Hot spot restrictions lift in some parts of New York City

REGO PARK, Queens (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo announced changes to New York's coronavirus red zones Wednesday, allowing for some restaurants to begin offering indoor dining again on Thursday.

Cuomo said the positivity rate is dropping in some areas, enabling the state to lift some restrictions in certain areas.

In Brooklyn, the red zones remained, but there were movements within the orange zone.


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Lauren Glassberg reports on the adjustment of NYC COVID hot spots.



Red and orange zones were eliminated in Queens based on progress made over the last two weeks -- that area is now all yellow zone.




In Rockland and Orange counties, red zones and yellow zones remained the same.




Cuomo said color zones will be adjusted based on these metrics:
- Exit a red zone: Under 3% after 10 days (4% in less populated areas)
- Exit an orange zone: Under 2% after 10 days (3% in less populated areas)
- Exit a yellow zone: Under 1.5% after 10 days (2% in less populated areas)

Additional considerations the governor mentioned were:
- Are new hospitalizations trending downward?
- Are new cases coming from a new source?
- Has local government undertaken increased and effective compliance enforcement actions?
- Is the community cooperating?

The state confirmed that affected businesses in the zones can open Thursday, while schools are allowed to reopen on Monday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says outside of central Queens, there is still work to be done to lower the infection rate.

Throughout Brooklyn, the latest positivity rate in the COVID red zones is 3.45 percent.

But the red zones in central Queens are down to an average 2.17 percent.

The mayor said that area should serve as a model for the other red zone areas.

Overall citywide, the mayor says officials are seeing a leveling off, but they continue to encourage more testing and to warn against pandemic fatigue to get the city back to some type of normal.

Gov. Cuomo has said the state is working to make those areas facing restrictions smaller as we move forward..

"We will be listing changes to those micro-cluster / red zones, which will be a product of both an analysis of the data and a coordinated strategy with those communities to bring the number down," he said in a teleconference Tuesday.

Regarding schools, NYC Schools Press Secretary Miranda Barbot gave an update on testing.


School officials say families can opt into remote learning at any time. The window for fully-remote learning students to opt into the blended learning model will soon open and they will communicate more information to families shortly.

"We know that nothing can replace in-person instruction and the many supports, including social-emotional and health benefits, that students get in the classroom," NYC schools said. "Using the most current data from this survey, approximately 46% of students are returning to school buildings this fall. The share of remote learning requests by race has not shifted."

Schools closed in red zones that have turned back to yellow can reopen on Monday.

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