March 21 (UPI) — The governors of Connecticut, Illinois, and New York joined California on Friday in ordering all non-essential workers to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed at least 227 people in the United States.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said all the non-essential workers should refrain from leaving home unless faced with an emergency. He said public transportation, however, will stay open.
“This is not life as usual,” Cuomo said. “This is the most drastic measure we can take.”
The governor also stressed that his orders will be enforced starting Sunday.
“These are not helpful hints,” he said. “I am not kidding about this. These provisions will be enforced. Your actions can affect my health.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Illinois’ stay-at-home order will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday and last through April 7. He said residents can visit grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies, and talk walks outdoors.
He said he asked medical experts, epidemiologists, mathematicians and modelers what he can do to save the most lives in the state.
“Well, they’ve come back to me with one inescapable conclusion: To avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives, we must enact an immediate stay-at-home order for the state of Illinois,” he said during a news conference.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said he also plans to order all non-essential workers to stay home starting at 8 p.m.
“Look, it’s tough medicine,” he told reporters Friday. “I think it’s the right medicine.”
Lamont said that anyone who breaks his order could be fined.
Also, in a joint statement Friday, Cuomo, Lamont, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, said all barbershops, hair and nail salons, tattoo or piercing parlors, hair removal services and other personal care services will close Saturday night.
On Thursday, the governors ordered indoor portions of retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys in the four states to close and limited crowd gatherings to 50 people.
“Social distancing is paramount to our broader strategy,” Murphy said. “While we understand the challenge these restrictions pose to our region’s small businesses, we are actively working with the federal government to ensure that financial relief is made available to our business owners and workforce as quickly as possible.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered the first statewide restriction that required residents to remain at home. The only exceptions are for residents traveling to gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks and laundromats.