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New York City residents shopping for fruits and vegetables apparently haven’t gotten the memo from Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the latest efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in addition to stay-at-home mandates.
Cuomo’s new executive order requires residents to wear face masks in public if they can’t maintain six feet of separation, but not everyone was in compliance at the city’s popular Union Square Greenmarket in lower Manhattan where large crowds of shoppers assembled on Wednesday afternoon.
“Despite the state being at the apparent apex of COVID-19 cases and having strict stay-at-home and social-distancing orders in place … [Union Square is] still buzzing,” TMZ noted about the popular farmers market and consumers being too close for comfort under the circumstances.
The governor’s directive is consistent with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it officially doesn’t take effect in the Empire State until Friday.
Regardless of where you live, if you’ve been to the supermarket lately, more and more customers are adopting face masks even if not yet required by law or store rules.
Parenthetically, CDC guidelines also now enable essential workers in such industries as healthcare and food supply, previously exposed to the coronavirus, to return to work if they show no symptoms (i.e., asymptomatic) and exercise proper precautions.
“The governor said there will initially be no civil penalties for noncompliance, but he’s urging merchants to enforce it among customers,” the Daily Mail reported about the face mask rule.
In translation, this means that monetary fines against those who don’t use face coverings are just around the corner.
Crowds of people descend on New York City market and ignore social distancing rules on the same day Gov. Cuomo tells all New Yorkers to wear face masks if it's not possible to stay six-feet apart.
— Roy A. Butta (@RoyButta) April 16, 2020
NYC's Union Square Farmers Market Still Buzzing Amid Stay-at-Home Ordershttps://t.co/vDOx3gpZhe
— TMZ (@TMZ) April 16, 2020
In New York State, more than 200,000 persons have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, resulting in 11,000-plus fatalities, mostly in New York City, one of the country’s major hotspots for the pandemic, as alluded to above.
Cuomo says that the worst may be over, however, and that businesses might be able to reopen on an incremental basis starting with those that are most essential.
Getting a lot of TV face time and, as a result, being touted as a possible replacement for Sleepy Joe Biden on the 2020 Democrat presidential ticket, Cuomo is leading a “Coronavirus Council” of east coast governors to coordinate the reopening of their economies, which President Trump has insisted comes under his sole purview.
Blue-state governors in New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are part of the group. A lone Republican, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, is also joining up.
Although divisive and perhaps unnecessary disagreements exist as to who ultimately can call the shots, Trump has promised to work closely with all the governors in making final decisions about how and when to reopen America.
California, Oregon, and Washington governors are also working together on reopening initiatives.
Whether these officials intend to put anti-Trump politics above what’s best for public health or the economy remains to be seen.
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