Cuomo lays out closure plan for COVID-19 hot spots

New "Cluster Action Initiative" is a three-tiered system which categorizes locations as either Red, Orange, or Yellow.

Ben Ariel ,

Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo
Reuters

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday introduced the “Cluster Action Initiative” which establish clear limits for areas in which there is a high rate of new infections of COVID-19.

The three-tiered system will see locations categorized as either Red, Orange, or Yellow, based on proximity to the cluster.

The Cluster Action Initiative applies to all of Brooklyn as well as cluster parts of Queens, Rockland, Orange, Nassau and Binghamton.

In red areas, houses of worship will be limited to 25% capacity and 10 people maximum. Mass gatherings will be prohibited, nonessential businesses will be closed, only takeout dining will be permitted, and schools will be closed.

In orange areas, houses of worship will be limited to 33% capacity and 25 people maximum. Mass gatherings will be limited to 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor, high risk nonessential business such as gyms and personal care will be closed, outdoor dining will only be permitted with 4 persons per table, and schools will be limited to remote learning.

In yellow areas, houses of worship will be permitted to operate at a capacity of 50%, mass gatherings will be limited to 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor, businesses will remain open, indoor and outdoor dining will be permitted, and schools will have mandatory weekly testing of students, teachers and staff for in-person classes. Testing will start next week.

Cuomo also announced that fines for mass gathering violations have increased to $15,000.

The measures come a day after Cuomo blamed large gatherings in the hasidic community for the spread of COVID-19, highlighting selichot prayers in Satmar-Kiryas Joel and event in Chabad-Crown Heights as examples of "social distancing violations".

Cuomo warned that if the Jewish community does not cooperate with the state on enforcing physical distancing, services at houses of worship will be prohibited and all gatherings will be subjected to "greater enforcement".

Last week, Cuomo signed an order requiring all visitors to New York State to enter a two-week period of isolation upon their arrival.

The order applies to virtually all countries around the world, with the exception of just 31 which are defined as not having a high rate of coronavirus infection (including New Zealand and Thailand, for example).



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