Law enforcement agencies in New York are preparing themselves as they get ready to enforce New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mandate of wearing face coverings when unable to socially distance during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Do You Support New York's Face Covering Mandate?
Last week, Cuomo announced that he was issuing an Executive Order that mandated anyone going out in public must wear a face mask or cloth covering when unable to stay six feet away from others.
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The measure is expected to help curtail the spread of COVID-19. It took effect late Friday night, April 17.
“You must wear it in any situation where you are not maintaining social distancing," he said. "If you’re going to be in public and you cannot maintain social distancing, then it’s easy, just have a mask.
"If you go out in public where you may come into contact with other people in a non-socially distant way, you must cover your nose and mouth. This is now by executive order.”
According to reports, some heads of police agencies have expressed skepticism about the order, but most have vowed to help force the public to comply, as it will be enforced locally.
Most said that they don’t expect any backlash from residents if asked to wear a mask by officers.
There are currently no set penalties, and the governor said he expects most New Yorkers to simply adhere to the order in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
Cuomo said that any potential penalties would be civil in nature, not civic, unless there is mass non-compliance to the order.
“Local governments will enforce it, but you don’t want to go to a penalty just yet," he said. "We haven’t seen any flagrant non-compliance to any other mandates, and this one seems like an easy one.
"I don’t know all the local laws out there regarding masks, but this one is a state order.”
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