Cuomo said Sunday he is signing an executive order directing companies to give cloth or surgical masks to all workers for use when they directly interact with the public.
“They should provide those masks cost-free,” Cuomo told reporters in Albany.
He was following an order issued by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
Both governors are Democrats.
Officials also said the state would be issuing masks for public sector employees.
“What we’re saying is, you’re an essential worker, you should be protected, you shouldn’t have to go out and put yourself in unnecessary danger, and continue the spread of the virus,” Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s secretary, said.
“We’re putting it on the employers. So if you’re a state employee and you’re an essential servant who is interacting with the public in some capacity, yes, it is up to the state to provide that mask.”
New York state has not issued an order requiring workers to wear masks, but New York City over the weekend said starting Monday all city workers who interact with the public will be required to wear a mask.
The city is providing masks to every worker who needs one and has already distributed 1.4 million face coverings, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters in Manhattan.
“We will provide as many more as are necessary for our city workers to consistently have a face covering on when they interact with the public, de Blasio said, adding that workers will be protecting others by wearing the masks.
Some other cities and counties are requiring workers and/or shoppers to wear masks, including Washington, Los Angeles, and Montgomery County, Maryland.
For months, public health officials said the only people who should wear coverings were sick people and healthcare workers, later adding other frontline workers before reversing the stance and saying all people should don coverings when leaving their home.
Studies showing evidence of asymptomatic or symptomatic transmission prompted the shift.
Officials have encouraged the general public to make their own masks, use scarves or other materials, or buy masks that others have made, reserving medical and surgical masks for frontline workers.