Cuomo Puts New York State on PAUSE

Governor Andrew Cuomo tightened restrictions on New Yorkers, especially vulnerable residents over 70.
Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo/ Darren McGee

New York State is “closing the valve” and enacting stricter provisions in an effort to flatten the curve of coronavirus.

On March 20, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State will be going under PAUSE —  Policies that Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone — placing more restrictions on the entire state population, with different regulations for vulnerable and non-vulnerable populations.

Vulnerable populations cover those who are 70 and older, and those who have compromised immune systems. Provisions for the vulnerable populations, which Cuomo has called “Matilda’s Law” — named for his mother, the widow of the late Governor Mario Cuomo — include remaining indoors, but allows for outdoor solitary exercise. All visitors must be pre-screened by taking their temperature and the vulnerable population cannot go visit households with multiple people. Vulnerable persons should wear mask in company of others, and everyone in presence of vulnerable should wear a mask. Finally, all vulnerable individuals must stay at least six feet from individuals and should not take public transit unless it’s urgent.

For the non-vulnerable population, all non-essential gatherings have been canceled, and any concentration of individuals outside home is prohibited unless essential. Individuals should also limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact as well as limiting their use of public transportation unless absolutely necessary.

Sick individuals must remain indoors unless they are traveling to receive medical care.

Finally, all non-vulnerable populations must continue to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others, and businesses that are essential must implement rules to make this possible.

These new provisions will take effect on Sunday. Additionally, all nonessential businesses must have 100 percent of their workforce stay home.

“This is the most drastic action we can take,” said Cuomo. “These provisions will be enforced. These are legal provisions. There will be civil fines and mandatory closures for businesses that do not comply.”

However, Cuomo held firm that this new plan is not a shelter-in-place order.

“It’s not a shelter-in-place order,” said Cuomo. “People are scared and people panic. Why am I increasing the mandates? Because the numbers are increasing. I said from day one, this is science and math. Watch the trajectory – you have the density control valve. If the numbers starts to go up, tighten the valve. If the number doesn’t slow down, tighten the valve more. If the number doesn’t go down, close the valve. We’re closing the valve.”

At the time of the press conference where the new restrictions were announced, New York State had 7,102 cases of coronavirus, with 1,255 people hospitalized and 35 deaths. A total of 32,427 people have been tested so far. New York City has the most cases in the state, with 4,408.

During the press conference, Cuomo said that the state is looking for ventilators. If a health facility has a ventilator it is willing to lend or sell to the state, it should contact the Department of Health.

In addition, Cuomo announced that all evictions will be paused for 90 days. He had previously announced that mortgage payments would be waived — though not forgiven — f0r financial hardship and that late credit card payments would not accrue penalties or be reported to credit bureaus;