Governor Cuomo's Latest COVID-19 Executive Order

On April 7, 2020, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.14. 

This blog post highlights the key provisions of the order.

Continued Suspension and Modification of Laws Made by Executive Order 202 and Each Successor Executive Order to 202

Executive Order 202.14 extends all prior Executive Orders that have not already been extended to May 7, 2020.  All prior Executive Orders can be found on Governor Cuomo's official website.

Continued Closure of Schools and Non-essential Businesses

Executive Order 202.14 also extends the closure of schools and non-essential businesses through April 29, 2020.  Essential businesses may continue to work on location but only to the extent that employees cannot perform their services remotely. All businesses and not-for-profits must continue to maximize any telecommuting or work-from-home procedures that they can safely utilize.

Reallocation of Medical Equipment

The order provides that any medical equipment (personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, respirators, bi-pap, anesthesia, or other necessary equipment or supplies as determined by the Commissioner of Health) that is held in inventory by any entity in the state, or otherwise located in the state, must be reported to New York State's Department of Health ("DOH").  The DOH may transfer any medical equipment not currently needed or needed in the short term future by a health care facility to a facility in urgent need of such inventory for purposes of ensuring New York hospitals, facilities, and health care workers have the resources necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The DOH will either return the inventory as soon as no longer urgently needed or compensate the business or individual.

Enforcement of Executive Orders

The order also adds an enforcement mechanism for all Executive Orders that is in addition to all other enforcement mechanisms set forth in prior Executive Orders.  Executive Order 202.14 provides that a violation of any of the Executive Orders is punishable as a violation of Public Health Law § 12-b(2), which imposes punishments of imprisonment up to one year and/or fines of up to $2,000.

Fines for Violations of Social Distancing Restrictions

Executive Order 202.14 also establishes fines of up to $1,000 for individuals who violate social distancing restrictions or participate in gatherings.

Extension for Payment of Health Insurance Premiums

The order directs the New York State Department of Financial Services ("DFS") to extend the period for payment of health insurance premiums to the later of the expiration of the applicable contractual grace period or 11:59 p.m. on June 1, 2020.  In response to this order, the DFS has issued a new emergency regulation requiring health plans to defer the payment of insurance premiums due under individual and small group commercial health insurance plans through June 1, 2020 for consumers and businesses experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Electronic Witnessing

The order also enables the electronic witnessing of wills; health care proxies; disposition of remains; recording instruments effecting real property; statutory gifts rider to a statutory short form power of attorney; and execution, amendment, and revocation of trusts.  Electronic witnessing is permitted if the following conditions are met:

  • The person requesting that their signature be witnessed, if not personally known to the witness(es), must present valid photo ID to the witness(es) during the video conference, not merely transmit it prior to or after;
  • The video conference must allow for direct interaction between the person and the witness(es), and the supervising attorney, if applicable (i.e., it cannot be pre-recorded);
  • The witnesses must receive a legible copy of the signature page(s), which may be transmitted via fax or electronic means, on the same date that the pages are signed by the person;
  • The witness(es) may sign the transmitted copy of the signature page(s) and transmit the same back to the person; and
  • The witness(es) may repeat the witnessing of the original signature page(s) as of the date of execution, provided the witness(es) receive such original signature pages together with the electronically witnessed copies within 30 days after the date of execution.

For more information about how the directives in Executive Order 202.14 may affect you, please contact CCB Law.