Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York on Wednesday said he would issue an executive order requiring people to wear face masks in public.
He said at his daily news briefing that the order would be effective from Saturday.
It 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. He acknowledged it was still high.
There was however a silver lining.
Hospitalisation dropped, a sign that the virus 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.