New York state designated parts of Staten Island a “yellow zone” on Wednesday with corresponding restrictions scheduled to take effect on Friday, Nov. 13, in order to combat the recent surge in COVID cases across the borough.
New York City officials warned that COVID-19 cases were surging in two Staten Island zip codes last week with the positivity rate in Tottenville reaching 6.5%. Now, most of the borough’s neighborhoods have a positivity rate above 3%, according to the city’s COVID-19 tracker.
Currently, zip codes 10307 and 10308 have the highest number of new cases with positivity rates of 5.3% and 5.44% respectively. ” We are seeing is what they predicted for months,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday. “We are seeing a national and global surge.”
Under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s zoned shutdown plan, yellow zone restrictions including capping the size of public gatherings at 25 people, limiting the number of people at a restaurant table to four and requiring schools to implement weekly COVID testing of 20% of all students and staff.
There will also be additional restrictions. Along with the rest of New York, state-licensed bars and restaurants will have to close at 10 p.m. as well as gyms. Restaurants can still offer food for pick-up after 10 pm but no indoor dining will be allowed. Private gatherings larger than 10 people are also banned.
NYPD officers will issue summons to bars or restaurant owners caught breaking the new closing time rule which Cuomo argued would not raise already strained tensions between the public and police after the summer’s George Floyd protests in which the NYPD routinely shoved, beat, threw and arrested peaceful protesters without provocation.
“There’s no doubt we have a lot of work to do to restore trust and faith and respect from the community to the police and the police in the community, but there’s also no doubt that we need the NYPD to provide public safety,” Cuomo told reporters. “We have regulations and rules. This is not a contentious activity.”
Governor Cuomo linked the widespread surge in cases on Staten Island to the borough’s large number of daily commuters to New Jersey which is seeing a major surge in the virus. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said Tuesday that the number of new COVID cases in the state jumped by nearly 4,000, the largest increase in almost seven months.