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Cuomo Orders Mandatory 50% Workplace Reduction

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Starting Friday, there will be new restrictions on working in New York, as Governor Andrew Cuomo issues mandatory density reductions to help control the spread of the coronavirus. Cuomo and the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania have also moved to close the indoor portions of retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys in all the four states by 8 p.m. Thursday.  Meanwhile, New York is getting help from the federal government to increase hospital beds. 

Governor Cuomo on Wednesday said all businesses will now be required to have 50% of their employees working from home, except for essential services. 

“Today we are announcing a mandatory state wide requirement that no business can have more than 50% of their workforce report to work outside of the home,” Cuomo said. 

Essential services such as food delivery, pharmacies, health care, shipping and supplies are exempted, says Cuomo. 

“Society has to function,” said Cuomo. “So you have to keep those essential services running.”   

Cuomo says he’s working cooperatively with the administration of President Donald Trump to try to double the number of hospital beds available in the state in the next few weeks.  

The governor says he’s meeting with the Army Corp of Engineers to identify sites, such as dormitories and closed nursing homes, to convert to new beds. 

“We’re fighting the same war, and this is a war and we’re in the same trench,” Cuomo said he told Trump. “And we’re going to do everything we can for the people of the state of New York.”  

Cuomo says the president’s “actions demonstrate that he is doing that.”  

The governor says the Navy is also deploying a hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, to New York Harbor, to care for those sick from the virus.  

Cuomo also put out a plea to manufacturers of ventilators to make more of the devices as soon as possible.  

The governor continues to oppose any plans to require New York City or other regions to shelter-in-place, he says it will just cause people to flee to other areas.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said shelter-in-place for the city might be possible in a couple of days. 

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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