CDC guidance indicates that community transmission of COVID-19 can occur when people are asymptomatic. Therefore, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
Effective April 15, 2020, employees will be required to wear face masks when they are in direct contact with customers/members of the public and requires employers, at their expense, to provide face masks to all employees. Enforcement of this order can be done by local government or local law enforcement under Public Health Law section 12 or 12-b.
Effective April 17, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order requiring any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance, including on public transportation.
For an evaluation of the most effective style of masks, see this study.