On Friday March 20, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York State on ‘PAUSE’ executive order (“Executive Order”), setting forth a 10-point plan to ensure the safety of New Yorkers amidst the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Effective Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 8:00pm, all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions. Essential Businesses are exempt from this restriction, subject to social distancing and related precautions.
  2. Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason are to be cancelled or postponed.
  3. Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services and social distancing should be practiced.
  4. When in public, individuals must practice social distancing of at least 6 feet from others.
  5. Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least 6 feet.
  6. Individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people.
  7. Individuals should limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary and should limit potential exposure by spacing out at least 6 feet from other riders.
  8. Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care and only after a telehealth visit to determine if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health.
  9. Young people are advised to practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations.
  10. All individuals are advised to use precautionary sanitizer practices, such as using isopropyl alcohol wipes and hand sanitizers.

In addition to the above, the Governor announced “Matilda’s Law”, aimed specifically at protecting vulnerable populations, including those over the age of 70 and those with compromised immune systems or other underlying illnesses. The measure requires vulnerable individuals to remain inside and limit visitation to the extent possible. To the extent visitation is necessary, the visitor is encouraged to pre-screen prior to entry, by taking their temperature and checking each person for flu-like symptoms.

In connection with the Executive Order, the Governor also announced a 90-day moratorium on residential and commercial evictions and issued a plea to state enterprises with respect to the manufacture and production of personal protective equipment (“PPE”), including gloves, masks and hospital gowns. In an effort to combat the shortage, the Governor is encouraging any company with the proper equipment and/or personnel to aid in the manufacture of PPE products. The State is going a step further and has offered to provide funding to enable businesses to obtain proper equipment and/or personnel. If your business has the ability to contribute, or you would like to request funding, you can contact President and CEO of Empire State Development, Eric Gertler, by phone at 212-803-3100 or via email at COVID19supplies@esd.ny.gov.

Please do not hesitate to contact Cole Schotz P.C. with any questions regarding this Alert, including as to whether your business qualifies as an Essential Business as currently defined by the State. We will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.