By Denis Slattery New York Daily News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The governor says the state is giving store owners the right to say, "if you're not wearing a mask you can't come in."
Businesses in New York can now tell customers: no mask, no service.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an order Thursday allowing shops and stores in the state to deny service to customers who refuse to wear masks once they reopen.
The governor added a little star power to his daily coronavirus briefing in Brooklyn as comedian Chris Rock and actress Rosie Perez joined Cuomo in calling on New Yorkers to wear masks, get tested and help combat coronavirus.
"Everybody that can get tested should get tested as soon as possible," Rock said as he heaped praise on Cuomo's handling of the pandemic.
"Everybody, please, spread love the Brooklyn way, get tested, wear a mask," Perez said. "Our governor is a rock star and he makes me proud to be from New York."
"You guys are the rock stars. I'm just a fan," Cuomo replied.
The governor, who earlier this week declared wearing a mask the cool thing to do, said he enlisted the celebrities to boost his message to New Yorkers about respecting one another and taking precautions to stem the spread of the virus.
"They are amazingly effective and we've made them mandatory in public settings," Cuomo said of face coverings. "But when we're talking about reopening stores and places of business, we're giving the store owners the right to say if you're not wearing a mask you can't come in."
Cuomo said state officials are focusing on COVID-19 "hot spots" in low-income and minority neighborhoods across the city and said the Big Apple still has a little way to go before reaching remaining benchmarks to begin reopening.
"We have to make more progress on some of the metrics," Cuomo said. Outside of the city, most regions are soon expected to enter the second phase of the state's reopening plan, meaning barbers, hairstylists and some offices can open.
The city, which has been the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., still needs to up its hospital capacity and add contact tracers to meet the state-mandated marks to allow construction and manufacturing to reopen.
Cuomo reported that another 74 New Yorkers died from COVID-19, noting that as the number of deaths and hospitalizations drops, the virus will "remain a cause of death for the foreseeable future."
More than 700 people were dying a day at the height of the pandemic. However, the governor warned that the tragedy is far from over.
"We have a large state, and the COVID virus tends to attack those who are seniors and those who have underlying illnesses and will remain a cause of death for the foreseeable future, I'm afraid to say," Cuomo said. "But we want to get this number down as low as possible." ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.