(WABC) — Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested “right after Christmas” would be the best time to shutdown non essential business in New York City, which appears all but inevitable as coronavirus hospitalization rates continue to rise along with continued warnings from him and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“I don’t say it with anything but sorrow, but I do think it’s needed,” he said. “We are going to need to some kind of shutdown in the weeks ahead, something that resembles the pause we were in in the spring…If we implement that, my nomination would be right after Christmas. If we implement that, with some good luck and hard work and with the vaccine starting to help us, we could be out of that in a matter of weeks.”
Still, the mayor said his preference would be to keep schools open.
“I want to keep them open,” he said. “If we do have a pause, that will be a decision the state makes.”
On Monday, Cuomo warned that if the state’s coronavirus positivity doesn’t change, a shutdown could be necessary for the city and the state within a month.
“If we don’t change the trajectory, we head back to a shutdown, and that is something to worry about,” he said.
He also mentioned criticism he’s getting for shutting down indoor dining in New York City and said actually, businesses should be happy.
“You should be happy, because if we don’t change the trajectory, we’re going to go to shut down, and then your business is going to close,” Cuomo said. “That, my friends, is a real problem. Worry about that, because that is a real worry. Deaths are a worry and the shutdown of the economy are the real worries, and they are viable worries.”
In order to stop the number of COVID-19 cases from growing and to manage it, the governor cited the hospitals’ “Surge and Flex” program along with reducing elective surgeries in affected areas. He also begged people to stop having holiday gatherings and said, “living room spread” is responsible for 74% of cases.
The governor and mayor made their comments as the first New Yorkers and people around the country began receiving the Pfizer COVID vaccine, offering a glimmer of hope and optimism.