• New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an executive order that will authorize businesses to require protective face coverings and allow them to refuse entry to those who won’t wear a mask. 
  • The order doesn’t require businesses to place such restrictions on their customers but allows them to do so if they choose to.
  • Scientists have demonstrated the positive benefits of wearing a face mask, showing that it is helpful in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

New York City has been one of the hardest-hit areas with regard to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The huge number of people, the widespread use of public transit, and the complicated nature of arranging for testing and treatment of such a massive population led to a rapidly-growing pool of patients.

Now that things are beginning to trend in the right direction, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to ensure the progress being made isn’t squandered. To that end, he announced today that he is signing an executive order that will give businesses the power to deny services to anyone who refuses to wear a protective face covering.

The Governor announced his intentions to sign the executive order during a news briefing. He also tweeted out the news at the same time, stating: “Today I am signing an Executive Order authorizing businesses to deny entry to those who do not wear masks or face-coverings. No mask – No entry.”

This doesn’t mean that people who refuse to wear face masks will universally be denied entry to all businesses and other establishments, but it does give business owners the right to deny them entry if they choose to do so. This freedom to choose to make the safety of customers a high priority is incredibly important in a city like NYC, as police have more important things to do than settle disputes between business owners and anti-maskers.

As you’d expect, the announcement sparked mixed reactions. Those who see mask-wearing as a necessary part of our current reality applauded the Governor’s decision. Others, including some who for some reason see wearing mandatory mask-wearing as an infringement on their rights rather than a measure to save lives, are incredibly displeased.

It’s sad and frightening that wearing a mask has for some reason become politicized. Healthcare professionals and scientists who have proven the benefits of wearing a protective mask aren’t conspiring against society; they’re trying to save lives and prevent the healthcare system from collapsing under the weight of too many sick people.

The virus doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat, Republican, or something else. It will infect you and, in some cases, kill you all the same. Let’s try to be a little bit smarter about how we approach this. If we don’t, we risk even more severe consequences than what we’ve already endured.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech. Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.