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Coronavirus Update: Cuomo Extends Order Closing Non-Essential Businesses Until May 15, Says Reopening Will Be 'A Moment Of Transformation For Society'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday the order closing non-essential businesses - New York PAUSE - has been extended through May 15.

"No political decisions, no emotional decisions, data and science. We're talking about human lives here," the governor said.

Cuomo's extension comes even as President Donald Trump told the nation's governors he's eager to reopen the economy.

"Governors are looking forward. They're chomping at the bit to get going," Trump said Wednesday.

Cuomo is not one of them.

"One month we'll continue the close-down policies. What happens after then I don't know. We will see depending on what the data shows," Cuomo said.

The data will include the infection rate and the state's ability to do testing, tests that will allow people to go back to work.

Sources tell CBS2 the state is researching how to do mass testing, both on the front end to see if people test positive and on the back end to identify people who have had the disease and have antibodies.

The mission is to increase the volume of testing so that anybody who wants the test can get one.

New York currently tests 20,000-30,000 people a day -- over 500,000 so far. It's nowhere near what's needed.

"When you think of 500,000 tests in one month and then you compare it to the fact that you have 19 million people in the state, you have 9 million workers, the 500,000 doesn't sound so big, right?" Cuomo said.

Before New York opens for business, Cuomo says companies will have to reimagine the workplace to guarantee health safety.

"Tell us how you intend to organize to conduct your business, and can you do it in a way that poses a lower risk, and what would you do with your workforce to make sure, if an infection happens, that we can jump on it quickly," Cuomo said.

The governor called it "a moment of transformation for society."

"Can you socially distance in your workplace? What are your new normal procedures and practices? How do you think you're going to get workers back and forth, and what precautions would you take?" Cuomo said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio told CBS2's Marcia Kramer he also spoke to the president and vice president about reopening New York City.

"I told them it would be madness to rush the restart," de Blasio said. "My warning was, don't see New York City as so unusual that you think the same thing we've gone through isn't going to happen in one form or another in a lot of places."

Both the mayor and the governor say it will take a lot of help from Washington for New York to recover.


Cuomo also said he is also requiring New Yorkers to wear masks while riding on public transportation, and that private car service drivers need to wear masks.

"Is this inconvenient? Yes. But you're in a closed environment, by definition. You're not socially distancing, by definition. You're the front seat of the car to the back seat of a car. You're one seat in a bus to another seat in a bus. This is a precaution for everyone that I think balances individual liberties with a social conscience," Cuomo said.

It will take effect Friday night at 8 p.m.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The rate of new coronavirus hospitalizations, ICU admissions and intubations are all down.

"When you see the reduction in rate, remember what we're talking about. We're talking about a reduction in increases. You still have 2,000 people every day, about, who are walking into a hospital for the first time or are being diagnosed with COVID for the first time, and 2,000 is still a lot of people. But the good news is it means we can control the virus, right? We can control the spread. And we did not know for sure that we can do that. We speculated that we could do it, but we didn't know. So now we know that we can control this disease," Cuomo said.

Cuomo said New York was sending 100 ventilators to New Jersey at the request of Gov. Phil Murphy.

The governor said there were 606 additional COVID-19 related deaths yesterday.

PHOTO GALLERY: A Look Inside NYC's Viral 'Warzone'

"The key to all of this recalibration rate is the infection rate," Cuomo said. "I need people to really understand this. Why don't you open tomorrow? Because we're afraid the infection rate will go up, and everything we've been doing is to slow the infection rate. Well, how do you track the infection rate? We don't. We don't track infection rates. We see hospitalization rates, which are different... we don't know how many people have been infected or are getting infected. We only know how many people walk into a hospital."

Cuomo said advanced testing is the only way to get to infection rate tracking.

"It is about the behavior of our people. It's that simple. It's our behavior. It's our level of discipline. It's how we educate our children. It's how considerate we are of others, what we're willing to do to safeguard the others' health in our community. That's what makes all the difference in what we're doing," Cuomo said.

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