Three days before marshals were permitted to begin executing evictions against New Yorkers, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced protections from evictions would be extended until January 1st to more tenants who were struggling before the pandemic. But who exactly it would help and if it would bring a halt on evictions permitted by courts guidance just a few days from now remain unclear.

"I want people to have fundamental stability in their lives," Cuomo said during a press call Monday morning. "As New York continues to fight the pandemic, we want to make sure New Yorkers who are still struggling financially will not be forced from their homes as a result of COVID."

According to a press release, the new executive order "extends the protections" of an existing law called the Tenant Safe Harbor Act to eviction warrants issued before the pandemic—which the courts system and Department of Social Services have estimated includes 14,000 households in NYC alone.

The details of how Cuomo's order will define such protections is unknown.

The language of the executive order wasn't immediately provided by the Governor's office, nor a timeline for when it would be made public.

The state courts system didn't have clear information either.

"We are speaking with the Governor's Counsel's Office to clarify all the points," said the spokesperson for the Office of Courts Administration, Lucian Chalfen.

Judith Goldiner, the attorney-in-charge of the civil law reform unit at the Legal Aid Societry, said in a statement: "The devil is in the details, and we have yet to see an executive order with any specifics."

The Tenant Safe Harbor Act, which the governor referenced, only applies to tenants facing eviction because they could not pay rent during COVID-19. Tenants facing holdover eviction cases, which could be brought against a tenant for alleged lease violations or if a landlord decides not to renew a tenant's lease, were not included in that law.

"I wouldn't call it a moratorium at all," Cea Weaver, the campaign coordinator for Housing Justice 4 All, said in a phone interview. "I think it's literally classic Cuomo press conference with absolutely no details and light on substance." Weaver and other housing advocates have for months called on Albany to pass a full-moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for residential and commercial tenants that would last one year after the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Legal Aid's Goldiner also noted the pandemic is all but sure to extend into 2021, as a second wave and a return to coronavirus restrictions looms over NYC. Meanwhile, Cuomo also announced positivity rates are rising in a cluster of zipcodes across Rockland County, Orange County, and Brooklyn. In Rockland county's zipcode 10977, 30 percent tested positive for COVID-19. Brooklyn's 11219, which covers Borough Park, had a 17 percent positivity rate, the governor said during a press call Monday afternoon.

"A true moratorium will protect all tenants regardless of circumstance and not include any exemptions that landlords could exploit to drag our clients to court on frivolous grounds," Goldiner added. "We eagerly await executive order language and hope that it truly provides the comprehensive relief that our clients deserve."

Eviction cases from before March 17th, a few days before Cuomo ordered New York to shut down in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, had already continued in court.

Before Monday's announcement, evictions were allowed to be executed beginning October 1st under courts' guidance. Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks has emphasized the courts system cannot change the laws, Law360 reported last month. "Frankly, the state can't rely on us indefinitely to address that very controversial issue," Marks previously said during testimony to state lawmakers.

The federal government rolled out eviction protections for tenants who sign a declaration they qualify under specific guidelines—but tenant attorneys have advised that renters shouldn't sign it without talking to an attorney. The courts system in NY said the federal government order could be something a judge considers in specific cases.