Gov. Andrew Cuomo in an order issued on Wednesday limited the ability of local governments to issue emergency orders or executive orders without approval from state health officials.
The move is meant to curtail any efforts in New York City and its mayor, Bill de Blasio, to issue a "shelter in place" order, which Cuomo has said repeatedly he does not want to do.
De Blasio has insisted he has the power to do so, but Cuomo has broad powers over local governments, which were enahcned by a law approved earlier this month as the coronavirus crisis began to grow.
"I am not going to imprison anywhere, individual mobility and liberty, it's the cornerstone of who we are," Cuomo said in an interview on CNN late Wednesday afternoon.
Cuomo has said he wants a regional approach to reduce crowd density and gatherings and has recruited the governors of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut to issue similar orders to better prevent the spread of the virus.