Cuomo was asked about protestors outside the State Capitol in Albany who said they were running out of money.
While expressing sympathy for their plight, Cuomo said the virus is still killing hundreds of New Yorkers per day.
"It's not about me. It's about we," he said.
Cuomo said the risk of death outweighs economic hardship.
The governor said those who want to go back to work should "take a job as an essential worker."
"There are people hiring," he said. "You can get a job as an essential worker. So now you can go to work and you can be an essential worker and you are not going to kill anyone."
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