No mask, no service: New York businesses can oust customers without face coverings

Chris Rock, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Rosie Perez in Flatbush on Thursday. (Photo by Mark Hallum)

Governor Andrew Cuomo, ahead of the reopening of New York City, will be signing a new executive order that will allow business owners to deny services to customers not wearing masks.

The announcement was made at his Thursday press conference with Chris Rock and Rosie Perez in which he said he would not only focus on supplying masks to communities in the city most affected as part of the effort to expedite the city’s reopening, but that he hoped “culuralize” face coverings for as long as COVID-19 is a threat.

Up to 1 million additional masks were brought to the city by the Cuomo administration while an outreach message with Rock and Perez is meant to make good on Cuomo’s desire expressed Wednesday to make masks “cool.”

“When we’re talking about reopening stores and places of business, we’re giving the store owners the right to say, if you’re not wearing a mask, you can come in,” Cuomo said. “That store owner has a right to protect themselves, that store owner has the right to protect the other patrons in that store.”

The daily death toll in New York continues to hover in the low 70s and Cuomo says the reopening will come to no surprise to anyone following the numbers. The CDC outlines that regions will have to exceed 14 days of decreased hospitalizations among other metrics before reopening can begin.

The majority of new COVID-19 cases are coming out of the lower-income, minority communities and from individuals not currently working, according to Cuomo. The governor proceeded to list off a number of outer-borough neighborhoods in the city with between 35% and 45% infection rate that included Morrisania in the Bronx and Hollis in Queens.

“Get tested, wear a mask. Like when the doctor gives you antibiotics, he says take the whole prescription, and if you stop, whatever you came in there for is going to come back worse,” Rock said. “So social distancing is was the prescription, we need to take the whole dose.”

Along with the additional PPE, the governor plans to provide diagnostic and antibody testing as well as healthcare services for underlying conditions.

More from around NYC