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Gov. Cuomo Gives Businesses Power To Turn Away Customers Without Face Masks As Polarizing Issue Creates Conflict

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave local businesses the power Thursday to deny entry to customers without masks, and the executive order comes as conflicts and even fights have broken out.

Todd Mendiola was riding the M42 on Tuesday when an argument erupted over face masks.

"He's screaming and yelling, 'Trump doesn't wear a mask, neither do I have to wear a mask,'" he said.

He said the bus driver asked a passenger to put a mask on, and that's when the man started making a scene.

"That's he got really agitated and just started yelling really loudly. 'It's my American right to not have to wear a mask. There's no law,'" Mendiola told CBS2's Christina Fan.


To wear or not wear has sparked a polarizing debate.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease specialist, said Wednesday that wearing a mask shows a sign of respect for anyone around you.

But as warmer weather brings people outside, believers and skeptics prepare to clash.

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"I do just try to keep my distance and stay away from those who don't wear masks," one man said.

"If you want to wear a mask, wear it. If you don't, you just don't. I think it's your personal preference," another man said.

The governor, concerned by the number of unmasked New Yorkers, brought in Brooklyn natives Chris Rock and Rosie Perez on Thursday to convince people to take CDC recommendations seriously.

Watch Gov. Cuomo's Daily Coronavirus Press Conference: May 28, 2020 --

He also signed an executive order, giving store owners the power to refuse customers who don't wear one.

"Everyone needs to get on board. Everyone, put your arrogance aside, put your ego aside and come together," Perez said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

In New Jersey, masks are already required inside essential businesses.

But Gov. Phil Murphy addressed another problem seen more frequently - mask drooping syndrome, where people leave their noses uncovered.

"You got to do the whole shooting match here. You got to make sure over the nose and it comes in under your chin," he said.

"It is really not about saving yourself," Mendiola said.

Those who wear masks agree they are doing it to save others.

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