National Guard at the Jacob Javits Center that will house a temporary hospital in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Monday, March 23, 2020, in New York. New York City hospitals are just 10 days from running out of “really basic supplies,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said late Sunday. De Blasio has called upon the federal government to boost the city’s quickly dwindling supply of protective equipment. The city also faces a potentially deadly dearth of ventilators to treat those infected by the coronavirus. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)




On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during his daily briefing he’s issuing an edict forcing all New Yorkers to wear masks — when and where social distancing isn’t possible.

Here’s how he put it:

“I’m going to issue an executive order that says all people in public must have a mask…mouth and nose covering. And they must wear it in a situation where you cannot or are not maintaining social distancing.”

Andrew explained it’s basically “the same thing [he and others have] been saying from day one.”

And that’s this:

“If you are going to be in public, and you cannot maintain social distancing, then have a mask. And put the mask on when you are not in socially distanced places.”

He walked us all through it:

“You’re walking down the street alone? Great. You’re now at an intersection, and there are people in the intersection, and you’re going to be in proximity to other people? Put the mask on. You’re right to go out for a walk in the park…because you need to get out of the house. The dog is getting on your nerves. Fine. Don’t infect me. You don’t have a right to infect me.”

The subway’s gonna look like it’s filled with surgeons:

“[I]f you’re going to get on public transit, you’re going to get on a bus, you’re going to get on a subway, you’re going to stand on a subway platform, you’re going to walk in a neighborhood that is busy, you’re going to be on a sidewalk, you’re gonna pass other people on the sidewalk, you’re not gonna be able to maintain social distancing — you must wear a mask. Or cloth or an attractive bandana or a color-coordinated bandana cloth. But you have to wear it in those situations.”


How about a hideously ugly bandana?

Wanna get creative (and creepy)? You could take a brassiere and do this:

If you like the bra idea, you’ve got a couple days to give an appropriately-sized cup your best Bob Ross; Cuomo said the policy will go into effect Friday.

During the conference, a reporter asked, “On the mask issue — so this will be any public space where there is congestion? We’re talking busy streets, stores?”

The governor reiterated the rule will apply to any place where one “cannot maintain social distancing.” That’d be a six-foot distance.

And how will violators be punished?

Andrew got theoretical:

“There’s a possibility for a civil violation. You could get a penalty. You know, you jaywalk, theoretically, you get a penalty. Local governments would enforce it.”

He added that, given there hasn’t been “flagrant noncompliance” yet, he doesn’t “want to go to a penalty yet.”


“[I]f people don’t follow it, we could do a civil penalty.”


To be clear, people aren’t going to get thrown into the Hoosegow:

“You’re not gonna go to jail for not wearing your mask…”

Good to know — some cities have been losing their minds a bit as of late. As I covered Tuesday, church members in Mississippi were issued $500 tickets for attending a worship service last week — from inside their parked cars.

While Andrew’s order may seem like a clampdown, it’s part of the state’s reopening.

From MSN:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is moving to a “new normal” as he outlined a gradual reopening of businesses as long as the Covid-19 outbreak continues to slow, saying the crisis won’t be over until a vaccine is made available.

“Where we’re going, it’s not a reopening in that we’re going to reopen what was. We’re going to a different place,” Cuomo said at [the Albany press conference].

So there ya go — we’re on our way and, as relayed by The New York Times, Cuomo asserted the “worst is over.”

Hopefully, he’s right. In the hotbeds and elsewhere, America is on its way to a grander place.


We just all may be dressed like we’re on Grey’s Anatomy when we get there.



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