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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday he will sign an executive order authorizing private businesses to deny people entry if they are not wearing a mask or face covering.

Why it matters: Wearing face masks has become a political symbol for some Americans, despite public health officials urging people to do so to prevent community spread.

What he's saying:

"I have been working to communicate this message about masks and how effective they are. They are deceptively effective. They are amazingly effective. And we've made them mandatory in public settings, public transportation, et cetera."
"But when we talk about reopening stores and places of business, we're giving the store owners the right to say if you're not wearing a mask, you can't come in. That store owner has a right to protect themselves. That store owner has a right to protect the other patrons in that store. You don't want to wear a mask, fine, but you don't have a right to then go into that store if that store owner doesn't want you to."

Separately, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has made wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places such as transportation and retail stores, effective Friday.

Go deeper

Sep 4, 2020 - Health

"Mask up": Governors urge caution ahead of Labor Day weekend

Beach-goers in San Clemente, California on Sept. 2 ahead of Labor Day weekend. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Democratic and Republican governors on Friday urged residents to adhere to basic coronavirus mitigation strategies, like washing hands and wearing a mask, during the Labor Day weekend.

Why it matters: 18 states saw rising coronavirus caseloads over the last week, including seven where daily infections were up by more than 50%, per a weekly Axios tracker.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Americans shrug off Omicron, Axios-Ipsos poll finds — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise."
  2. Vaccines: Omicron gives a shot to boosters — U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down.
  3. States: Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers.
  4. World: EU drug regulator backs mixing COVID vaccines — Poor global equity likely in COVID pill access — CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."