De Blasio called it a difficult day and announced the proposal on Sunday to get the peaks of the coronavirus under control in certain neighborhoods and stop the spread.
While still in need of state support, he has proposed closing all non-essential businesses and schools starting Wednesday for nine NYC zip codes, with positivity over 3% for seven consecutive days.
Earlier Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a state effort to improve enforcement of COVID regulations in 20 zip codes across the state. There was still no word from Cuomo about de Blasio̵
The closure includes both public and private schools and day care centers, as well as indoor and outdoor meals.
CONNECTION | 12 neighborhoods in NYC with COVID-19 positivity rates over 3%
Restaurants are again only allowed delivery and take-away services.
“The goal here is to prevent the spread. The goal here is to do everything possible to prevent something bigger from happening,” said de Blasio.
If approved, the proposal would spell what the mayor called a disappointing response after New Yorkers spent a summer with less spread of the virus and only recently celebrated the return of students to face-to-face study in classrooms.
Churches and places of worship are not yet part of the closure plan and will remain open with restrictions, said the mayor.
The New York Department of Health continues to track four cases of COVID-19 cases in South Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Central Queens and Far Rockaway. The mayor said the nine worrying neighborhoods had been over 3% positive for seven days.
The mayor estimates that well over half a million residents will be affected by the closings, as well as around 100 public schools and 200 private schools.
Areas of concern include:
– Edgemere / Far Rockaway – 11691
-Gravesend / Homecrest – 11223
– Midwood – 11230
– Borough Park – 11219
– Bensonhurst / Mapleton – 11204
– Gerritsen Beach / Homecrest / Sheepshead Bay – 11229
– Flatlands / Midwood – 11210
– Kew Gardens – 11415
– Kew Gardens Hills / Pomonok – 11367
The restrictions apply for either 14 days or 28 days, depending on how long the zip codes stay below 3% positivity.
This plan prevents an impending legal battle with the United Federation of Teachers, which has called for a plan to close the more than 80 public schools in these neighborhoods.
“We saw very little coronavirus activity in our schools … that’s not because we saw a lot of coronavirus activity in our schools, this is out of caution,” said de Blasio.
The teachers’ union issued a statement in support of the plan on Sunday afternoon:
“This is the right decision that will help protect our schools, our neighborhoods and ultimately our city,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.
Another 11 postcodes are also closely monitored and are a cause for concern.
“These 11 postcodes haven’t reached a positive 3% level for at least seven consecutive days, but they are approaching that level and we are concerned, so we will be doing all of these again in those areas.” , the original nine that I mentioned, and these eleven postcodes we will continuously reach on a large scale, “said de Blasio.
High-risk activities like gyms and outdoor pools will be closed in these 11 problem areas, but schools will remain open. The mayor said it was possible some of these 11 neighborhoods could be added to the list of closings, depending on responses from municipalities.
The 11 postcodes include:
Bedford-Stuyvesant (West) / Clinton Hill / Fort Greene – 11205
East Williamsburg / Williamsburg – 11211; 11249
Brighton Beach / Manhattan Beach / Sheepshead Bay – 11235
Bergen Beach / Flatlands / Marine Park / Mill Basin –11234
Crown Heights (East) – 11213
Kensington / Windsor Terrace – 11218
Rego Park – 11374
Fresh Meadows / Hillcrest –11366
Hillcrest / Jamaica Estates / Jamaica Hills – 11432
Auburndale / Fresh Meadows / Pomonok / Utopia – 11365
The mayor says the plan goes into effect on Wednesday because it needs government approval and the neighborhoods need time to prepare.
De Blasio said the city would have intensive talks with the Cuomo administration the next day.
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