Breaking: Cuomo reverses, imposes "pause" order to shelter in place

Just yesterday, Andrew Cuomo sharply dismissed the idea of a lockdown for the state of New York. Despite repeated calls from Bill de Blasio, Cuomo had insisted that “fear and panic” were more dangerous than the coronavirus. After Gavin Newsom became the first governor to order a lockdown, though, Cuomo changed his mind.

“We need everyone to be safe,” Cuomo declared in a press conference, “otherwise no one can be safe”:

“We need everyone to be safe, otherwise no one can be safe,” Cuomo said. “So we’re going to put out an executive order today: New York state on pause: Policies that Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone.”

Civil fines and mandatory closures for businesses that don’t comply with the new mandate will be enforced, Cuomo announced.

“These provisions will be enforced,” he said. “These are not helpful hints. This is not if you really want to be a great citizen. These are legal provisions. They will be enforced. There will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for any business that is not in compliance. Again, your actions can affect my health. That’s where we are.”

“This is the most drastic action we can take,” Cuomo added. That may not be quite true, but it’s pretty close. Now that New York and California are under a lockdown order, that means nearly 20% of all Americans are more or less confined to quarters, with exceptions for grocery runs, pharmacy visits, health care facilities, and take-out food. It also means that businesses outside of essential services can no longer have employees come to the office, with Cuomo threatening to start levying fines for violators:

All workers in non-essential businesses across New York state are required to stay home, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo just announced.

He said there will be a civil fine and mandatory closure for any business “that is not in compliance.”

At the same time, Cuomo warned landlords to be patient for the next 90 days:

That’s what the bailouts are supposed to cushion. Will they work? It depends on how targeted they end up being, but with nearly 1 in 5 Americans under shelter-in-place orders, we will find out very soon.

How long will these measures need to remain in place? Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on Today that it might take several weeks for all this to play out. Younger Americans need to take this more seriously, Fauci says, and that might take a while — which means so will these mandates.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday that Americans will most likely have to continue staying at home and practicing social distancing for “at least several weeks” amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“If you look at the trajectory of the curves of outbreaks and other areas, at least going to be several weeks,” Fauci said in an interview with Savannah Guthrie on the “TODAY” show.

“I cannot see that all of a sudden, next week or two weeks from now it’s going to be over. I don’t think there’s a chance of that. I think it’s going to be several weeks.”