New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that New Yorkers are to self-quarantine effective “Sunday evening.” Nonessential travel and gatherings are prohibited. Other than grocery stores, pharmacies, and the like, all employees are to remain at home. Nonessential businesses that stay open will be fined.
It’s the Italian model, Lite version. Cities such as Milan have adopted a similar policy, but citizens are only allowed to be outside for three hour blocks per day.
New Yorkers can still walk their dogs, go buy groceries, etc. What’s off the table? Shopping for clothes, getting a massage, going to the gym, a movie theater, dining out, gathering with others at a park.
Evictions are banned for 90 days, effectively allowing renters to not pay for three months, no interest or other penalty may be attached to unpaid rent.
The move comes on the heels of rapidly increased testing, which has turned up new cases. 7,500 New Yorkers were tested on March 18th, and 1,769 were diagnosed as positive for the coronavirus.
In related comments, Cuomo stressed the need for ventilators above all else. “Ventilators, ventilators, ventilators, that above all else is what we need…the ventilators are, to this war, what missiles were to World War II.” He also asked for donations of surgical masks and nitrile gloves, noting that investment bank Goldman Sachs had donated 100,000 gloves.
Cuomo claimed that the term “shelter in place” is triggering, conjuring for some active shooting scenarios. “Words matter,” said, insisting that his executive order to stay at home is somehow different.
Cuomo has not been on the same page with NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, who has embarrassed himself several times in the past week. De Blasio kept public schools open until three days ago, agonizing in a press conference at the great loss learning for the city’s children. Yesterday, his message had changed to a frantic pitch, claiming that “military assistance” is needed to contain coronavirus spread.
De Blasio’s term end in one year. It’s unclear what he will pursue afterward, but it’s hard to imagine he will have many prospects.
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