“No”. That was simply and instantly the New York Governor’s response when asked by a NY Post reporter whether he’d like to issue an apology to the Orthodox communities for imposing heavy restrictions on the city dwellers.
Deciding not to follow the footsteps of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who on Tuesday, met several leaders from the Jewish Community and apologized to them for being harsh and singling them out, Governor Andrew Cuomo refrained from offering an apology.
At an Albany press briefing on Wednesday, a NY Post reporter asked Cuomo directly if he’d be willing to apologize to the Orthodox Communities in NYC over the recent COVID-19 hot-spot lockdowns. To this, the Governor blatantly responded with a ‘No’.
He went on to add, “I am sorry that they feel the disruption, I am sorry that they are disrupted, their religious ceremonies are disrupted, how many people they can have in a synagogue is disrupted, how many people they can have at a wedding is disrupted, the operation of their schools is disrupted. I am sorry for that.”
Immediately drawing parallels to other religious communities, Cuomo added, “In the same way I’m sorry to the Catholic community and Muslim community and to all New Yorkers. I’m sorry that we are going through this. I’m sorry that people are dying. I’m sorry the state has to impose disruptions on your life. I’m sorry that we had to close your businesses which may mean you lose your business.”
An apology that was sought in the context of the renewed restrictions and lockdowns that were imposed due to an uptick in cases across numerous areas that are predominantly Jewish, Cuomo had recently faced severe flak for his handling of the situation. In response to the barrage of restrictions and the notion that the city was trying to single out the orthodox community, several pockets of Brooklyn saw anti-lockdown protests two weeks ago.
While Mayor Bill de Blasio offered an apology citing miscommunication on his part, Cuomo refused to do so, saying, “Do I believe we couldn’t communicate the rules of social distancing and mask-wearing more than we communicated them? I suppose it’s always possible, but I think I have communicated more with the people of the state of New York than any governor in the history of the state of New York.”