Coronavirus News: NY Gov. Cuomo orders 100% workforce reduction of non-essential businesses

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a 100% workforce reduction for all non-essential businesses statewide as cases of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus continue to grow.

"This is the most drastic action we can take," Cuomo said.

He termed the policy "New York State on PAUSE," for Policies that Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone, and it takes effect Sunday evening.

"Only essential businesses can have workers commuting to the job or on the job," Cuomo said.

As part of the new rules, there are to be no non-essential gatherings, and outdoor recreation is to be solitary.

"It's not playing basketball with five other people," Cuomo said.

WATCH: Gov. Cuomo declares New York on PAUSE, announces new restrictions


The governor called for "real diligence" among the vulnerable population, citing his mother, Matilda, as an example.

"These provisions will be enforced," Cuomo said. "There will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for any business that is not in compliance. Your actions can affect my health."

In addition, all non-critical elective surgeries will be canceled starting next week, and the Javits Center and CUNY and SUNY buildings are being eyed for possible temporary hospital to be built.

Cuomo told all providers of personal protective equipment that "we will pay a premium," and he asked manufacturers of related products to make masks, gowns and gloves instead.

"Ventilators are to this war what missiles were to WWII," Cuomo said. "We need the ventilators."

Everyone else must "remain indoors to the greatest extent" possible.

New York state now has 7,102 positive cases, with at least 35 deaths.

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