Neighborhoods across New York City face another shutdown due to high coronavirus infection rates: mayor

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday that he will move to shut down different parts of the city in response to spikes in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

Nine ZIP code areas throughout the New York City boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn should plan to see the closure of non-essential businesses, schools, and restaurant dining, de Blasio said during a press briefing

"Today, unfortunately, is not a day for celebration," de Blasio began. "In some parts of our city, in Brooklyn and Queens, we're having an extraordinary problem — something we haven't seen since spring,'' de Blasio said, referring to the increasing number of coronavirus cases in those areas.

"And we have to address this issue forthrightly," he said. "What has become clear is that there are a number of neighborhoods now that have continued to have a high level of coronavirus positivity and it requires stronger action than we've had to take for many months." 

These nine ZIP codes have had a coronavirus infection rate hovering at 3% or higher for at least seven consecutive days, according to de Blasio.

The plan to combat the infection rate in these neighborhoods is to "rewind" opening procedures, he said, beginning this coming Wednesday. 

"On top of that, out of an abundance of caution, we will be moving to close schools as well. And by that I mean, starting Wednesday morning, public and non-public schools," the mayor said. Kids in those areas will be able to go to school for the next two days until the shutdown is approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office.

"This can only happen with state approval,'' the mayor said. "We'll be working to get approval.

The "rewind" operation could last anywhere between two and four weeks, he added.

In a statement, Cuomo said that "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 continued. "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."

Cuomo in August said that the state's success in containing the virus meant that most schools would be able to reopen in the fall, a move that some critics characterized as ambitious

Previously a coronavirus hotspot, New York state has seen over 33,000 people die from the disease since March, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

Nationwide, the coronavirus has infected more than 7.4 million people, according to JHU data. Of that figure, more than 209,000 people have died from it. 

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