Couch White Logo

New Executive Orders Mandating Face Covering

Apr 16, 2020

Yesterday, April 15, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.17. Pursuant to the order, beginning April 17, 2020 at 8 p.m., all individuals in New York State over the age of two will be required “to cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance.”  In its announcement of the order, the governor’s office gave “public transportation” as an example of a situation in which the order will apply.  This order does not include any information or guidance on how the new directive is to be enforced.

Earlier in the week, on April 12, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.16, which took effect yesterday, April 15, 2020 at 8 p.m.  Executive Order No. 202.16 most notably contains a directive requiring all essential businesses or entities to supply their employees at worksites with face coverings, and further requiring that those employees wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public.  Unlike the most recent order, Executive Order No. 202.16 includes provision for its enforcement—authorizing local governments and local law enforcement to enforce the directive in keeping with section 12 or 12-b of the Public Health Law (including by imposing civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation for first offenses, up to $5,000 per violation for repeat offenses committed within 12 months thereafter, up to $10,000 per violation for violations resulting in serious physical harm, and for willful violations, misdemeanor criminal liability, punishable by imprisonment up to 1 year and/or by a fine up to $10,000).