Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed all New Yorkers to wear a face mask when in public.

The New York Times reports that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Wednesday that he would start requiring people in New York to wear masks or face coverings in public whenever social distancing was not possible, imposing a stricter measure to control the spread of the coronavirus. The new requirements are bound to make face coverings an inescapable and perhaps jarring sight in New York City for the foreseeable future.

The order will take effect on Friday and will apply to people who cannot keep six feet away from others in public settings, such as on a bus or subway, a crowded sidewalk or inside a grocery store.

“Stopping the spread is everything,” Mr. Cuomo said during his daily briefing in Albany. “How can you not wear a mask when you’re going to come close to a person?” He said the state would consider issuing civil penalties to people who failed to abide by the order, but not criminal penalties: “You’re not going to go to jail for not wearing a mask,” he said.

Globally, confirmed cases of the coronavirus have passed 2.03 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. accounts for about a third of those, with more than 619,000 infections, and neared 28,000 recorded deaths.