New York Gov. Cuomo Tells Reopen Protestors 'You Have No Right to Jeopardize My Health'

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo slammed those gathering to protest coronavirus lockdown measures without masks, telling them they "have no right" to put others at risk.

Several anti-lockdown protests have taken place across New York state, the worst-hit by the pandemic, in recent days, including in Albany, Buffalo and Suffolk County on Long Island.

On Friday, protesters gathered at "MAGA May Day" rallies in New York City and other cities nationwide clamoring for an end to lockdown measures and stay-at-home orders.

Cuomo was asked about protests in his state at his coronavirus briefing in Corona, a neighborhood in the Queens borough of New York City, on Saturday, during which he said the state's death toll was still "obnoxiously and terrifyingly high."

He said he understood people's frustration with the measures, but said he disagreed with those who want the economy to reopen despite the public health risk.

Protestors during a rally organized by the anti COVID-19 lockdown group American Revolution 2.0 on May 1, 2020 outside the New York State Capital in Albany, New York. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

"I understand people's frustration with the economy not being open. I get it. I want to see the economy open, for myself, for my family," he said. "I'm not going to put dollar signs over human lives. I'm not going to do that. Not for my family and not for yours. But I understand their point of view, and I understand the First Amendment. You have an argument, you're going to make your argument, God bless America."

Cuomo then lashed out at those who were gathering at rallies without a mask covering their faces, calling them "reckless" and "irresponsible."

"You don't have a right to jeopardize my health. You want to jeopardize your health, God bless you. You have no right to jeopardize my health," he said.

"The mask is not about your health. The mask is about my health, and my children's health and your children's health and that's why you have to wear a mask. It's not about your life, it's about other people's lives."

Cuomo, who issued an executive order last month requiring all New Yorkers to wear masks or face coverings in public, said he wouldn't tolerate protesters putting people's lives at risk.

He said local police forces have been asked to enforce the mask order and state police would be offered help if they need it.

While some states have started the process of reopening, New York state will remain on "pause" until May 15 at least.

Cuomo revealed on Saturday that the results of the state's completed antibody testing study showed 12.3 percent of the population have COVID-19 antibodies. He said he would use the data to determine the actions to take, "not emotions, not politics, not what people think or feel."

New York has more than 318,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and more than 24,000 deaths, according to a tally maintained by The New York Times.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.