New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Thursday that he will sign an executive order allowing businesses to bar entry to individuals who do not wear a mask or face covering amid the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
“We made them mandatory in public settings, public transportation etc., but when we’re talking about reopening stores and places of business, we’re giving the store owners the right to say, ‘if you’re not wearing a mask, you can’t come in,” Cuomo said during his daily press conference.
“You don’t want to wear a mask? Fine, but you don’t have a right to then go into that store if that store owner doesn’t want you to,” added the governor.
To date, eight million masks have been delivered to public housing, homeless shelters, and food banks in New York City, while another one million will be sent to various neighborhoods Thursday, he said.
Cuomo’s remarks come as New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the passage of legislation rolling back N.Y. Penal Law 240.35(4), which made it a crime for people to don masks publically.
“Wearing masks in public remains necessary for the health and safety of New Yorkers. But there was a clear conflict of law, and repealing this outdated provision is commonsense policy,” James said in a statement. “Even if it is difficult to imagine a police department enforcing, a prosecutor charging, or a judge upholding such a charge during the COVID-19 crisis, we should not tolerate a situation where following the law is dangerous. I thank Senator Bailey and Assemblymember Quart for their leadership and for permanently repealing this law.”
New York City has over 200,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 16,410 deaths, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University.