New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks in front of stacks of medical protective supplies during a news conference at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center which will be partially converted into a temporary hospital during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended Thursday the temporary New York State school and non-essential business closures as well as social-distancing mandates to May 15.

The governor’s so-called New York State on Pause order, which was initially enacted on March 22, bans gatherings, requires people stay six feet away from one another, limits non-essential public outings, and urges increased hand washing.

“Why don’t you open tomorrow? Because we’re afraid the infection rate will go up,” Cuomo said.

The coronavirus shutdown is in coordination with surrounding states. The development comes as the rate of new hospitalizations has begun to slow, indicating that the state’s social-distancing mandates have achieved the goal of flattening the curve.

In addition, the governor also ordered this week that anyone in New York State who is destined for a place where maintaining a safe distance from others, such as a store, mass transit, or crowded sidewalk, must wear a mask as of Friday.

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