New York governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday ordered 75 percent of workers in “nonessential” businesses to work from home amid the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
Essential businesses include grocery stores, delivery services, pharmacies, and health care positions. The governor has also waived mortgage payments for 90 days for people economically affected by the coronavirus, including those who have been laid off work.
“This is a real-life benefit, people are under tremendous economic pressure. Making a mortgage payment can be one of the No. 1 stressors. Eliminating that stressor for 90 days I think will go a long way,” Cuomo told reporters in Albany. “We’ll reassess as the situation goes on if that should be extended or not.”
New York has the highest concentration of coronavirus cases in the U.S., with 4,152 cases in the state and 3,954 cases in New York City alone, according to the New York Post. Cuomo has repeatedly warned that the state does not possess enough hospital beds or medical equipment to house and treat the potentially much higher number of patients.
“We don’t have the capacity in the hospitals, we don’t the ventilators, you can’t find enough ventilators,” Cuomo said at a Wednesday press conference. “I have people in China right now trying to buy ventilators.”
However, Cuomo has rejected any quarantine or lockdown of New York City as a whole, saying such a move would be counterproductive and only cause more panic.
“Misinformation, emotion, fear, panic, [are] truly more dangerous than the virus,” Cuomo said on Thursday.