New York City Under State of Emergency

"New York City" by Spacing Magazine is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In a not too surprising move, Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed a state of emergency due to the extreme heat. In this executive order, owners of office buildings 100 feet or taller to set building thermostats to 78 degrees. The temperature limit is in place to conserve energy. Obviously, people with disabilities or health conditions got an exemption as did business with sensitive equipment. City government buildings are already adjusting thermostats to 78 degrees. The Order applies only to office space in applicable buildings, not residential space or ground floor uses, such as theaters, restaurants and retail.


“We are about to enter a heat emergency, and must do all we can to keep New Yorkers safe,” said Mayor de Blasio. “The City government is limiting its energy use to reduce strain on the electrical grid, and now private office buildings will also have to do their part.”


The Order is in effect from Friday, July 19, 2019 at 9 AM to Sunday, July 21, 2019 at 11:59 PM unless extended or revoked.

At a press conference today Mayor Blasio said, “I want to stress and I am saying this as a parent myself, never leave your children in a car in this kind of condition, even if you leave windows open, it still may not be safe. So do not leave your children unattended in a car during this heatwave. I know there are many, many New Yorkers who care deeply about their pets as well – same reality, do not leave your pets in a situation where they may be endangered in a car, simply leave the window open some is not enough.”

A copy of the executive order follows:



JULY 18, 2019


WHEREAS, extreme temperatures and humidity are being experienced in New York City which can contribute to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or other health risks to residents;

WHEREAS, the City has opened cooling centers in senior centers, community centers, public libraries, and other public facilities;

WHEREAS, the Mayor has directed City agencies to set municipal building thermostats to 78 degrees or higher;

WHEREAS, increased demand for electricity by residents and businesses to run air conditioners and other cooling devices can contribute to power disruptions, which can imperil public safety and health;

NOW THEREFORE, by the power vested in me as Mayor of the City of New York pursuant to law, including Executive Law § 24, I hereby proclaim a state of local emergency in the City of New York and order:

Section 1. I hereby direct all City agencies over which I exercise executive authority, including but not limited to the Department of Emergency Management, Police Department, Community Affairs Unit, Fire Department, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Human Resources Administration, Department for the Aging, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Department of Sanitation, Department of Transportation, Taxi and Limousine Commission, Department of Citywide Administrative Services, Department of Consumer Affairs and the Department of Small Business Services to take all appropriate and necessary steps to preserve public safety and to render all required and available assistance to protect the security, well-being and health of the residents of the City.

Section 2. I hereby direct all owners of office buildings 100 feet or taller in the City of New York to set building thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, subject to section 3.

Section 3.

a. Owners of office buildings 100 feet or taller may set thermostats to any temperature if necessary:

  1. to comply with statutory or regulatory requirements;
  2. to conduct operations in a safe manner;
  3. to provide an accommodation for individuals with disabilities or health conditions that are exacerbated by high temperatures;
  4. to protect equipment.

b. To the extent that an office building 100 feet or taller does not meet any of the exemptions set forth in subsection (a), the owner or occupant of such building may reach out to the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene at  or the Office of Emergency Management at to request an exemption. The owner or occupant may set the thermostat to any temperature until the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene or the Office of Emergency Management respond to the occupant’s request for an exemption.

Section 4. For purposes of this order, “office building” means a building in which the main use or dominant occupancy is offices. This order shall only apply to portions of such buildings classified as offices, and spaces that are accessory to offices including but not limited to cafeterias, bathrooms and hallways.

Section 5. In accordance with Executive Law § 24, any person who knowingly violates the provisions of this order shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

Section 6. This order shall take effect at 9:00 am on July 19, 2019 and shall remain in effect until 11:59 pm on July 21, 2019 unless extended or sooner revoked.