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Governor says New York businesses can have no more than 50% of workforce on site

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Posted at 10:27 AM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 13:27:47-04

NEW YORK -- As the total number of COVID-19 cases in New York state surpass 2,300, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a mandatory order for businesses to allow no more than 50% of their workforce to be on site.

"Lets maintain the public health," Cuomo said, "We'll figure out the economy afterwards."

The new order mandates businesses to have at least half of their workforce stay home. Exceptions to this order are those in essential businesses, including law enforcement, healthcare and food workers.

Other mandatory steps taken include closing schools statewide, reducing state and local workforce, and the tri-state area's agreement to close bars, restaurants and gyms. Pennsylvania has also agreed to partake in this.

Cuomo discussed Wednesday the state's efforts to further stop the spread of the virus, including flattening curve of people infected, increasing hospital capacity and identifying new hospital beds.

Cuomo said he has been in talks with President Donald Trump, who is working to dispatch the USNS Comfort to the New York Harbor to assist in helping those impacting. "It is literally a floating hospital."

Despite Mayor Bill de Blasio warning New York City residents there would be a possibility of a shelter-in-place order amid the rising number of cases in the five boroughs. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there is "no consideration" for a shelter-in-place for any locality in the state at this time.

Cuomo clarified Wednesday that a shelter-in-place would have to be done on a widespread scale.

"It can't just be New York City," Cuomo said.

"You close down all businesses when you do shelter-in-place," he added. "I would never shut down food, transportation, essential services."

Overnight, the total number of cases in the state jumped by more than 1,000, Cuomo said. There are 2,382 cases in the state, including 1,339 cases in New York City and 538 cases in Westchester County.

New York, the most impacted state in the U.S., has 20 deaths reported. Washington has 1,012 cases, with 54 deaths reported, according to Cuomo.

Of the 2,382 cases, 549 people, or 23% of the population, have been hospitalized. About 108 people have also been discharged from the hospital.

The total number of cases worldwide has surpassed 200,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally. At least 6,496 people in the United States were confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19, according to a database kept by Johns Hopkins.

This story was originally published by Kristine Garcia and other staff at WPIX.