NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Gov. Andrew Cuomo believes mass gatherings are the priority right now to curb the recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases.

But, as CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Monday, there is also fear that restaurants and small businesses in cluster zip codes could face a second shutdown.

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A diner in Kew Gardens will have to go back to laying off its waiters if Mayor Bill de Blasio gets state approval to put a stop to outdoor dining, and indoor dining, which just started last week at 25% capacity.

“We were hoping the 25% is gonna be something for us that at least we could survive the winter,” diner manager Theo Mavros said.

A nearby barbershop owner said he’ll have to close for good.

“We took a big hit. Rent was still due. I had to go into my savings just to cover rent,” the owner said.


In contrast to the mayor, the governor said he may agree to close nonessential businesses and restaurants, possibly this week. However, he doesn’t think it’s fair to include every establishment inside a zip code.

His focus is on closing schools and mass gatherings, including at houses of worship.

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“We don’t go into a church and say, ‘You’re violating the 50% rule, close the church.’ We don’t do that,” Cuomo said. “I know. But you have to do it now.”

However, exclusive video and photos obtained by CBS2 show a packed audience in Brooklyn on Monday afternoon for a performance for kids celebrating the Sukkot holiday. Outside, Rozner saw masked and unmasked families filing into the building on New Utrecht Avenue in Borough Park.

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When asked if he is going to close down larger venues this week, Cuomo said, “Well, first of all, it shouldn’t be happening anyway, period. It violates the existing law. You have to enforce the law.”

When asked who should be enforcing large events, specifically the crowd in Brooklyn, Cuomo said, “The city of New York, NYPD, the New York City Department of Health.”

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One community activist claimed it was a religious event that was operating at less than 50% capacity.

“The police said, the 66th Precinct, the sergeant and the inspector said if you make it in a private property we will not bother you,” Heshy Tischler said.

The FDNY later showed up, but only told people to wear masks. The department did issue several summonses for fire code violations. Sources told CBS2’s Ali Bauman another performance was scheduled at the same location Tuesday, but City Hall was working to ensure that does not take place.

Meanwhile, the governor said he plans to meet with religious leaders in the hot spots on Tuesday.

Earlier Cuomo said the state will soon oversee enforcement and utilize city personnel to carry that out. But until then, small businesses could lose out, while large venues continue to cash in.

The city released the following statement on mass gatherings:

“Large indoor gatherings aren’t acceptable while we fight back this virus. We haven’t beaten COVID-19 yet — and as long as our neighbors and loved ones are still at risk, New Yorkers must act accordingly,” mayoral spokesperson Mitch Katz said.

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