De Blasio Wants NYC To Shut Down COVID-19 Hot Spots Starting Wednesday

From New York Post

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday he wants the state to help shut down nine COVID-19 hot-spot neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens starting Wednesday — closing all of their non-essential businesses, public and private schools and indoor and outdoor restaurant dining.

Kids in the areas with the alarming coronavirus numbers could still attend school for the next two days before going all remote Wednesday, de Blasio said — while houses of worship will remain open.

“We’re having an extraordinary problem — something we haven’t seen since spring,’’ de Blasio told reporters on a conference call, referring to the uptick in the coronavirus in those areas.

About a half-million people would be affected by the return to the kind of drastic shut-down that the city hasn’t seen since mid-March.

The move would shut down in-classroom learning for 100 public schools and another 200 private schools, the mayor said.

Restaurants would still be allowed to offer take-out and pick-up orders.

Meanwhile, another 11 neighborhoods in the city are on a “watch list’’ over their COVID-19 numbers  — and would lose indoor dining and have their gyms and pools closed starting Wednesday morning under the city’s push.

The 11 zip codes could end up going into full lockdown, like the most worrisome nine zip codes, if their numbers don’t improve, the mayor warned.

He noted that such regional lockdowns “will require the support and approval of the state’’ and that city will be holding “intensive’’ talks with the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the next day over the issue.

“This can only happen with state approval,’’ the mayor said. “We’ll be working to get approval.”

A Cuomo rep, asked by The Post for a response to de Blasio’s push, repeated what the governor told reporters in his own conference call earlier in the day.

“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,” Cuomo said in the e-mailed response from his office.

“As we saw with bars and restaurants, when the State initiated enforcement actions compliance greatly increased,” the governor said.

Cuomo added in the statement that if “the localities do not do testing immediately in the schools in those areas, the State will close them immediately.’’

His office did not respond to questions about the extent of the testing the state is demanding, including who would have to undergo it and how often.

New York City currently mandates only random monthly testing of students, teachers and other building workers.

Blasio said he hopes to keep the neighborhood lockdowns to a “brief duration … two to four weeks.’’

The move was prompted by the fact that the nine zip codes showed virus infection rates at 3 percent or above for at least seven consecutive days, the mayor said.