Restrictions on gatherings, businesses take effect as NY cases surge past 15,000
Restrictions on New York businesses and gatherings took effect Sunday evening in a bid to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus as cases in the state continued to surge.
The state's “non-essential” businesses were ordered to close by 8 p.m. under an order that also banned “non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason.” New Yorkers may still go outside their homes, but must stay 6 feet away from anyone who isn't a member of their household.
The state's order exempts several businesses, including food and beverage stores, gas stations, auto repair places, health care facilities and more.
Earlier Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on the federal government to nationalize medical supply acquisition as coronavirus cases in New York continue to surge.
The total number of cases in New York stood Sunday at 15,168, including 4,812 new cases. That includes 9,045 in New York City, 1,900 in Nassau, 1,873 in Westchester, 1,034 in Suffolk, 455 in Rockland and 247 in Orange.
At a Sunday morning press conference, Cuomo said the current state of affairs means that states are competing with other states and hospitals are pitted against other hospitals in the rush to acquire urgently needed medical supplies.
"If we don’t get equipment, we will lose lives we could have otherwise saved," the governor said.
Cuomo called on the federal government to invoke the Defense Production Act to mandate that private companies produce much-needed items, including masks, gowns and ventilators.
"We need the product now," Cuomo said. "We have cries from hospitals around the state, I’ve spoken to other governors around the country, they have the same situation -- they need these materials now, and only the federal government can make that happen."
Cuomo also called on the federal government to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to immediately begin construction on temporary hospital sites at four previously identified suitable locations: SUNY Stony Brook and SUNY Old Westbury on Long Island, the Javits Center in Manhattan and the Westchester County Center.
He urged President Donald Trump to cut through any red tape and let work on the temporary hospital sites begin immediately.
"Time matters, minutes count, and this is literally a matter of life and death,” Cuomo said.
The governor also noted that he had visited New York City this weekend, and said that the crowd density being seen in city parks is "wholly inappropriate." He directed the city to come up with a plan within 24 hours to reduce density, and called on New Yorkers to take the situation seriously.
As the White House and Congress continue negotiations on an economic stimulus package to stave off effects of the pandemic, Cuomo also urged them to prioritize helping citizens and local governments.
Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.
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