Gov Cuomo forces non-essential businesses to close, bans religious gatherings of more than 10 people and stops all dining in nine NYC neighborhoods where COVID-19 rates are surging
- Governor Andrew Cuomo imposed strict new restrictions on nine New York City neighborhoods and other hotspot regions across the state on Tuesday
- Non-essential businesses have to close, religious gatherings of more than 10 people are now banned and restaurants can only offer take out in those areas
- Mass gatherings in those neighborhoods are also now banned
- It comes a day after he ruled that hundreds of schools in those nine neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens had to close
- The new rules, which will be in place for at least two weeks, will go into affect as early as Wednesday but no later than Friday
- Cuomo said some restrictions will also be imposed on surrounding neighborhoods to act as what he described as a buffer
- It was not immediately clear what surrounding neighborhoods outside the hotspot areas would face additional restrictions
Governor Andrew Cuomo has introduced strict new restrictions that force non-essential businesses to close, bans religious gatherings of more than 10 people and stops all dining in nine New York City neighborhoods where COVID-19 rates are surging.
Set to take effect no later than Friday, the new rules will be imposed in parts of Brooklyn and Queens, as well as other areas across the state, where officials have been anxiously watching clusters of virus cases sprout up.
In addition to the ban on large religious gatherings and closure of non-essential businesses, restaurants will also be forced to go back to offering takeout only – just one week after they were cleared to begin welcoming diners back indoors.
Mass gatherings in those neighborhoods are also now banned.
Cuomo said some restrictions will also be imposed on surrounding neighborhoods to act as what he described as a buffer, saying the severity of shutdowns would vary by proximity to the hotspots.
It was not immediately clear what surrounding neighborhoods outside the hotspot areas would face additional restrictions.
Cuomo made the announcement on Tuesday just one day after he ruled that hundreds of schools in nine neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens had to close.
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Governor Andrew Cuomo has imposed strict new restrictions on nine New York City neighborhoods where COVID-19 rates are surging that includes shutting down non-essential businesses and banning religious gatherings of more than 10 people
The tough new restrictions (above in red) will currently apply to nine neighborhoods in Brookyn and Queens where COVID rates are surging. Restrictions will also be imposed on some surrounding neighborhoods (above in orange) to act as what he described as a buffer
The new rules, which will be in place for at least two weeks, will go into affect as early as Wednesday but no later than Friday.
In the hearts of the hot spots – color-coded as red zones – schools would close to in-person learning, only essential businesses could remain open, houses of worship would be limited to no more than 10 people, and restaurants could offer only take-out and delivery.
Those areas would be surrounded by orange-coded zones where schools also would be remote-only, and ‘high-risk’ non-essential enterprises – such as gyms and personal-care businesses – would be closed. Religious institutions would be restricted to 25 people, and restaurants would be allowed limited outdoor dining.
A wider ‘yellow’ caution zone would have schools and businesses open, and restrictions would be lighter than in other zones.
The governor said the state would be consulting with local governments to draw the maps.
Most of the neighborhoods targeted by the restrictions are home to part of the city’s large Orthodox Jewish community.
‘A mass gathering causes infections, infections cause a cluster, a cluster causes community spread,’ Cuomo said. ‘That is the national evolution of things unless we intervene and we stop the cycle.’
There are currently about 20 areas statewide that are on Cuomo’s hotspot list. Nine of those are in New York City’s Brooklyn and Queens boroughs.
Other counties across the state that will be affected by the new restrictions include Rockland, Broome and Orange counties.
In New York City, the nine ZIP codes singled out for restrictions have been responsible for more than 20 percent of all new infections in the city over the past four weeks despite representing only 7 percent of the population.
The citywide positive infection rate is now at 1.9 percent. Rates in those nine hotspot zip codes is as high as eight percent in some neighborhoods.
Cuomo’s announcement came just hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was ready to shut down non-essential businesses in the nine zip codes.
De Blasio had put forward the plan to Cuomo to shutter non-essential business but needed state approval.
The governor and mayor have repeatedly squabbled over government responses to the spread of COVID-19.
POSITIVE TEST RATE: The citywide positive infection rate is now at 1.9 percent. Rates in those nine hotspot zip codes is as high as eight percent in some neighborhoods
The statewide positivity rate is currently at 1.2 percent. The positivity rate in 20 hotspot zip codes across the state, including the nine NYC areas, is now at 5.5 percent
Cuomo ordered the closing of schools in nine Brooklyn and Queens zip codes on Monday.
He held off a decision on de Blasio’s proposal to close nonessential businesses in those areas until Tuesday, suggesting that the boundaries needed to be drawn differently to be effective.
Earlier on Tuesday de Blasio pressed for a quick answer, saying the city was ready to close the enterprises Wednesday but needed the state’s approval.
‘We are at a crucial moment in our fight against the coronavirus,’ de Blasio said during his press briefing.
‘We have to bring everything we can to bear. We have to be tough about it.’
In Rockland County, where virus cases in some areas have sparked concern, County Executive Ed Day said he backed the governor’s plan and would do what he could to help implement it.
‘The restrictions he announced are measured and clearly focused on the areas where this disease is spreading,’ said Day, a Republican, urging residents to embrace their ‘civic duty to do what is right, not only for ourselves but for our entire community.’
North of the city, the health commissioner in Orange County ordered school closures for at least two weeks in an Orthodox Jewish community in the Hudson Valley.
Dr Irina Gelman ordered the closure of public and private schools serving the village of Kiryas Joel, also known as the Town of Palm Tree, where an average of nearly 28 percent of coronavirus cases have come back positive over the last three days.
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