New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday ordered 100 percent of the workforce to stay home and avoid going outside except for emergencies and for solitary exercise in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus cases.
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"These actions will cause disruption," Cuomo said. "They will cause businesses to close. They will cause much unhappiness. I understand that."
The order takes effect on Sunday.
Cuomo is trying to alleviate what is expected to be a wave of hospitalizations that will likely overwhelm the state's public health system.
Cuomo said people who violate the order will face a civil fine.
"When we talk about the most drastic action we can take, this is the most drastic action we can take," Cuomo said.
There are exceptions made for industries deemed essential, including people who work in necessary manufacturing, food production and distribution, health care, the media and telecommunications.
People who are age 70 and above, as well as people who are vulnerable to health problems must remain indoors, avoid visiting people in gatherings and wear a mask when meeting with another person.
Cuomo over the last several weeks sought to tighten restrictions on people going to work and which businesses can open. He has avoided using terms or embracing proposals like a "shelter-in-place" order that was sought by Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York City.
Cuomo is encouraging neighboring northeast states to adopt similar orders.
Instead, Cuomo called his actions on Friday an effort to "tighten the valve" and eventually "close the valve" in order to reduce positive cases.
Cuomo, meanwhile, said he would issue an order suspending evictions for residential and commercial tenants for 90 days, a day after he announced an order meant to prevent mortgage foreclosures for the next three months.
The governor also beseeched private industry to produce medical supplies, including gowns and masks. He said the state would "pay a premium" for the supplies.
"If you can make them, we will give you funding to do it and we will give you funding to get the right equipment and the right personnel," Cuomo said.
He cannot order businesses to manufacture the products; only the federal government can do that.
"I'm doing everything I can to increase the production," he said.
But the greatest need will be ventilators, and the state is expected to need at least 18,000 to handle the need and as many as 37,000. There are currently 3,000 available.
Thirty-five deaths in the state have now been attributed to the virus and there more than 7,000 confirmed cases in New York.
“When we look back at this situation in 10 years I want to be able to say, I can say to the people of New York, I did everything we could do," Governor Cuomo said. "I did everything we could do and this is about saving lives and if everything we can do saves just one life, I’ll be happy.”