On April 15, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.17 invoking new powers from a law passed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic to temporarily suspend or modify laws necessary to assist or aid in coping with a declared State disaster emergency. On March 3, 2020, the Governor signed into law legislation that expanded his authority to temporarily suspend, modify, or issue directives in response to a declared State disaster emergency. That legislation also accompanied a $40 million appropriation to the Governor to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor issued a directive that anyone over the age of two will be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public space or when unable to maintain a social distance. The directive goes into effect Friday, April 17, 2020.
The Governor modified a directive under Executive Order 202.16 related to the issuance of letters of no-action or no-filing by the Attorney General related to essential projects involving affordable housing and homeless shelters.
Under the newly enacted law, the Governor has the power to suspend, modify, or issue directives during a declared emergency for 30 days which may be extended for an unlimited number of 30 day periods with consent of the legislature after each subsequent period. Unless the Governor elects to extend the suspension or directives, they will expire on May 15, 2020.