Cindy Schultz / The New York Times

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers an update on the coronavirus in New York, at the state Capitol in Albany on March 7.

March 20, 2020

In Executive Order, Gov. Cuomo Restricts All Non-Essential Workforce Travel

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After ordering 75 percent of the New York workforce to stay at home on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) has “closed the valve,” ordering all nonessential workers to stay at home in a press release Friday morning.

The executive order, titled NYS on P.A.U.S.E., aims to reduce population density. Only essential businesses — which include grocery stores, pharmacies and internet providers — “can have workers commuting to the job or on the job,” the governor said. Cuomo said that his team was continuing to assess a list of what qualifies as an essential worker.

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S., New York has quickly become the largest hotspot. The state saw a growth curve that shot from zero to 2950 positive cases between March 3 and March 19.

“This is the most drastic action we can take,” Cuomo said. However, he was adamant that the order was not a shelter-in-place like the one placed on Northern California at midnight on Monday.

Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick ’09 wrote in a text message to The Sun regarding the order: “A necessary move that will save lives – but we will need massive federal action to prevent evictions, business closings, and foreclosures.”

On Thursday, Myrick called for a rent and mortgage freeze in the Ithaca area, after the Cornell administration encouraged students to return home. As part of his executive order, Cuomo placed a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions in the state for 90 days.

“I understand [the moratorium] may affect businesses negatively and I’ve spoken to a number of them. I don’t know who you think you are going to rent an apartment to now anyway if you kick someone out.” Cuomo said. “By my mandate, you couldn’t even have your real estate agent out showing the apartment.”

It is unclear whether Cornell offices in the Ithaca campus will remain open.

Raphy Gendler ’21 contributed reporting.