The new rule, which took effect at 8 p.m. Friday night, would be striking anywhere, but more so in New York City, where teeming crowds and if-I-can-make-it-there chutzpah are baked into the national imagination.
“This is just the next step,” said a retired corrections officer, Stanley Woo, 63, sitting down to play chess in a park in Forest Hills, Queens, with his old friends and his new mask.
“Nobody likes it, but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do,” said Amanda Neville, 43, inside her wine store, Tipsy, in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo offered some encouraging signs on that effort at his daily briefing on Friday: the three-day average number of hospitalized virus patients, considered one of the most reliable measures of the fight against the virus, dropped for the third straight day, by its biggest margin yet — almost 3 percent.
Still, the number of virus patients newly admitted to hospitals had remained high, at nearly 2,000 per day, and the governor announced 630 new deaths in the state.
Mr. Cuomo said the state’s economy could not fully reopen without more widespread testing, which would require both supplies and an operational capacity that the health system does not currently have.