No Mask, No Service

Chris Rock and Rosie Perez joined Governor Andrew Cuomo for his daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday.
Mark Hallum

Governor Andrew Cuomo, ahead of the reopening of New York City, will be signing a new executive order to allow business owners to deny service to customers not wearing masks.

The announcement was made at his Thursday press conference — with Chris Rock and Rosie Perez on hand — where he said he would not only focus on supplying masks to communities in the city most affected as part of the effort to expedite reopening, but also that he hoped to “culturalize” face coverings for as long as COVID-19 is a threat.

The Cuomo administration recently brought nearly 1 million additional masks into the city, while an outreach message with Rock and Perez is meant to make good on the governor’s desire expressed Wednesday to make masks “cool.”

New York businesses can oust customers without face coverings

“When we’re talking about reopening stores and places of business, we’re giving the store owners the right to say, if you’re not wearing a mask, you can’t come in,” Cuomo said. “That store owner has a right to protect themselves, that store owner has the right to protect the other patrons in that store.”

The daily death toll in New York continues to hover in the low 70s and Cuomo says the reopening will come to no surprise to anyone following the numbers. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines that regions must exceed 14 days of decreased hospitalizations among other metrics before reopening can begin.

The majority of new COVID-19 cases are coming out of the lower-income communities of color and among individuals not currently working, according to Cuomo. The governor  listed off a number of outer borough neighborhoods with between 35 percent and 45 percent infection rates that included Morrisania in the Bronx and Hollis in Queens.

“Get tested, wear a mask,,” Rock said. “Like when the doctor gives you antibiotics, he says take the whole prescription, and if you stop whatever you came in there for is going to come back worse. So social distancing is the prescription, we need to take the whole dose.”

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