No mask, no service: Gov says businesses can oust customers without face coverings

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

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

The governor said Thursday that he would not only focus on supplying masks to communities in the city most affected as part of the effort to expedite reopening, but that he also hoped to “culturalize” face coverings for as long as COVID-19 is a threat.

“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’t come in,” Cuomo said at his daily press briefing, held at the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club on Bedford Avenue in Flatbush. “That store owner has a right to protect themselves. That store owner has the right to protect the other patrons in that store.”

The governor — whose administration is said to be bringing in up to 1 million additional masks — also announced an outreach campaign featuring celebrities Chris Rock and Rosie Perez, meant to make good on Cuomo’s previously expressed desire to make masks “cool.” The two were in attendance at the Thursday presser.

As the daily death toll in New York continues to hover in the low 70s, Cuomo said Thursday that the city’s reopening will come as 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, who added that neighborhoods like Morrisania in the Bronx and Hollis in Queens are still battling between a 35 percent to 45 percent infection rate.

“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 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.

This story first appeared on AMNY.com.