Gov. Cuomo says changes to NY COVID-19 restrictions may come this week

Changes to the restrictions on New York’s coronavirus clusters could be announced later this week as the surge in cases continues to recede, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday.

“We’re going to watch the micro-cluster data,” Cuomo told reporters in his Midtown Manhattan office. “We can adjust what is in that cluster. We can make it a little bigger. We can make it a little smaller. We can relax some regulations. We can increase regulations. We’ll do that all based on the data.”

Cuomo said that any such alterations would be announced Wednesday, just over two weeks after he announced a color-coded system of restrictions — including closures of schools and non-essential businesses — to tamp down burgeoning outbreaks in Brooklyn and Queens, as well as pockets upstate.

The latest data from those zones shows that that effort appears to be working.

In the week of Sept. 27 through Oct. 3, the coronavirus positive rate in Brooklyn’s so-called “red zone” was 6.69 percent.

By Saturday, that figure had dropped to 4.92 percent.

Queens — which has two distinct outbreak zones — also saw a decline, from a 2.97-percent positivity rate during the earlier period to 1.89 percent on Saturday.

The Brooklyn and Queens zones, however, still have markedly higher positivity rates than the overall state figure of 1.08 percent.

“Because we’re so aggressive, every time we see the virus pop up we run and hit it down,” said Cuomo. “It’s like whack-a-mole.”

The decision earlier this month to reinstate coronavirus restrictions was met with fierce and sometimes violent protests, particularly in Brooklyn’s Hasidic enclaves, where some viewed the lockdowns as anti-Semitic.

But Cuomo insisted on Sunday that the return of restrictions was the way to go.

“This is not rocket science,” he said. “It’s a virus. When you reduce congregate activity, and people wear masks, and people social-distance and you enforce it, you stop the spread of the virus. That’s how it works. That’s how it’s always worked. You just have to do it.”

Meanwhile, the governor unveiled a plan to transition from the pandemic to the powder with winter on the way.

Starting Nov. 6, the state’s ski resorts will be allowed to reopen at 50-percent capacity, he said.

Other precautions will also be in place, including: A requirement to wear masks at all times except when eating, drinking or skiing; restrictions on gondola and lift usage to one party at a time; thorough cleanings and disinfections of all shared or rented equipment; and a potential reduction of capacity on the slopes to 25 percent on peak days or if there are trail closures.

Cuomo tried to entice out-of-state skiers to pump money into New York’s sagging economy by saying other perks make up for the restrictions.

“If you ski New York this year, not only do you have what I think is the best skiing in the United States of America … but there’s an added benefit,” he said. “If you ski in New York, not only do you have the best skiing in the United States, but you don’t have to quarantine when you come back.

“Go ski in one of these other states, then you have to quarantine for 14 days.”

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