Andrew Cuomo Signs Executive Order Allowing Businesses to Deny Entry to Customers Without Masks

New York business owners can now deny service to anyone not wearing a face mask during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday after signing a new executive order. Cuomo announced the new measure during his press conference at the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club in Brooklyn, where he was also joined by comedian Chris Rock and actress Rosie Perez. New York City remains the only part of the state that has not started reopening.

"We're giving the store owners the right to say, 'If you're not wearing a mask, you can’t come in,'" Cumo said, reports The New York Post. He said a store owner has the "right to protect the other patrons" in a store. "You don't want to wear a mask? Fine," the governor added. "But you don't have a right to then go into that store if that store owner doesn’t want you to." The new executive order followed another one in April, which mandated New Yorkers wear face masks or coverings in public places where following social distancing is difficult.

During Thursday's press conference, Cuomo explained that New York City still has not met all the metrics set by the state, reports CBS News. The city still does not have enough contact tracers, total hospital beds and ICU beds available. There are still new cases coming up in the outer boroughs, were more minority and low income residents live. The state wants to open more free testing sites in these areas. "I want to be able to say to every New Yorker: 'It is safe to reopen,'" Cuomo explained.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was not at Cuomo's press conference, offered a preview of what the city's Phase 1 reopening will look like. De Blasio is expecting between 200,000 and 400,000 people to get back to work during the first phase, reports NBC New York. Construction can resume, while furniture and clothing stores will be allowed to open for curbside pickup. The MTA will start adding service for the increased number of commuters. Businesses that reopen also have to follow social distancing guidelines, including capping capacity at 50%. Employers will also have to provide personal protective equipment and must wear face masks if it is impossible to keep six feet apart from other workers. Any business found in violation of the orders will face "consequences," beginning with $1,000 fines.