NEW YORK - Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced new restrictions for parts of Staten Island and Upper Manhattan as coronavirus cases in those areas continue to increase.
During his daily press briefing, Cuomo said parts of Staten Island will be blanketed with orange zone restrictions, while Washington Heights will become a yellow zone, the first time a part of Manhattan will see additional restrictions since the micro-cluster strategy began earlier in the fall. Other parts of Staten Island remain in a yellow zone.
He went on to say Staten Island is "a problem" and that the state will be setting up an emergency facility in the South Beach section to aid in the treatment of coronavirus patients due to a hospital capacity issue.
"The number of hospitalizations in Staten Island have gone over the last three weeks - they basically tripled: 33 to 91," Cuomo said."
In orange zones, houses of worship are capped at 33% with a max number of 25 people, mass gatherings cannot exceed 10 persons, high-risk, nonessential businesses must close, indoor dining is suspended, but outdoor dining can continue with only with four-people per table, and schools must go fully remote with a “test out” procedure to reopen.
The schools point remains moot as in-person learning has been suspended in the city since last week after the city's data showed the rolling infection rate in the five boroughs hitting 3%. The mayor has not said when school buildings will reopen.
Cuomo said he is extremely concerned about the rise in numbers in the city and other parts of the state, noting that it is the result of a "toxic cocktail of dynamics and facts".
He noted the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and December get-together season is the greatest threat to sending cases numbers soaring even higher.
"If the actions change, the rates will change," Cuomo added.
The governor said New Yorkers need to avoid being lax and giving in to what he says is coronavirus fatigue. He also said news of pending coronavirus vaccines are creating a false mindset that the battle is over.
Cuomo said he belives it will be at least six months before the vaccine reaches "critical mass" levels.