New York State on PAUSE: Cuomo enacts ‘Matilda’s Law’ in response to ongoing spread of COVID-19

Andrew Cuomo
Photo via Flickr/governorandrewcuomo

New York State is “closing the valve” and enacting stricter provisions in an effort to flatten the curve of coronavirus.

On March 20, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State will be going under PAUSE. The policy, which stands for Policies that Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone, places more restrictions on the entire state population, with different regulations for vulnerable and non-vulnerable populations.

Vulnerable populations cover those who are 70 and older, and those who have compromised immune systems. Provisions for the vulnerable populations, which Cuomo has called “Matlida’s Law,” include remaining indoors, but allows for outdoor solitary exercise. All visitors must be pre-screened by taking their temperature and the vulnerable population cannot go visit households with multiple people. Vulnerable persons should wear mask in company of others, and everyone in presence of vulnerable should wear mask. Finally, all vulnerable individuals must stay at least 6 feet from individuals and should not take public transit unless it’s urgent or necessary.

For the non-vulnerable population, all non-essential gatherings have been cancelled, and any concentration of individuals outside home prohibited unless essential. Individuals should also limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact as well as limiting their use of public transportation unless absolutely necessary. Sick individuals unless they are going to receive medical care.

Finally, all non-vulnerable populations must continue to practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others, and businesses that are essential must implement rules to make this possible.

These new provisions will take effect on Sunday. Additionally, all nonessential businesses will have 100% of their workforce stay home. 

“This is the most drastic action we can take,” said Governor Cuomo. “These provisions will be enforced. These are legal provisions. There will be civil fines and mandatory closures for businesses that do not comply.”

However, Cuomo held firm that this new plan is not a shelter-in-place order.

“It’s not a shelter-in-place order,” said Cuomo. “People are scared and people panic. Why am I increasing the mandates? Because the numbers are increasing. I said from day one, this is science and math. Watch the trajectory – you have the density control valve. If the numbers starts to go up, tighten the valve. If the number doesn’t slow down, tighten the valve more. If the number doesn’t go down, close the valve. We’re closing the valve.”

At the time of the conference, New York State has 7,102 cases of coronavirus, with 1,255 people hospitalized and 35 deaths. 32,427 people have been tested so far. New York City has the most cases in the state with 4,408 cases.

During the press conference, Cuomo stated that the state is looking for ventilators. If a health facility has a ventilator that they are willing to lend or sell to the state, they should contact the Department of Health.

In addition, Cuomo announced that all evictions will be paused for 90 days.