NYC To Shut Down Schools, Restaurants In Some Neighborhoods Where They Just Re-Opened

( Non-essential businesses and schools in certain neighborhoods of New York City are set to be shut down again as the result of breakouts in the coronavirus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, said on Sunday that nine neighborhoods are going to see restrictions placed upon them again because of the stark increase in positivity rates for the coronavirus there. De Blasio still needs approval from the state in order to go forward with his plan.

During a press briefing Sunday, de Blasio said these moves were necessary to “contain the situation” and “avoid a bigger second wave.”

There are nine ZIP codes in New York City that saw a positive testing rate above 3% over the last week. The neighborhoods affected include parts of Borough Park, Gravesend, Far Rockaway, Midwood, Kew Gardens and Sheepshead Bay. All these neighborhoods are in either Queens or Brooklyn.

In all, more than 500,000 people would be affected by the closures.

If the state approves de Blasio’s plan, the restrictions would go into place on Wednesday of this week. Among the restrictions would be the closing of all daycares as well as private and public schools. Restaurants would also have to go back to offering pick-up and to-go orders only.

While there’s no definitive end date to the restrictions as of yet, the mayor did say schools could be closed for anywhere from two to four weeks. There are approximately 200 private schools and 100 public schools that will be affected.

Despite an actual city-wide breakout, de Blasio said these restrictions are being put in place “out of an abundance of caution” so that activity in those neighborhoods is limited.

“You want to reduce the level of activity in the community,” de Blasio said. “That’s what worked in the past.”

He continued:

“This was not an easy choice to make, and let me be clear: We haven’t seen any issues in these schools. We must, however, be proactive about the safety and health of New Yorkers. This is out of an abundance of caution and in coordination with a larger strategy that mirrors what we did successfully in the spring of a larger shutdown to make sure we stopped the spread.”

There are an additional 11 areas in New York City that de Blasio said have a “growing problem” of coronavirus infection rates. Non-essential businesses and schools in those areas won’t be shut down as of yet. However, indoor dining in those areas will be curbed, the mayor said.

In the last four days, Brooklyn has had 1,100 positive coronavirus cases. Before de Blasio announced his plan, Governor Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat, said he’d be sending state police in to start “aggressive” enforcement in areas where there are high positivity rates.

He said:

“We are putting together a task force … and we will be doing targeted enforcement in each of these clusters. But it’s the same thing we did with bars and restaurants, which was very effective. It will be targeted enforcement. It will not be public education. We are past that point.”