New York State rolled out sweeping new mandatory “100% workforce reductions” on Friday as Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all nonessential workers to stay home as the state dramatically escalated its efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Law firms were not listed as an essential service under an executive order issued earlier this week that previously curtailed the number of employees allowed to report for work in office.

At a press conference Friday at the State Capitol, Cuomo said his staff was still working out details of the restrictions. Cuomo’s office said the workforce rules would take effect on Sunday.

It was not immediately clear whether office buildings would be shuttered.

Many specifics remain unclear, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday said the restrictions will not apply to essential services like grocery stores and pharmacies. He also said he viewed servicing ATMs and taking care of internet services would be deemed essential.

But he stressed that businesses remaining open in the face of the restrictions could be fined and forced to close by state officials.

“When I talk about the most drastic action we can take, this is the most drastic action we can take,” he said at a Friday press conference at the state Capitol.

Cuomo refused to characterize the measure as a lockdown or a shelter-in-place order. The latter had been openly considered by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in recent days, with some pushback from the governor.

The number of COVID-19 cases in New York also climbed Friday to more than 4,100, according to government officials. Cuomo reported he would be implementing the new workplace lockdown rules through executive order.

Cuomo also banned “nonessential gatherings” and said people in public must practice social distancing by standing at least 6 feet from other people.

This is a developing story.


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