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New York governor dismisses idea of NYC shelter-in-place order hours after mayor said to prepare for it

De Blasio on possible "shelter in place" decision
De Blasio: New Yorkers should be "prepared" for possibility of a "shelter in place" order 04:10

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday night waved off the idea of putting New York City under a shelter-in-place policy due to the coronavirus pandemic — just hours after the city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, told residents they should be "prepared right now" for that possibility.

"I don't think shelter in place really works for one locality," Governor Cuomo said in an interview with CNN.

The Queens native said that as a "New York City boy" himself, he expects New Yorkers would not follow such an order anyway, and it wouldn't work for the rest of the state either.

"We're very good at getting around the rules," Cuomo said. "You say shelter in place — if you stay in New York City, I'll go stay with my sister in Westchester, right? I'll go stay with a buddy in the neighboring suburb of Nassau. I don't think you can really do a policy like that just in one part of the state. So I don't think it works."

"As a matter of fact, I'm going so far that I don't even think you can do a state-wide policy," he added.

Mayor de Blasio said at a press conference earlier in the day that New Yorkers "should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter in place order," and that a decision could come within the next two days.

"It has not happened yet but it is definitely a possibility at this point," de Blasio said. "I believe that decision should be made in the next 48 hours, and it's a very, a very difficult decision."

De Blasio, however, does not have the authority to make such a call — it would have to come from Cuomo. The governor's office emphasized this in an initial statement issued after de Blasio's press conference. 

"Any blanket quarantine or shelter in place policy would require state action and as the governor has said, there is no consideration of that for any locality at this time," the statement said. 

Cuomo also told  "60 Minutes" on Sunday he "can't imagine" New York City facing quarantine conditions like those seen in some European countries.

COVID-19: Will New York City be quarantined? 01:08

Millions of people in seven California counties have been ordered to shelter in place to help contain coronavirus. California is so far the only state in which such an order has been enacted.

All non-essential travel is banned and all residents must work from home unless they are employed in "essential" services such as police, firefighters, transit and sanitation. Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and gas stations are still open, and restaurants remain open for takeout only. 

Violation of the order in California is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment, a fine or both.

CBS New York reports that a potential shelter in place order for New York City would likely include a method for making sure people can still go to grocery stores and pharmacies. 

The city and state of New York have both taken drastic measures in the past week to stop the spread of coronavirus. New York's major cultural attractions, schools, gyms, theaters, casinos and concert venues are closed, and bars and restaurants are takeout and delivery only. Cuomo banned gatherings of 50 people or more statewide.

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