NEW YORK – During a COVID-19 update on Tuesday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo reminded residents that wearing a face covering when in public is not just a recommendation, but also a law.
In April the Governor signed an executive order requiring all people in the state to wear masks or face covering while in public.
Since then, many statewide have disputed the legal weight of his order, however the governor says the directive carries the same weight as a law.
“Mask wearing is a state law. It’s a law. It’s not: it would be nice if you could, I really think you should, every health official says it’s a good idea, it’s a sign of respect. It’s also a law, okay? So yes, officials say it, yes it’s a sign of respect, yes it’s good citizenship, it’s also a law,” said Cuomo. “I don’t care what your political opinion is, I don’t care what your religious opinion is, mask-wearing is a law.”
According to Cuomo, those caught violating the executive order could face a $1,000 fine.
Businesses could also face additional penalties for violations on their property.
In addition to several executive orders during the pandemic, Governor Cuomo’s emergency powers were also expanded.
In March, state lawmakers passed a measure that broadens the definition of a disaster, from a past occurrence or imminent threat to something that is impending.
They also gave the Governor power to issue directives “necessary to cope with” a broad list of potential disasters, including everything from a fire or tornado to a “cyber event” or volcanic eruption.