Last Updated on 4 months by News Admin
NY DAILY) – Amid confusion about the rules and a growing sense of crisis over COVID hot spots in Brooklyn and Queens, Mayor de Blasio said new restrictions will go into effect on the morning of October 8th.
Urging New Yorkers to be united as the city tries to prevent a dreaded second wave of the virus, Hizzoner described the new limits on group worship, nonessential businesses and other parts of life as a turning point.
“This is a very, very sensitive moment for the future of all New York City,” he said at a Wednesday press conference. “If we right now respect these new rules and quickly work together, we can overcome this problem in a matter of weeks, and then communities can go back to where we were just weeks ago.”
The new rules apply to 20 ZIP codes in Brooklyn and Queens, divided by Gov. Cuomo into “red zones” and “orange zones” based on the degree to which COVID has spiked.
But the Brooklyn “red zone” is centered on Brough Park, Midwood and Gravesend, surrounded by “orange” and “yellow” zones.
What do the Crayola codes mean?
In “red” areas, mass gatherings will be banned, houses of worship can host no more than 10 people at a time, non-essential businesses will be closed and restaurants can only provide takeout dining starting Thursday. The state already shut down in-person learning at both public and private schools, on Tuesday.
In “orange” areas, gatherings can include no more than 10 people, houses of worship can hold up to 25 people, “high-risk” businesses like gyms will be closed and restaurants will be limited to outdoor dining starting Thursday. In-person learning will end the same day.
In “yellow” areas, gatherings will be limited to 25 people, houses of worship will be limited to 50% capacity, all businesses can remain open and there are no restrictions on restaurants. Schools will stay open for now.
News of the new restrictions prompted outrage in predominantly Orthodox Jewish Borough Park on Tuesday night. Some 500 demonstrators assembled, some of them setting fire to face masks. A man was assaulted while recording events with his phone, according to police.
“There is a place for peaceful protest, but the NYPD will not tolerate people doing harm to others,” de Blasio said. “There will be no tolerance for assaults, for damage to property, for setting fires — anything like that is unacceptable.”
The new restrictions come after weaker measures including an informational push failed to curb the outbreak, which the city first reported last month.
Nine hot spots in Brooklyn and Queens had an average COVID infection rate of 6.26% as of Tuesday, according to the Health Department.
By comparison, when the city first warned of the COVID spike, it flagged a positive rate of 4.74% in three neighborhoods the Health Department dubbed “the Ocean Parkway Cluster.”
Along with the new rules, de Blasio announced steep fines.
People who hold large gatherings will be slapped with penalties of up to $15,000 per day, he said. Fines for failing to wear a face mask will be up to $1,000.
The city’s also boosting outreach, sending 1,200 personnel to hot spots to inform people of the new normal. An online tool to let people type in their address and find out which zone they’re in is also in the works, according to de Blasio.
He addressed two very different antagonists during his press conference.
“If you hear voices of division, if you hear coronavirus denialists … stand up to them,” he said. “We have to stay unified to overcome this challenge.”
Hizzoner was also asked for his thoughts on Cuomo, who at first belittled the mayor’s proposal to shut down activity in the hot spots, then released a plan that does much the same thing.
“At this moment in history … I wouldn’t urge anyone to want to be mayor of New York City,” de Blasio said. “It’s a very very, challenging moment.”