State to Shut Down Businesses, Schools If Testing & Compliance Isn’t Enforced
Schools and businesses may shut down again if testing and compliance isn't enforced. Governor Andrew Cuomo warned officials after seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases around the state.
"Local governments have not done an effective job of enforcement. The State will be doing aggressive enforcement starting tomorrow," Governor Cuomo said during his daily briefing Sunday, October 4th. "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."
Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland and Orange Counties saw an increase of 4.8% in COVID-19 cases, while the rest of the state had a 0.91 percent positivity rate. Cuomo says in addition to compliance enforcement, testing in school needs to begin in those hot spots or face being shut down.
"I'm concerned about the lack of testing in the schools," said Governor Cuomo. "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."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to 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. The plan, which will begin on Wednesday, October 7th, also includes closing down high-risk activities in 11 additional New York City zip codes of concern.
Schools and non-essential businesses should be allowed to reopen after two weeks if rates are under 3%. If cases continue to rise, all would 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 during a Sunday press conference. “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.”
Personnel will be deployed to directly enforce state guidance within the hot spots. Local businesses that violate the law can be subject to fines and closures.
There were 14 deaths due to COVID-19 in New York State Saturday, October 3rd, bringing the total to 25,519.