High COVID-19 Positivity Rate Prompts NYC Mayor to Propose Closure of Schools, Businesses in 9 Zip Codes

New York – Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday sent a proposal to the New York State government to temporarily close non-essential businesses, including public and private schools, in nine New York City zip codes where COVID-19 rates have remained over 3% for the past seven days. This plan, which will begin on Wednesday, October 7, also includes closing down high-risk activities in 11 additional New York City zip codes of concern.

If successful, those schools and non-essential businesses would be allowed to reopen after two weeks if rates are under 3%. If difficulties remain and cases continue to rise, all should remain closed for four weeks.

“New Yorkers have worked hard to fight back COVID-19, and we don’t make this recommendation lightly. But science guides our decision-making in this city – and we go where the facts take us,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “Once again, it’s time for our city to dig deep and fight this virus the best way we know how: by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and looking after our seniors and most vulnerable neighbors.”

The nine zip codes affected have 14-day positivity rates from 3.81% to 8.31%]

Also on Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will deploy personnel to directly enforce state guidance within 20 COVID-19 hot spot ZIP codes in the state.

“Local governments have not done an effective job of enforcement in these hot spot ZIP codes. The State will be doing aggressive enforcement starting tomorrow,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we saw with bars and restaurants, when the State initiated enforcement actions compliance greatly increased. However, the State cannot take over effective enforcement for every jurisdiction and if a local jurisdiction cannot or will not perform effective enforcement of violating entities, notify the State and we will close all business activity in the hot spots where the local governments cannot do compliance.

“I’m concerned about the lack of testing in the schools,” Governor Cuomo continued. “If the localities do not do testing immediately in the schools in those areas, the State will close them immediately. We all want schools to reopen IF they can reopen safely. I have assured the parents of this State that I would not send my child to a school that I didn’t know was safe. Without testing we can’t assure parents and teachers of the safety of that school.”

As of Sunday, Orange County had a 17.3% COVID-19 positivity rate, but the 7-day rate was 18.4% and 3-day rate was 21.2%. On October 2, the positivity rate for that county was 27.6%. Rockland County had the second highest 7-day positivity rate (12.8%).

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