New Rochelle resident says ‘containment zone’ does not live up to its name

A man wears a face mask as he walks in front of Young Israel orthodox synagogue in New Rochelle, New York, U.S., March 10, 2020. (REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

Phil Silver lives in the heart of the containment zone in New Rochelle, the Westchester County city where coronavirus has established itself in the highest cluster in the United States.

But while Governor Andrew Cuomo has adopted a “scary” word to describe the amount of state control in mile zone surrounding the Jewish temple that was the epicenter of the spread, Silver says life has changed little in the one-mile radius from there — apart from shopping farther away from their house and a granddaughter with cystic fibrosis being homeschooled.

“Containment is a bad word at this time, and added in that the National Guard is being mobilized at this time is a very, very scary concept,” Silver told amNewYork Metro. “It really at this point is not [frightening].”

According to Silver, the trips out of the house have been fewer in recent days. While the National Guard is said to be delivering food to residents in the area, he has not much reason to go out to eat — but he also refuses to hide from the world.

“We’re going to the store and buying food when we need it… but I’ll go a little farther out,” Silver said. “I’m not going to the movies or eating at the food court in the mall.”

Though “outward conditions” are not obvious, Silver says he has seen that some businesses are closed on a neighborhood Facebook page, but these closures do not seem to be on a mandatory basis.

However, there has been a warning against large gatherings.

For Silver, however, the major fear in the family is keeping his six-year-old granddaughter Brianna safe in light of her condition with cystic fibrosis, which can puts her respiratory system at risk.

“With diligence, we have been able to keep her healthy with some minor illnesses… but for her to get something like the coronavirus would be devastating,” Silver said.

Silver has worries for the working class members of his community if schools are closed, claiming it would be economically devastating to them.

Travel in and out of the containment zone has not been regulated at the government and even the New Rochelle station on the Metro-North Railroad remains in service, according to MTA Chair Pat Foye.

“New Rochelle’s Metro-North Station will continue to be open it is getting special intention,” Foye said on WCBS 880 Tuesday night. “It too is disinfected daily. But we’ve also posted a Metro-North employee there who’s dealing with keeping the station clean. The New Rochelle and Crestwood stations, both of which service the New Rochelle community are outside the containment zone.”

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