Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a rebuff to Mayor Bill de Blasio, said during a press conference today that he wouldn’t close non-essential businesses in areas of Brooklyn and Queens with spiking COVID-19 infections. Bars and restaurants in those areas will remain open for now, though the governor said during questioning that “there could be,” an impact to those businesses soon.
“Compliance with bars and restaurants is markedly better than it has been,” Cuomo said of the hospitality industry in New York City. He said that closures would begin with schools in hotspot areas, with religious institutions and mass gatherings as being potential candidates for restrictions as well.
Cuomo said that non-essential businesses should close but added that “we need to have the right template designed before we can do that with full accuracy.”
In his own press conference later in the day, de Blasio said that his office was working with the governor’s office to come up with a plan for non-essential businesses. But, he doubled down on his desire to shut down non-essential businesses in parts of Brooklyn and Queens.
“We cannot afford to delay,” de Blasio during the press conference. “The data is telling us clearly that it is time to act.” Ultimately, it will be up to the state to make the final call, de Blasio said at the press conference, but added that he was confident that he expected the state to “act quickly” ahead of the planned shutdown on Wednesday.
De Blasio had publicly submitted a plan for Cuomo’s approval yesterday that would close non-essential businesses, including indoor and outdoor dining options, in parts of Far Rockaway, Borough Park, Midwood, Gravesend, Kew Gardens, and Sheepshead Bay.
Under that plan, indoor dining would have been suspended in additional 11 zip codes that had seen a lower spike in infections. The additional 11 zip codes include parts of Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Brighton Beach, Kensington, Rego Park, and Auburndale.
Cuomo said on Sunday the state would be taking over enforcement in hotspot regions. In a statement yesterday, Cuomo said that the state will be doing “aggressive enforcement,” of businesses, particularly restaurants and bars adding that “when the State initiated enforcement actions compliance greatly increased.” He added that the state “will close all business activity in the hot spots where the local governments cannot do compliance.”
This is a developing story and Eater has reached out to Cuomo and De Blasio’s offices for more details.