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Non-essential employees must stay home in New York; gatherings banned

Posted at 11:48 AM, Mar 20, 2020

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ordering all workers in non-essential businesses in the state to stay home to help combat the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

The mandate will exclude pharmacies, grocery stores and other essential industries, according to Cuomo.

The governor also announced that he's banning gatherings statewide. Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size or for any reason are canceled or postponed.

"First rule, only essential businesses will be functioning. People can work at home, but only essential businesses can have workers commuting to the job or on the job. Second rule, remain indoors to the greatest extent to protect physical and mental health," Cuomo said during a press conference.

Cuomo said the state will implement a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants.

"We will do all we can to help those financially suffering because of the #COVID19 pandemic," he tweeted.

The governor also announced "Matilda's Law" that is designed to protect New Yorkers who are 70 years old or up and those with compromised immune systems.

Cuomo will sign an executive order over the mandates on Friday.

The moves come as Cuomo announced nearly 3,000 new COVID-19 cases overnight, bringing the state's total cases to 7,102 as of Friday. At least 38 people have died as a result of the virus in the state, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

New York is leading the country in the amount of cases as of Friday. The number in the state has grown steadily over the past few days as officials ramp up testing, with the help of drive-thru testing centers.

This story is breaking will be updated as more information becomes available.