Hundreds of public and private schools in nine zip codes in Brooklyn and Queens will shut down for at least two weeks Tuesday as the state tries to get a handle on coronavirus clusters in those neighborhoods, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
“I am not going to recommend or allow any New York City family to send their children to schools in those hot spot areas,” said Cuomo at a news conference.
The closures will occur one day ahead of what was proposed by Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday.
Cuomo also said he will not be going along with de Blasio's plan to shut down nonessential businesses in those nine zip codes.
But at a news conference later in the day, de Blasio suggested he's preparing to move forward with the shutdown of shops unless told otherwise.
"Until there is a different plan, we are preparing to implement this plan," de Blasio said.
"We obviously will follow state law," he added. "And if the state law does not authorize restrictions we're not going to act. But I find that very unlikely at this point."
These are the neighborhoods where schools will close after coronavirus positivity rates climbed higher than 3 percent for the last seven days:
- Far Rockaway/ Edgemere
- Borough Park
- Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay
- Kew Gardens
- Kew Gardens Hills
This neighborhood-specific rollback is part of the city’s efforts to fight a potential second wave of coronavirus in the city.
“It's tough to have to think about any rewind, any pause, even if it's just part of our city,” the mayor said. “But we have to do this now.”
De Blasio also announced Forest Hills has been added to the list of zip codes that have seen an uptick in cases but have not yet reached the 3 percent threshold that could trigger additional action by the city and state.
The rise in coronavirus cases has occurred largely in Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Queens, as well as Rockland and Orange counties.
The governor said for now religious institutions will be allowed to remain open, but that he's prepared to shut them down if they continue to hold large gatherings.
“If you do not agree to enforce the rules, then we’ll close institutions down," Cuomo warned.
Cuomo, who has been critical of how local governments have handled social distancing and mask rules, said the state will now handle enforcement in the trouble zones.
“Picture those hot spots as embers within the field of dried grass," Cuomo said. "That’s how I think of it. The only course is to run to those embers and stamp them out immediately and dramatically. That’s why I don’t sleep at night.”