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No Mask, No Service: COVID-19 NY Executive Order Authorizes Businesses To Deny Entry

Face covering Photo Credit: Pixabay
The winner of New York's "Wear a Mask" PSA video contest.
The winner of New York's "Wear a Mask" PSA video contest. Video Credit: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
New York business owners will be permitted to deny entry to patrons not wearing masks amid the COVID-19 crisis. Photo Credit:

No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he is signing an executive order authorizing private businesses to deny entrance to any patron not wearing a proper mask or face covering during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

During his daily news briefing from the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club in Brooklyn on Thursday, May 28, Cuomo said that he is giving store owners “the right to say ‘if you don’t wear a mask, you can’t come in.’”

“We’ve been working to communicate this message to communities: the masks are amazingly effective, and we’ve made them mandatory in public settings, on public transit, but what about the businesses as we start to open up?” he said. “That store owner has a right to protect himself and other shoppers.

“You have a right to not wear a mask,” he continued. “(Store owners) have a right to not let you into their stores.”

Cuomo said that there might be some conflicts between store owners and potential patrons over not wearing a mask, but believes the owner has the right to deny service to that person.

“This is New York … You can have a conflict if you say good morning,” he joked. “But if you have a private store owner, by the executive order, he has the right to say ‘if you’re not wearing a mask, you can’t come in.’

“You don’t have a right to expose the store owner to a virus. You don’t have that constitutional right,” he said. “You don’t have a right to expose other patrons in the store to the virus. You don’t have the right to walk into a store and cause the other patrons to run out because you’re not wearing a mask.”

Actress Rosie Perez, who was a guest with Cuomo along with actor Chris Rock at Thursday’s briefing, said that it’s doubly important to comply with the executive order for the sake of others’ mental health.

“If we can have this precedent set," Perez said, "it’s going to lessen the anxiety of going into a store, and it’s going to lessen the fights that break out in stores when someone sees someone without a mask.

“Wearing a mask is about respecting the store owners and decreasing the anxiety that’s come out of this pandemic.”

Cuomo agreed, noting: “I think this will reduce conflicts. It’s one thing to (not wear a mask) walking down the sidewalk, but to walk into a small retail store without a mask and exposing people is different.

“So now somebody can complain about wearing a mask. They can say ‘I should have the right to come in without a mask,' " Cuomo added. “Well somebody could say that … but they’d be wrong.” 

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