WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Cuomo orders mandatory 50% workplace reductions; shopping malls to close at 8 p.m. Thursday

Mar 19, 2020
Originally published on March 18, 2020 4:06 pm

There will be new restrictions on working in New York state as Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued new mandatory density reductions Wednesday to help control the spread of the coronavirus.

Cuomo and the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania also moved to close the indoor portions of retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys in their states by 8 p.m. Thursday.

Meanwhile, New York is getting help from the federal government to increase hospital beds.  

Cuomo said all businesses will now be required to have 50% of their employees working from home, except for essential services.

“Today we are announcing a mandatory statewide requirement that no business can have more than 50% of their workforce report to work outside of the home,” Cuomo said. 

Essential services such as food delivery, pharmacies, health care, shipping and supplies are exempted, said Cuomo. 

“Society has to function,” said Cuomo. “So you have to keep those essential services running.”  

Cuomo said he’s working cooperatively with the administration of President Donald Trump to try to double the number of hospital beds available in the state in the next few weeks.  

The governor said he’s meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers to identify sites, such as dormitories and closed nursing homes, to convert to new beds. 

“We’re fighting the same war, and this is a war, and we’re in the same trench,” Cuomo said he told Trump. “And we’re going to do everything we can for the people of the state of New York.”  

Cuomo said the president’s “actions demonstrate that he is doing that.”  

The governor said the Navy is also deploying a hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, to New York Harbor to care for those sick from the virus.  

Cuomo also put out a plea to manufacturers of ventilators to make more of the devices as soon as possible.  

The governor continues to oppose any plans to require New York City or other regions to shelter in place, saying it will just cause people to flee to other areas. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said shelter in place for the city might be possible in a couple of days. 

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