Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered a statewide lockdown amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic Friday that will shut down most of the Empire State — including New York City.
“I want to be able to say to the people of New York — I did everything we could do,” Cuomo said. “And if everything we do saves just one life, I’ll be happy.”
The restrictions take effect Sunday night at 8 p.m. and will:
Shut down all non-essential businesses across the state, leaving just grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential operations open
Ban all non-solitary outside activity, like outdoor basketball games and other team sports
Require all non-essential government and private sector employees work from home
Laundromats and gas stations will be allowed to remain open, as will restaurants for take-out and delivery service. Cuomo said the MTA will continue to run the city subways and buses and the MetroNorth and Long Island railroads.
“We have to do it, we have to be serious,” Cuomo told reporters at the state capitol.
“Everyone has personal freedom and everyone has personal liberty and I’ll always protect that,” he added. “But everyone also has a responsibility to everyone else.”
The new emergency action came as the Empire State’s coronavirus case count ballooned to more than 7,100 cases across the state — more than 4,400 are in New York City. The state’s death toll has jumped to 35, up from 26 on Thursday.
Cuomo said the orders will be strictly enforced and businesses in violation will be fined. And, he said violators will be fined to coordinate the lock-down policies with New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
“Regional action is the best,” he noted.
Cuomo’s directive follows California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordering his entire state Thursday to stay home in a desperate bid to slow the spread of the disease.
And it came after nearly a week of sparing between City Hall and Albany over the potential restrictions and the language used to describe them.
“I accept full responsibility,” Cuomo told reporters. “If someone wants to blame someone: blame me.”
“We’re planning for the worst and hoping for the best,” he added. “This is about saving lives.”