Cuomo, de Blasio remain apart on shelter-in-place plan for New York City

Photo by Mark Hallum

The mayor wants it; the governor doesn’t think it’s the best idea. Either way, it remained unclear Wednesday as to whether New Yorkers would be ordered soon to shelter-in-place to help stem the coronavirus outbreak.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday morning he would try to convince Governor Andrew Cuomo to place a shelter-in-place order as the number of positive coronavirus cases continues to climb in New York City.

There were 1,339 positive cases of the novel coronavirus in New York City, up 659 new cases from Tuesday, Cuomo said at a midday press conference on March 18.

“I will be speaking with the Governor about it later on today,” de Blasio said during an interview on NBC’s the Today Show Wednesday morning. The city would first need to work out how New Yorkers would get food and medicine before the mayor would urge the Governor to consider such a major restriction on public life.

Tuesday, the mayor said that a decision on a shelter-in-place order would be made within the following 48 hours. But the governor’s office was quick to squash any notion that the state is considering such a measure.

Melissa DeRosa, a top Cuomo aid, said in a statement that “any blanket quarantine or shelter in place policy would require State action and as the Governor has said, there is no consideration of that for any locality of this time.”

After de Blasio’s media blitz Wednesday morning, Cuomo reaffirmed his opposition to a New York City-only shelter-in-place order, stating that such a policy would only work if the geographic footprint was large enough to fully stop movement.

“I’m from Queens, if you tell me shelter-in-place and I’m living in Queens, I’ll go stay with my sister in Westchester and I’ll go out and have a good time,” Cuomo told reporters at a March 18 press conference.

For a shelter-in-place order to work in New York City, the governor added, it would likely have to also be applied to the rest of the state.

On Tuesday, de Blasio was unclear as to what a shelter-in-place order would look like in New York City.

The mayor referenced the order placed in California’s Bay Area, which requires all non-essential workers, such as police, transit and health care workers, to stay home. The order still allows for non-essential workers to leave their homes for food, trips to the pharmacy and for exercise.

This story first appeared on amny.com.

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