Gov. Cuomo says another NY shutdown possible, reveals when that may happen

Coronavirus update for NY
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Is a close-down possible in January in New York state? Governor Andrew Cuomo says yes.

"First of all, anything is possible," Cuomo said. "Second of all, look at the increases nationally, of course it is possible. You already see other states closing down. Big states closing down. Why are they closing down and we are not? Their numbers are higher than our numbers."

Cuomo, however, says there's a "big but."

"But no one knows because it is up to us," he said. "What will happen in three weeks? What will happen in four weeks? You tell me what you are going to do what you are going to over the next three or four weeks, and I will tell you what is going to happen. We know there has been an increase over the past weeks, but that doesn't determine what happens going forward. It depends on what you do and that is where we are. New Yorkers can stop a shutdown. New Yorkers can save lives. It depends on what we do. New Yorkers are good at doing."

Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested "right after Christmas" would be the best time to shutdown non essential business in New York City, which appears all but inevitable as coronavirus hospitalization rates continue to rise along with continued warnings from him and Cuomo.

"I don't say it with anything but sorrow, but I do think it's needed," he said. "We are going to need to some kind of shutdown in the weeks ahead, something that resembles the pause we were in in the spring...If we implement that, my nomination would be right after Christmas. If we implement that, with some good luck and hard work and with the vaccine starting to help us, we could be out of that in a matter of weeks."

Still, the mayor said his preference would be to keep schools open.

"I want to keep them open," he said. "If we do have a pause, that will be a decision the state makes."

On Monday, Cuomo warned that if the state's coronavirus positivity doesn't change, a shutdown could be necessary for the city and the state within a month.

"If we don't change the trajectory, we head back to a shutdown, and that is something to worry about," he said.

He also mentioned criticism he's getting for shutting down indoor dining in New York City and said actually, businesses should be happy.

"You should be happy, because if we don't change the trajectory, we're going to go to shut down, and then your business is going to close," Cuomo said. "That, my friends, is a real problem. Worry about that, because that is a real worry. Deaths are a worry and the shutdown of the economy are the real worries, and they are viable worries."

On Tuesday, hundreds of restaurant owners and food service workers marched to Cuomo's Midtown offices pleading for help.

Jeffrey Garcia is the president of the New York State Latino Restaurant Bar and Lounge Association.

"I think the governor in the beginning did an amazing job of, you know, getting things under control," he said. "But you know what? At the end of the day, we are not the reason. 1.4% is not the reason to close the whole industry down."

Critics say the governor has gone too far in suspending indoor dining in the five boroughs for at least two weeks amid a disturbing rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations -- infections that are largely the result of modest but reckless indoor gatherings. Fewer than 2% of New York's infections can be linked directly to bars and restaurants.

"He needs to find a way to stop those indoor gatherings and clandestine parties and not close us down," Garcia said.

Demonstrators demanded that indoor dining be reopened at a minimum of 25% capacity, along with grants and loans so they can survive.

"It breaks my heart that all these families is not going to have money to buy Christmas gifts for their kids," restaurant owner Susana Osorio said. "And all of the employees that I have, they have kids."

In order to stop the number of COVID-19 cases from growing and to manage it, the governor cited the hospitals' "Surge and Flex" program along with reducing elective surgeries in affected areas. He also begged people to stop having holiday gatherings and said, "living room spread" is responsible for 74% of cases.

The governor and mayor made their comments as the first New Yorkers and people around the country began receiving the Pfizer COVID vaccine, offering a glimmer of hope and optimism.

ALSO READ | Legendary Midtown restaurant closes due to the pandemic

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