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Cuomo now requiring NY employers keep 75% of workforce at home due to COVID-19

Cuomo now requiring NY employers keep 75% of workforce at home due to COVID-19

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News editor Chris Sciria watches coronavirus updates on television during his shift in an empty newsroom at The Citizen in Auburn. The company has proactively asked all reporters and photographers to work remotely from home or the field due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants New York employers to keep more workers at home. 

One day after requiring that at least half of employees at non-essential businesses must not report for work outside their homes, Cuomo on Thursday raised that threshold to 75%. 

"Again, voluntarily, I'm asking all businesses to have people work from home," he said. "As a mandate, 75% of your employee base must work from home." 

Essential services — banks, grocery and food production, healthcare providers, media, pharmacies, shipping, warehousing and utilities — are exempt from the requirement, which takes effect Friday. 

Cuomo has been encouraging businesses to adopt work-from-home policies as a way to reduce density during the coronavirus outbreak. Density reduction could help combat the spread of COVID-19. 

The state has already ordered bars and restaurants to limit operations to carryout and delivery services. Casinos, gyms and movie theaters have been closed since Tuesday

On Wednesday, Cuomo ordered amusement parks, bowling alleys and the indoor portions of shopping malls to close until further notice. Mall stores with exterior entrances may remain open. 

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York continues to rise as more tests are processed. According to Cuomo's office, 22,284 people have been tested for COVID-19. There are 4,152 positive cases in New York, up from 2,382 on Wednesday. The hospitalization rate is 19%, with 777 people hospitalized due to the virus. 

New York has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the country. Washington has the second-most with 1,182 cases — nearly 3,000 fewer than New York. 

As the numbers increase, Cuomo reminded New Yorkers that it's not an actual count of the cases in the state. He estimated that there are "thousands and thousands" of people who have the virus but haven't been tested. He said there could be just as many people who had the virus and it resolved before testing commenced. 

"We're still testing because you want to find those positive cases, track them down, isolate people and stop the spread," he said. 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.

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