After NYC Mayor de Blasio hinting at a possible crackdown on Hasidic neighborhoods if cases keep growing, the Health Department on Thursday has said they will shut non-essential businesses and limit gatherings in the city’s coronavirus hotspots if cases continue to rise in the areas.
As cases are on the rise at nine “cluster” sites in New York, largely due to the festivities of Rosh Hashanah, leading up to Yom Kippur, the department has threatened to shut down non-essential businesses across southern Brooklyn and Williamsburg — as well as Kew Gardens and Edgemere-Far Rockaway in Queens.
According to a press release, authorities are set to ramp-up inspections and random-check in the areas, authorities will be ensuring citizens’ compliance towards wearing masks and adhering to social distancing norms. According to The Post, the measures could be put into place as early as Tuesday, especially if cases continue to rise.
The department said, “If the indicators continue to rise, there must be additional enforcement actions. For the first time in the city’s recovery period, there could be the immediate scaling back of activities in these ZIP codes if progress is not made by Monday evening. Mask compliance has been “overwhelmingly low” in the hotspots across both boroughs.”
After discerning the situation, the city will consider banning all gatherings of more than 10 people; issuing fines to those refusing to wear a mask when offered; closing private schools and care centers; and shutting down non-essential businesses. These measures will in turn make it particularly cumbersome for Jewish communities to celebrate one of the most important religious observances of the year. The hotspot, known as the “Ocean Parkway cluster,” includes Midwood, Borough Park and Bensonhurst, areas that are predominantly occupied by Orthodox families that are hoping for an unhindered celebration.
For the time being, and until any further decisions have been made, the city will be rolling out mobile testing sites to the impacted neighborhoods as Health Department workers patrol the areas to distribute face coverings, hand sanitizer, and coronavirus literature.