ALBANY — Under a new directive issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, local governments could face a $10,000 per day fine for not strongly enforcing his executive orders or Department of Health emergency regulations.
Cuomo issued a statement late Friday requiring all local governments in COVID-19 “hot spots” to establish a framework for reporting their enforcement activities and setting specific consequences for failure to enforce the State Department of Health Emergency Regulations and the Governor’s Executive Orders related to social distancing, mask compliance, and capacity limitations.
If local governments do not enforce these legally binding requirements, they will be in violation of the order and can be subject to fines, Cuomo warned.
“The Commissioner of Health will issue a Section 16 order to the local governments advising them that they have to step up the compliance, that it is the law and if the local governments don’t step up the compliance, they will actually be in violation of the law and they can be fined. I have asked the local governments many times to actually do the compliance,” Cuomo said.
“Compliance is not public education—it is enforcement. People know what the rules are and they’ve heard them every day. Local governments have to do enforcement. Whether or not it fits with their political agenda really is pointless. It’s the law and their job is to enforce the law.”
Failure to adhere to the order can result in penalties of up to $10,000 per day, pursuant to Section 12-b of the state Public Health Law.