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New York COVID Requirements for Vulnerable People

Statistics show that those who are over the age of 70, those who have compromised immune systems, and those with underlying medical conditions are significantly more likely to become seriously ill or die from COVID-19. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 8 of 10 COVID related deaths in the United States have been people aged 65 and older. As a result, in conjunction with issuing an Executor Order requiring New Yorkers to stay home, officially called New York State on PAUSE, on March 20, 2020, Governor Cuomo also signed an executive order with special rules for the elderly as well as other vulnerable populations. Matilda’s Law, named after the governor’s 88-year-old mot0her, provides additional, stricter social distancing guidelines for New Yorkers over the age of 70, who have underlying health conditions, or who are immunocompromised. The rules are as follows:

  • Stay at home. Stay home unless necessary to obtain supplies, medical care, or emergency services
  • Do not exercise in groups. If going outside to exercise, exercise alone and not in groups
  • Pre-screen visitors for symptoms. Pre-screen all visitors, including aides and home healthcare workers by taking temperatures and looking for flu-like symptoms
  • Do not visit groups of people. Do not visit households with multiple people
  • Wear a mask. Always wear a mask when in the company of others, and others should always wear a mask when in the company of vulnerable individuals
  • Social distancing. Practice social distancing by always staying at least six feet away from others
  • Do not take public transportation. Do not take public transportation unless urgent and absolutely necessary

Just like everyone else, to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19, vulnerable individuals must:

  • Wash hands. Wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, especially after being in a public place. If hand it is not possible to wash hands, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching face. Avoid touching mouth, nose, or eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing and throw tissue away in covered trashed container. Or, sneeze or cough into the inside of elbow.
  • Sick individuals. If sick, stay home and contact your healthcare provider.

Note that under the PAUSE order, children are required to stay away from vulnerable individuals. While children are not immune to COVID-19 and can get seriously ill from it, children who have COVID-19 are more likely than adults to be asymptomatic. Even when asymptomatic, children can still transmit the virus. It is important for them to avoid contact with those who are more likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19 such as the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and those with underlying medical conditions.

Note that the rules and regulations related to COVID-19 are fluid and may change at any time. Check back to this page for updates.

The text of the executor order known as Matilda’s Law can be found here

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