New York Orders Restaurants, Bars, Gyms Closed at 10 P.M.
(Bloomberg) -- New York bars and restaurants with state liquor licenses must close at 10 p.m. along with gyms, and indoor gatherings must be limited to 10 people, to help stop a resurgence of the coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
“If these measures are not sufficient to stem the spread, we will turn the valve more,” Cuomo said Wednesday during a call with reporters. The rules, which begin Friday, came as cases jumped to the highest since April.
Cuomo, a Democrat who wrote a book of leadership lessons from his virus response, said he is hoping to avoid a full lockdown. The state has seen a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks with kids returning to school and colder weather keeping more people indoors. Bars, restaurants, gyms and small parties are big contributors. “If you look at where the cases are coming from, you see they’re coming from three main areas and we’re going to act on those three areas,” the governor said.
Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, said the restrictions should be backed up by contact tracing data. “They will make it even more difficult for these small businesses to survive,” he said. “We demand that our elected leaders provide financial support to our city’s restaurants and bars before they permanently shutter and put tens of thousands of New Yorkers out of work.”
On Wednesday, New York reported 4,820 additional virus cases and 21 deaths. At the beginning of September it was reporting between 700 and 800 daily cases and less than 10 daily fatalities. The rate of positive tests has climbed to 2.9%, from less than 1%. The state has 1,628 people hospitalized for Covid, twice as many as a month ago.
The state’s elevated infection rates are especially pronounced in areas adjacent to New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, where outbreaks are more severe than in New York, the governor said. He decided to impose the 10 p.m. restriction to avoid traffic from New Jersey, where Governor Phil Murphy has ordered a similar limit, Cuomo said.
“Scientists predicted a national and global surge, and New York is a ship on the Covid tide,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo called upon New York City’s police department to enforce the 10 p.m. closures and other restrictions, saying the state didn’t have enough resources to ensure enforcement.
“The rules are only as good as individual discipline and local enforcement,” he said.
As for the restrictions’ economic consequences, Cuomo said: “It’s been hard on everyone and it’s been hardest on those families who have lost a loved one. Losing money hurts, but losing a loved one lasts forever.”
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