Enacts public face-covering mandate
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced he is continuing the “New York State on PAUSE” mandate until May 15, as he wants to see the COVID-19 infection rate lower before he reopens schools and businesses.
He tweeted, “New York on PAUSE will be extended in coordination with other states to May 15. Non-essential workers must continue to stay home. Social distancing rules remain in place. We must STAY THE COURSE.”
All “New York State on PAUSE” restrictions and closures are now extended an additional one month. This action, Cuomo said, is taken in consultation with other regional states. He has been working with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Delaware Gov. John Carney, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
The respective governors will reevaluate closures as this new period draws to a close.
"Unpausing New York and reopening our economy is going to be an ongoing process over the coming weeks that we're working through with other states, but we have to do it in a way that doesn't drive up the infection rate and create a second wave of the virus," Cuomo said. "We have shown that we can control the spread of the virus, but we can't now undo all the progress we've made.
“As we continue to work on a regional plan to get people back to work and get businesses back up and running in a safe and responsible way, we are extending all ‘New York State on PAUSE’ functions until May 15 in coordination with other states in our multistate council because, although we can control the beast, we need to get that infection rate down even more, and we are not there yet."
In her community update Wednesday on LCTV, Niagara County Legislature Chairwoman Becky Wydysh reminded people, “The message has not changed: We need to continue to follow all of those guidelines that we've been hearing all along (in terms of physical distancing and personal hygiene).
“We've made many sacrifices over these last several weeks, whether it's your work situation, not seeing your family, having all of those businesses closed that we enjoy going to. We've made all those sacrifices; don't let that be a waste,” she said. “Keep following those guidelines. Know that what we're doing is working. But we have to keep continuing that process to see that steady (hospitalization curve) flattening, and to stay in a good situation that won't overwhelm our health care system.
“Very important to stay home and do your part, as you have been.”
Earlier in the week, Cuomo said, “Everybody's anxious to reopen. ... People need to get back to work. ... The worst scenario would be if we did all of this, we got that number down, everybody went to extraordinary means, and then we go to reopen and we reopen too fast; or we reopen and there's unanticipated consequences and we see that number go up again."
Spice Harbor owner Kristen Brolinski
On Wednesday afternoon, Cuomo announced he would issue an executive order requiring all people in New York to wear a mask or a face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained, such as on public transportation. The executive order was signed later in the evening, and will go into effect at 8 p.m. Friday, April 17.
He said, “As relatively simple and possibly annoying as it seems, wearing a mask is one of the best things that we can do.”
On Thursday, Cuomo directed all New Yorkers to wear masks or face coverings on public transportation systems and while taking private transportation, or riding in for-hire vehicles. Additionally, all operators of public systems, private carriers and for-hire vehicles must wear a mask or face covering at all times while working.
“Ultimately what determines the rate of infection? You do. And I do,” Cuomo said. “That's what this all comes down to. As simple as it sounds. It's not about government; it's not about anything else. It's about what people decide to do, and what people have decided to do. They have brought this infection rate down – it's that simple. Nurses, doctors, did a phenomenal job. First responders did a phenomenal job. Essential workers did a phenomenal job. But that rate came down because people changed their behavior. That's what happened.
“It is about the behavior of our people. It's that simple. It's our behavior; it's our level of discipline; it's how we educate our children; it's how considerate we are of others. What we're willing to do to safeguard others' health in our community. That's what makes all the difference on what we're doing.
“And it is the simple things. It's wearing a mask. It's washing your hands. It's the hand sanitizer. It's the social distance. It's making sure your children understand what to do, what not to do. It's all of these simple procedures that seem almost insignificant but, on a collective basis, make all the difference in the world. And it is making smart choices.
“ ‘I want to get out of the house. I'm going crazy. I need to do this. I need to do this.’ I know, but be smart. Be smart and engage what you're doing relative to everyone else and relative to the overall goal.”
Spice Harbor in Lewiston has cloth face masks available for purchase. Owner Kristen Brolinski said, “Spice Harbor is open and has added cloth masks to their already well-known homemade specialty food mixes! Stop by 476 Center St., Lewiston, for curbside pickup of today's choices. Our masks are two-sided (one patterned, one plain) and machine-washable for everyday wear.
“Please stay safe and cover your face when outside of your home!”
Call Spice Harbor at 716-622-0405.