Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday announced that he would seek to close non-essential businesses and all schools, both public and private, in nine ZIP codes in South Brooklyn and Central Queens where coronavirus cases have surged for weeks, as health officials scramble to avert a broader outbreak.
“In Brooklyn and Queens we are having an extraordinary problem, something we haven’t seen since the spring,” de Blasio said soberly during an impromptu afternoon press conference. “We have to address this issue forthrightly,” he added.
The mayor said the measure, which marks the first significant rollback in the city’s reopening, would be subject to approval from the state. He said city officials would be conferring with their state counterparts on Monday. If approved, the closures in these nine ZIP codes would begin on Wednesday.
The Associated Press reports:
The action, if approved, would mark a disheartening retreat for a city that enjoyed a summer with less spread of the virus than in most other parts of the country, and had only recently celebrated the return of students citywide to in-person learning in classrooms.
Over the past two weeks, though, the number of new cases of the virus has been rising in pockets of the city, especially in neighborhoods that are home to the city’s large Orthodox Jewish population. “We can stop this from being a second wave,” de Blasio said.
In a major reversal, NYC Mayor De Blasio is closing nonessential businesses and public and private schools in nine neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens. Many of them have large populations of Orthodox Jews and Covid-19 has been spiking in those areas. https://t.co/6bVcvJBjDK
— Tim O’Brien (@TimOBrien) October 4, 2020
BREAKING: NYC shutting down ALL non-essential business and schools effective 10/7 in 9 hotspot zip codes in Brooklyn and Queens with #COVID19 cases above 3% for 7 days
Changes are all contingent upon state approval #nbc4ny pic.twitter.com/W2xW5U7qxU
— Steven Bognar (@Bogs4NY) October 4, 2020