Orange County Partnership - News

Governor Extends Shutdown of ‘Non-Essential’ Businesses, Schools Through April 29

ALBANY—New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on April 6 a two-week extension of the shutdown of all non-essential businesses and schools statewide in order to prevent the further spread of the Novel Coronavirus.


He said at a press conference in Albany that the state will re-evaluate the policy after the additional two-week period that runs through April 29.


In recent days, the governor and other state officials were hoping the state had reached its apex of new cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities from COVID-19 that might eventually allow the state to begin lifting some restrictions, leading to some businesses opening their doors once again.


Last month, Gov. Cuomo tried curbing the infection rate by ordering offices of non-essential businesses reduce staff in each office by 50%.  That number was quickly ramped up to 75%, before ordering a 100% reduction of non-essential employees on March 22. The list of exempted essential businesses that could remain operational include: shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions, as well as infrastructure and utility-related construction. All private construction projects were shuttered by the governor’s executive order. Last month’s Executive Order also implemented a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants.


"This virus is an enemy that the entire country underestimated from day one and we have paid the price dearly," Governor Cuomo said. "While the numbers look like they may be turning, now is not the time to be lax with social distancing—that would be a mistake and we all have a responsibility and a societal role in this.”


He continued, “As I said from day one, I am not going to choose between public health and economic activity, and to that end I am extending all NYS on Pause functions for an additional two weeks. People are dying and our health care workers are exposing themselves to tremendous risk every day. If we can't convince you to show discipline for yourself in terms of social distancing, show discipline for other people.”


In his April 6th COVID-19 Update briefing, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus stated that there were 3,533 positive COVID-19 cases in Orange County and a total of 76 deaths since the pandemic began in the county. As of Monday, April 6, 25% of the total ICU beds were available in the county and a total of 290 people were hospitalized for treatment of the Coronavirus-related ailments, of which 201 had tested positive.


The County Executive asked residents who can volunteer to look into organizations that provide assistance to those impacted by the pandemic.


“As we go through this Easter Week and Passover, there are a lot of good things that we could be doing to make it a little bit better for our neighbors, our families and our friends,” he said.


Gov. Cuomo also announced the state is increasing the maximum fine for violations of the state's social distancing protocol from $500 to $1,000 to help address the lack of adherence to social distancing protocols. The governor reminded localities that they have the authority to enforce the protocols.


The governor also announced the creation of the First Responders Fund to assist COVID-19 health care workers and first responders with expenses and costs, including child care. The State Department of Health is accepting donations for the fund, and Blackstone is making an anchor $10-million contribution to the fund. Donations can be made electronically at or by check sent to Health Research, Inc., 150 Broadway, Suite 560, Menands, NY 12204. Donors should specify the donation is for "COVID-19 NYS Emergency Response."