New York City plans to close schools, restaurants and non-essential businesses in nine neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens where cases of coronavirus have been on the rise for two weeks, an unprecedented throwback after months of extremely cautious deconfinement.
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“I propose to close all schools and non-essential businesses in nine neighborhoods on Wednesday, October 7,” Democratic Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, said Sunday at a press briefing. He stressed that he was waiting for the approval of State Governor Andrew Cuomo to confirm this decision.
If the measure is approved, it will be the first time that the first American metropolis – become a model of caution and control of the epidemic after being hit hard by the pandemic in the spring, with a record number of 24,000 dead – is forced to go back on its deconfinement.
“New Yorkers have worked hard to bring COVID-19 under control, and we are not making this proposal lightly,” the mayor said. “But in this city, science guides our decisions, and we do what the facts tell us to do,” added the elected Democrat, in an implicit criticism of the Trump administration and of the Republicans accused of having took the virus lightly.
Of the nine neighborhoods concerned, six are in Brooklyn, particularly in areas where the Orthodox Jewish community is strongly represented, and three are in Queens, including a neighborhood very close to John F. Kennedy Airport.
These nine neighborhoods have in common that they have seen their positivity rate remain above 3% over the last seven days, despite multiple interventions by the health services to ensure compliance with wearing a mask, barrier gestures and get people to get tested.
In six of those nine neighborhoods, the positivity rate is currently over 5.6% and is even skyrocketing to 8.3% in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, where health officials were bullied 10 years ago. days by an Orthodox Jewish activist denouncing the wearing of a mask.
Eleven other neighborhoods, mostly around the nine most at risk, are also under surveillance, said the mayor.
This partial reconfinement project comes as after weeks of controversy, New York has just partially reopened its public schools, on a model alternating face-to-face and online teaching, and reopening its dining rooms at 25% capacity. .