New York Mayor
“Every place that is in the front line of this crisis needs to move to shelter in place to protect ourselves,” de Blasio said on
Even as New York City’s documented cases of the new coronavirus hit 4,000, with 26 deaths as of Thursday, Cuomo has resisted de Blasio’s calls to restrict people’s movements on the grounds that it would create more panic among citizens during a time when authorities need cooperation. The governor, who since midweek has been acting in concert with the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, has said he doesn’t want to issue an order that other states wouldn’t agree to.
The divide between New York’s most powerful heads of government reflects years of tension over the governor’s authority to stymie mayoral policies and restrict state aid to the city. Although the two have praised each other during the crisis in an effort to work together, the question of issuing a “shelter in place” order has divided them. Each has refused to budge.
De Blasio says a “shelter in place” order would follow the model of what California Governor
“I respect the decisions he’s made,” de Blasio said of Cuomo on Friday. “To his great credit while the president has been asleep, Governor Cuomo has been leading.” But de Blasio added, “At this point things are moving so fast and what the state of California did was just a recognition of necessity.”
Part of the dispute has to do with the terminology. The governor said Wednesday he abhors the term “shelter in place,” because it first became commonly used as a strategy to stay alive during a nuclear attack, and more recently during an active shooter situation in a school.
“Look at your words, ‘shelter in place,’ you know where that came from? That came from nuclear war,” Cuomo told reporters in Albany on Thursday. “What it said is people should go into an interior room of their home with no windows, stay there until they get the all-clear sign. Now, that’s not what people really mean, but that’s what it sounds like.”
“Misinformation, emotion, fear, panic,“ he added, are “truly more dangerous than the virus.”
The governor has also made it plain that he, not the mayor, has the authority to order such restrictions. “Look, I would know, I would have to authorize those actions,” Cuomo said. “It’s not going to happen.”
New York currently permits many businesses to remain open, with 75% of their staff working from home. Cuomo said Friday that barbershops, hair salons, tattoo parlors and other personal care services will close to the public, starting Saturday at 8 p.m. Those services can’t be provided while maintaining social distance, he said. The measure was coordinated with New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, where those services will also close, he said.
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David S. Joachim
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