the coronavirus crisis
New York will begin requiring face coverings be worn in public when it's not possible to maintain social distancing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced — and he expects New Yorkers will help enforce the policy.
Cuomo in his daily coronavirus briefing Wednesday said that he would be signing an executive order which says New Yorkers must wear masks, or mouth and nose coverings of some sort like a bandana, "in a situation where you cannot or are not maintaining social distancing." Cuomo cited public transportation and busy intersections as two examples where a face covering will need to be worn.
"Put the mask on when you are not in socially distanced places," he said. "Don't infect me. You don't have a right to infect me."
Walking down "a street that is unoccupied" is one example of a public situation where it would be possible to maintain social distancing, the governor explained. Cuomo is giving three days of notice before this executive order goes into effect "on the off chance that somebody doesn't have a cloth covering or a mask," he said.
Asked if there will be penalties for noncompliance, Cuomo said there won't be "for now," although there could be civil penalties "if people don't follow" the order. In the meantime, local governments should enforce it by reminding people in public when they need to be wearing a mask, he said, as should regular New Yorkers themselves.
"People will enforce it," Cuomo said. "They'll say to you, if they're standing next to you on a street corner, 'where's your mask, buddy?' In a nice, New York kind of way."