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New York Governor Declares Coronavirus State of Emergency, Triggering New Restrictions on Telemarketing

A scientist holds a vial labeled "COVID-19" in front of a microscope

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 10:06

On Saturday, March 7, New York governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency due to the spread of the coronavirus in the state. The primary purpose of this declaration is provide local governments quicker access to funding and resources to combat the spread of the virus. A somewhat unusual but significant side effect is that it triggers restrictions on sales calls thanks to the state’s new telemarketing bill.

Cuomo signed Senate Bill 4020 into law in December as part of a spate of telemarketing regulations, including The Nuisance Call Act. As explained on the governor’s website, it includes a provision that prohibits telemarketers from “knowingly making unsolicited sales calls to any individual in a city, county, town or village during a declared state of emergency.” Business-to-Business (B2B) calls are also prohibited by this law. The only exceptions are when callers have consent to contact the called party, when there is an Established Business Relationship (EBR), and political and survey calls.

The text of the declaration says that it will remain in effect until September 7, 2020. While it may be possible that the state of emergency is lifted before then, it is difficult to predict what will happen.