New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday said he was ordering all non-essential workers in the state to stay home as the coronvairus outbreak escalates around the Empire State, which is now considered the U.S. epicenter of the disease, as part of "pause" on life in the state.
"These are not helpful hints," said Cuomo. "This is not if you really want to be a great citizen. These are legal provisions. They will be enforced. There will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for any business that is not in compliance. Again, your actions can affect my health. That's where we are."
"When I talk about the most drastic action we can take—this is the most drastic action we can take," Cuomo added.
There will be exemptions for critical services like utilities, food, and other industries, the governor said.
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"Look, society has to function," Cuomo said.
As CNN reported, Cuomo stopped short of a statewide "shelter in place" order, but only just:
The Democratic governor insisted he wasn't issuing a "shelter in place" order, which he said referred to active shooter situations, but rather the state was "closing the valve" of everyday life to limit the outbreak. He urged New Yorkers to "remain indoors to the greatest extent."
The governor also ordered a 90-day stay on evictions and foreclosures to ensure people do not lose their homes.
As Cuomo explained Friday, New Yorkers will have to accept a new way of life as the world deals with the coronavirus outbreak.
"This is not life as usual," said Cuomo. "Accept it and realize it and deal with it."