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NYS On Pause: Cuomo Orders COVID-19 100 Percent Non-Essential Workplace Reduction, New Rules

A look at New York's newly installed PAUSE program. Photo Credit: Governor's Office
PAUSE provisions for vulnerable adults Photo Credit: Governor's Office
PAUSE provisions for non-vulnerable members of the popular. Photo Credit: Governor's Office
A look at the latest new cases on Friday, March 20. Photo Credit: Governor's Office
A look at counties with existing cases (in blue). Photo Credit: Governor's Office

Amid the novel coronavirus crisis (COVID-19), Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he's taking the most dramatic action he can - reducing the non-essential workforce 100 percent.

There will be fines and closures if businesses do not cooperate with the state order, Cuomo said in a news briefing in Albany on Friday, March 20.

The measure in which only essential businesses can have workers commuting takes effect Sunday night, March 22.

"This is the most drastic action we can take," Cuomo said, offering no specific length of time for the measure, but saying "it could go on for months."

The news comes as the White House has now invoked the defense production act, allowing the government to nationalize certain industries and order the production of items of crucial importance, such as masks and ventilators.

Earlier Friday, the IRS announced it's extending the filing deadline for tax returns to July 15 from April 15.

In addition, the education department will not enforce standardized tests.

Cuomo used the acronym "PAUSE" to describe the measure. (See first image above.)

It also includes specific measures for vulnerable adults (see the second image above) and non-vulnerable adults (see the third image above).

In addition, Cuomo said he's told hospitals to plan on canceling all non-critical elective surgeries. A date will be set up next week for the start of that measure, he said.

Cuomo said the dramatic measure was taken after an increase of almost 3,000 new COVID-19 cases the last three days. The hospitalization rate in New York for those testing positive is 18 percent.

Just 16 days ago, New York State had no positive COVID-19 cases.

"This is not life as usual," Cuomo said. "But we have to do it and we have to be serious. ... I accept full responsibility. If anyone is mad about doing this, be mad at me."

For the latest breakdown of new positive cases and overall cases by county, see the fourth image above. For counties with cases, see the fifth image above.

Cuomo said the dramatic policies will be considered by the governors in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

"Prepare for the worst and hope for the best," Cuomo said. "That's always been my philosophy in dealing with emergencies at the national, state and local levels.

"It's about saving lives. I want to be able to say to the people 10 years from now, I did everything I could. If everything we do saves just one life, I'll be happy."

Cuomo said "we know from past history the action a city takes matters," referring to the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak.

A total of 32,427 have now been tested in New York, with more than 10,000 of those tests done in last 24 hours.

"We are testing per capita at a higher rate than China and South Korea," Cuomo said.

Cuomo said he's securing commitments from colleges in the area to use their facilities as temporary hospitals.

"We will get the beds," Cuomo said. "We will get the supplies by hook or by crook. We need ventilators."

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