Businesses can deny entry to people not wearing masks, governor says

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Thursday coronavirus briefing

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (WWNY) - As retail and other businesses start to reopen in phase two of the state’s reopening plan, private business will have the authority to deny entry to anyone not wearing some kind of face covering.

At his coronavirus briefing in Brooklyn on Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will sign an executive order giving businesses owners the right to deny service to anyone not wearing a mask.

“We’re giving the store owners the right to say, ‘if you’re not wearing a mask, you can’t come in,’” he said.

People have the right to not wear a mask, he said, but they don’t have a right to go into a private business and risk infecting everyone inside with COVID-19.

“That store owner has a right to protect himself,” Cuomo said. “That store owner has a right to protect the other patrons in that store.”

In the meantime, the daily death toll from COVID-19 stays relatively flat. It was 74 on Wednesday, 74 on Tuesday, and 73 on Monday.

Unfortunately, the governor said, COVID-19 deaths will probably be around for a while.

The way the virus attacks the elderly and those with underlying conditions, he said, it “will remain a cause of death for the foreseeable future, I’m afraid to say.”

The state’s main focus is reducing the infection rate in New York City, where officials have already delivered eight million masks, particularly to low-income and minority areas.

Some low-income and minority neighborhoods, Cuomo said, have more than double the infection rates as the entire city.

To help drive home his point – and to improve on his own communication skills – the governor has enlisted the help to two famous Brooklyn natives, comedian Chris Rock and actress Rosie Perez, who both spoke at the briefing and encouraged their fellow New Yorkers to wear masks.

“They’re going to use their voice, their talent to communicate better than I have,” he said. The two will appear in a commercial educating people about the importance of wearing a mask.

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