Rockland County targeted in Cuomo's COVID 'Cluster Action' initiative

Rockland County's COVID-19 coronavirus infection rate has risen to 4.5%
MONSEY, Rockland County (WABC) -- With the Jewish holiday of Sukkot underway, scores of people visited temples in the Orthodox community of Monsey on Wednesday, but that's coming to an end, at least for 2 weeks.

New restrictions are coming in Rockland County where COVID-19 infection rates have risen exponentially. That rate is now 4.5%.

"It's critically important that we get this under control. The numbers are starting to grow exponentially. We don't need that right now," Rockland Co. Executive Ed Day said. "We've made great progress and great strides here."

Day announced that the Governor's Cluster restrictions will take effect at 12:01 AM, Friday, October 9, 2020.

"We are awaiting further details from the Governor's Office related to the New York State Police Task Force which will oversee enforcement of the restrictions in these zones," Day said. "We are in communication with our Towns and Villages and will share the pertinent information with residents as soon as it is made available by the Governor's Office."

There are over a thousand cases in two zip codes within the town of Ramapo that make up most of Rockland County's cases.

Non-essential businesses will have to close, schools will shut down and religious gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people.

There will a buffer zone around the communities of Monsey, Spring Valley, and New Square with lesser restrictions, but as in Brooklyn, members of the Hassidic community feel they are being unfairly singled out.

Click here to view the cluster maps if using the mobile app

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the "communities are upset" because they don't want to follow the rules.

"It's hard to enforce in these areas because they don't want to do it. So, it wasn't enforced and now we see the infection rate go up, and now we see more people go into hospitals from these communities. We see more people dying from these communities, so who was helped by not enforcing the rule?" he said.

The rules -- including shutting down some nonessential businesses -- will be in effect for 14 days when the state will then reevaluate.

RELATED | NYC schools' COVID shutdowns part of Cuomo's bigger plan

The rules are broken down into three colors: Red is the cluster center. Orange is the surrounding area -- a ring around the center. Yellow is a ring around the orange ring -- the precautionary area.

The clusters are drawn by actual case numbers, not by ZIP code or census tract. Crown Heights and Williamsburg were not listed as a red zone on the governor's new map, but the mayor says the city will keep an eye on the area to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Rules in the red area:

-Houses of worship - 25% capacity, 10 people maximum
-Mass gatherings prohibited
-Nonessential businesses closed
-Takeout dining only
-Schools closed

Rules in the orange area:

-Houses of worship - 33% capacity, 25 people maximum
-Mass gatherings - 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
-Businesses - Closing high risk nonessential business such as gyms and personal care
-Outdoor dining only with 4 person max per table
- Schools: remote learning only

Rules in the yellow area

-Houses of worship -50% capacity
-Mass gatherings - 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
-Businesses open
-Indoor and outdoor dining
-Schools - Mandatory weekly testing of students/teachers/staff for in-person classes. Testing will start next week.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new rules to help fight COVID clusters, including closing nonessential businesses in the main and surrounding areas of a hot spot.

The new zones were tweeted by Cuomo:

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It overwhelmed the health care industry, it put millions out of work, it drowned social services in an ocean of need and threatened the food supply Americans had long since taken for granted. At the apex of the crisis and for the weeks that followed, no part of life, or even what followed life, was spared.

RELATED: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut out-of-state travelers quarantine list


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