The move is part of his “blueprint” in reopening the state which will resolve how essential a business is. People who do not abide by the executive order will receive civil violations.
The new measure is in practice in any public space where social distancing is not possible – including shops and public transport.
It comes as 11,571 new cases of coronavirus were recorded on Tuesday bringing New York’s total to 213,779.
Deaths went up by 752 on Tuesday bringing the state’s total to 11,586.
The number does not include some 3,000 additional deaths that officers could not certify as coronavirus-related as medics could not test them but were suspected to have the virus.
Gov Cuomo did not specify which businesses will be considered more essential, nor did he provide a time frame for his reopening plan.
He said: “We have a blueprint for the reopening as guided by testing, tracing but there are two factors; how essential is the business service or product or function, the more essential a business service or product, the more urgent the need to immediately get them back on line.
“Second, what is the risk of infection spread of that business.
“Some can say, ‘I can open tomorrow in my business, I’ll have all sorts of precautions. People will not be less than 6ft apart, there will be no congregation, I won’t do conferences or meetings, I can bring them back put them at separated desks’ businesses can start to redesign their work place to start to think that way.
“That’s the second factor.”
He added: “The lower risk of infection risk and higher nature of essential services are the businesses you would start prioritising.
“That’s how we will inform our economic reopening, as we’re being guided by the testing tracing, and as we’re making sure we’re not jeopardising the success we’ve made in handling the public health issue.
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“That’s the whole outline from here until 18 months – building that bridge to the new normal for the economy until we get to a conclusion,
“It’s going to be a phased reopening.
“The priority is to make sure you do no harm and keep your eye on the public health issue.
“The single best tool to doing this is large scale testing. Test, trace and isolate.”
It is unknown whether employees will have to undergo tests before returning to work.
The new executive order about the compulsory use of face masks will not come into effect for another three days, so people have enough time to buy them although there is a shortage of medical masks in the city.
Gov Cuomo said: “Your right to go out for a walk in the park? Fine.
“Don’t infect me. You don’t have a right to infect me.
“If you’re going to be in a situation in public where you may come into contact with other people and a situation, that is not socially distanced, you must have a mask or a cloth covering nose and mouth.
“That is by executive order.”
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