Cuomo extends ban on non-essential work to May 15

Governor’s definition of “essential businesses” has changed dramatically since his order began March 22

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images)
Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday extended his statewide ban on going to non-essential workplaces through May 15.

It is the second extension of the governor’s order, which mandates non-essential businesses halt in-office operations.

“New York Pause has worked,” the governor said, but added, “We’re not there yet.” The decision to gradually reopen businesses will be based on what the infection rates are come May 15.

“What happens after then? I don’t know,” he said. “We will see, depending on what the data shows.”

Cuomo, along with the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Delaware, announced Monday that the states will create a 24-person group to map out a re-opening plan.

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The state had more than 213,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of April 15, according to the governor’s office. More than 12,000 New Yorkers have died from the disease.

Since the ban first took effect on March 22, the definition of what is considered essential has changed dramatically. Construction was initially exempt from the order, but the state subsequently stipulated that only work on affordable housing, healthcare facilities, utilities and transit projects — as well as emergency work — may continue.

In early April, the state deemed real estate brokers essential, then clarified that property showings must be conducted virtually.

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For New York City, the economic impact of the pandemic has been dire. The city is expected to lose up to 475,000 jobs by next March and $14 billion in tax revenue over the next three years, according to a new report from the city’s Independent Budget Office. It’s expected that roughly 100,000 of those jobs will be in retail and 86,000 in hotels and restaurants.

Restaurants and hotels have already laid off thousands of workers. Real estate companies, too, have furloughed and laid off employees.