NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With coronavirus pandemic rage soaring in New York and all the surrounding states, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday ordered new restrictions, including on indoor dining, and threatened an even stronger measures if that doesn’t work.
Call it the first step to try and stop a second wave of COVID-19 infection — a pullback that could lead to more stringent measures.
The statewide COVID positivity rate is 2.93%. On Tuesday, 21 people died.
“If the national numbers are going up and the states around you are going up, be prepared,” Cuomo said.
Starting Friday, all bars and restaurants will be forced to close at 10 p.m. Restaurants can still do takeout and delivery overnight but without alcohol.
Gyms also must close at 10 p.m.
Watch Marcia Kramer’s report —
Private gatherings inside homes are limited to 10 people or fewer, unless they are a household. Cuomo says this restriction brings New York in line with neighboring states, including Connecticut.
“If you do the contact tracing, you’ll see they’re coming from three main areas, and we’re going to act on those three areas,” Cuomo said.
Staten Island has been labeled a micro-cluster — a yellow zone.
“Staten Islanders spend a lot of time going back and forth to New Jersey, and New Jersey has a very high rate, and I think that’s part of what’s driving the high rate in Staten Island,” Cuomo said.
The village of Port Chester in Westchester County has been upgraded from a yellow to an orange zone.
NEW ACTIONS from @NYGovCuomo in NY:
➡️ Any establishment w an SLA license including Bars & restaurants: close at 10pm statewide
➡️Gyms: close at 10pm
➡️private residents gatherings limited to TEN people.
— Melissa DeRosa (@melissadderosa) November 11, 2020
And Cuomo told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer that’s not all.
“If the numbers keep going up, would you consider drawing back and reducing the number of people who can eat indoors in the suburbs around the city?” Kramer asked.
“If the measures are not sufficient to slow the spread, we will turn the valve more and part of that would be reducing the number of people in indoor dining,” Cuomo answered.
The governor also demanded that localities step up enforcement and zeroed in on the need for the NYPD to take an active role.
A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio told Kramer the city was hoping to come up with a team of people to handle the enforcement.
The latest NYC COVID-19 numbers for Veterans Day.
A second wave is knocking at the door. pic.twitter.com/4Vbuvf17Fs
— Bill Neidhardt (@BNeidhardt) November 11, 2020
The mayor’s press secretary tweeted, “City Hall has been in discussions with the state on these guidelines and fully supports these actions.”
But there was immediate push-back.
Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli, a Republican, tweeted, “I’ll be having more than 10 people at my house on Thanksgiving. My address is public record. Some family will come from (gasp!) NJ.”
The councilman told CBS2’s Ali Bauman, “The governor won’t affect our Thanksgiving plans. We’re gonna be about 12 people as of yesterday, we’ll be about 12 people as of tomorrow.”
His attitude is a stark contrast to Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo.
“As tired and fatigued as Staten Islanders are by this COVID experience, we all have to dig a little deeper and control what we can control, and that’s our behavior,” he said.
With the borough’s infection rate averaging above 2.5%, Staten Island Catholic schools are switching fully remote effective immediately.
But in New York City and the suburbs, the question is how to enforce the restrictions on bars and restaurants. Cuomo said it’s simple: if it’s after 10 p.m. and you see a light on inside, issue a summons.
Craig Kafton says it has not been easy to own a restaurant in New York City.
“It’s been challenging, to say the least,” he told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.
He got word about the new restrictions as work was underway on his outdoor dining area at Citroen in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
“It takes an hour to break down, so that means we’d have to literally stop service at nine to get out to have the place shut by ten,” Kafton said.
Watch Andrea Grymes’ report —
“We’ve constantly adapted. That’s how we’ve managed to survive, but I don’t know where we will be in a month,” said Jason Clark, operating partner of Hold Fast in Hell’s Kitchen.
Clark says his restaurant may not be able to hold on much longer with the new round of restrictions.
“Where are these people going to go if they want to hang out or enjoy time with their friends? Not somewhere as controlled as here. They’re going to their apartment, and nobody is taking their temperature at the door there, I promise you,” Clark said.
Some applaud the move.
“I think it’s good. I think we need to do whatever we can to get through this disease,” Greenpoint resident Howard Begun said.
Many others disagree, especially online.
One person tweeted at the governor, “My house, I paid for it, I pay taxes on it, I pay your salary, I will not be told who I can have in my own home!!”
“There’s really no reason why this is necessary right now, so honestly, it just doesn’t make sense,” another Greenpoint resident said.
The city’s infection rate in a seven-day average is roughly 2.5%.
If that average reaches 3%, de Blasio said public schools could be forced to go all-remote.
Upstate, Syracuse University is suspending in-person instruction, and the University of Connecticut is locking down its dorms after seeing the largest number of new COVID cases in one day.
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