Local governments need to do a better job enforcing mask wearing among New Yorkers, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said, as COVID-19 cases rise in some areas of the state.
Overall, New York's COVID-19 infection rate is just above a 1% positive rate based on the results of 97,000 tests in the last 24 hours in the state. But there are "clusters" in parts of the state, including Brooklyn and Rockland and Orange counties where COVID-19 cases have sharply increased in recent days.
"The local governments must do compliance," Cuomo said. "It is a state law and the localities must enforce it."
Offering resident’s masks and conducting public outreach aren't going far enough on the local government, Cuomo said, who urged more aggressive efforts.
"They're not doing it with enough diligence," Cuomo said. "It's not up to them to say we're not going to enforce the mask ordinance. It's too late in the game."
The state in recent months has sought to crack down on businesses, mostly bars, that have not taken steps to adhere to social distancing and mask wearing rules. Cuomo said he would use state police officers to enforce mask wearing if local governments do not, but that may not go far enough.
"I don't have the numbers to do statewide enforcement," he said. "We're passed public education. We've been doing this since February. It's not about public education."