On Sunday, with the fears of second wave growing, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an emergency crackdown, saying that he intended to impose new restrictions in 20 hot spots in Brooklyn and Queens that have been experiencing rising positivity rates.
The plan is a major setback for New York City, amounting to the first significant reversal in the reopening and offering further evidence of the challenges in curbing the pandemic. The city over the last month had taken several strides forward, allowing indoor dining for the first time and becoming the first major school district in the country to bring children back into its public schools.
But under the new restrictions, Mr. de Blasio would close all schools — public and private — in nine of the city’s 146 ZIP codes, as well as all nonessential businesses. Indoor and outdoor dining in restaurants in those areas will not be allowed.
Those areas all have had positivity rates in recent days of more than 3 percent — and some as high as 8 percent — in contrast to the city’s overall rate of about 1.5 percent. Public health officials have been worried that the uptick in cases would jump from Orthodox neighborhoods to others, leading to a resurgence of the virus across the city.
Areas in red show the zip codes with more restrictions.
If approved by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the plan would go into effect on Wednesday October 7, 2020.
Reaction to the restrictions began to emerge from Jewish leaders on Sunday evening, after celebrations of the Sukkot holiday ended.
“I think it’s unfortunate that New York City continues to single out a couple of Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods when there are now 20 neighborhoods with serious spikes,” said David Greenfield, who represented Borough Park on the City Council until 2017 and now runs an anti-poverty group.
He said the virus spikes appeared to be confined to the ZIP codes he was targeting. “There does not have to be a second wave,” Mr. de Blasio said. “The fact is that these communities are experiencing a problem.”
The nine ZIP codes subject to the most severe restrictions include portions of Far Rockaway and Kew Gardens in Queens, and Borough Park, Midwood, Gravesend, Bensonhurst and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. The restrictions would last for two to four weeks, if not longer, depending on the success of efforts to curb the virus, the mayor said.
The city is also closely watching the 11 additional ZIP codes, which Mr. de Blasio described as a “real concern.”
They include parts of Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Manhattan Beach, Bergen Beach, Kensington and Crown Heights in Brooklyn. The Queens neighborhoods include Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest and Jamaica Estates.
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