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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo extends COVID-19 stay-at-home orders to mid-May

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a coronavirus press conference at the governor';s Manhattan office on March 2 in Manhattan, New York. (Barry Williams/New York Daily News/TNS)

Massachusetts’s neighbor to the west will continue COVID-19 social distancing precautions for at least another month, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday extending stay-at-home orders through May 15.

Cuomo, whose state has seen more than 11,000 coronavirus deaths, said business closures and tight social distancing policies implemented last month have helped knock down the rate of infections. But he said New Yorkers must “continue doing what we’re doing.”

“The New York pause has worked, but we are not there yet,” Cuomo told reporters in a news briefing in Albany.

Cuomo declined to project the next steps after the May 15 target date, noting he needed “a coordinated action plan with the other states.”

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

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As to when the crisis is “finally over,” the governor said “it’s over when you have a vaccine.”

Reigniting the economy in the state and city hardest hit by the virus will require a “phased return to normal,” including analysis of what businesses can reopen and which pose greater risks, Cuomo said.

“How do you now restart that machine in a coordinated way that doesn’t drive up the infection rate?” he said. “That’s the balance that we’re trying to strike. There’s no light switch.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s office is also talking with other northeastern states to work on a regional plan. Governors in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Delaware have agreed to work together to coordinate a reopening of the region’s economies, schools, agencies and other entities that shuttered in the wake of the pandemic.

President Donald Trump on Thursday plans to release guidance plans for states after talking with several governors and economic advisers this week. Trump has said the nation is “past the peak” of the virus but said some states won’t be able to return to business as usual as quickly as others.

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© 2020 MassLive.com