Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York on Wednesday said he would issue an executive order requiring people to wear face masks in public.
Speaking at his daily news briefing, Cuomo said the order, effective from Saturday, would cover situations where social distancing of around 2 metres were impossible.
The announcement came as the COVID-19 death toll in the United States exceeded 30,000 on Wednesday after doubling in a week.
The governor said 752 more people died of the disease in New York on Tuesday, bringing the state’s official death toll to over 11,500.
He, however, said the new death figure was down slightly from the previous day, but still high, while hospitalisation dropped in a sign the crisis was easing.
As of Wednesday, there were 213,700 confirmed cases in the state, which is the hardest hit in the country.
“If you are going to be in public and you cannot maintain social distancing then have a mask, and put that mask on,” Cuomo said.