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Cuomo trumps De Blasio and says no to NYC lockdown

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo at the New York Transit Museum on Fri., January 8, 2016. (Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit)
March 18, 2020

New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday night that New York City would not be undergoing a mandatory quarantine, despite NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio saying it was under consideration.

“That cannot happen. It cannot happen legally,” Cuomo told reporters of a possible quarantine. “No city in this state can quarantine itself without state approval and I have no interest whatsoever, and no plan whatsoever, to quarantine any city.”

Earlier Tuesday, de Blasio had told reporters that quarantine was under consideration.

“Under the emergency powers I can do curfews, road restrictions, all sorts of shutdowns,” de Blasio said. “All of that is on the table right now.”

“New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order,” de Blasio added. “The decision will be made in the next 48 hours.”

Cuomo reiterated his opposition to the quarantine on Wednesday, explaining further than he did not support such an order because affecting only New York City would not stop people from moving in the state.

“None of these measures work unless you have a large enough geographic basis,” Cuomo said.

“Makes no sense for a county to try and put its own rule into effect, or a city to put its own rule into effect, because people will just move… so the geographic footprint, by definition, is essential for these to work.”

Cuomo did, however, announce a tri-state area mutual agreement to limit public crowd capacity to 50 people, limit restaurants and bars to only take-out and delivery service, and closures of gyms, movie theaters, and casinos.

Cuomo also imposed an order on all businesses to reduce their physical workforce by 50 percent to immediately reduce the number of people reporting to workplaces outside their homes.

De Blasio did issue an emergency declaration to close all New York City schools until April 20.

On Tuesday, de Blasio said on Twitter that the city had 814 positive coronavirus cases and seven New Yorkers had died.

Cuomo said on Wednesday that the statewide positive cases had increased to 2,382.

The U.S. Navy will be deploying hospital ship USNS Comfort to New York City in response to the coronavirus outbreak. It will offer 1,000 hospital beds to the city.

New York currently has 53,000 hospital beds, though Cuomo said the state could need double that amount when the coronavirus reaches its peak in an estimated 45 days. The state also has just 3,000 intensive care beds, but could need over 37,000.