New York City is seeing the largest spike in positive coronavirus cases since July, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not taking the situation lightly. The New York governor threatened to fine the city and other municipalities over failure to enforce state coronavirus restrictions Friday, as outbreaks of the virus continue to worsen in Brooklyn and Queens.
The $10,000 a day fine that Cuomo is threatening to levy against City Hall is comparatively small, but it provides yet another example of the governor’s mounting frustration with Mayor de Blasio’s management of the crisis or lack thereof.
“These hotspot ZIP codes, the numbers are continuing to go up in many of these zip codes,” Cuomo told reporters via a telephone press briefing, according to the New York Post.
“That means by definition compliance is not where it needs to be,” he added. “That’s how the virus spreads, they need to enforce the law.”
With the growing case numbers, health officials are tracking four large outbreaks, specifically the two large clusters in Brooklyn.
Despite Cuomo’s growing rage, de Blasio seemed rather nonchalant about the severity of the city’s case numbers, arguing that the outbreak is still largely contained to 11 zip codes.
“The city of New York, right now, outside of those 11 neighborhoods – 1.08 percent [positive test rate],” de Blasio said on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show. “Just exactly where we have been and very, very favorable; the kind of low-level positivity that any place else in the country would want.”
De Blasio continued to say that city agencies would firm up on the enforcement of social distancing protocols in the specific cluster neighborhoods.
“In these neighborhoods, we’re doing more and more intense enforcement,” the mayor said. “I don’t want to see a shutdown in these neighborhoods, but we’ve been very clear now for many days and community leaders heard it and they know it that that is a live possibility if we don’t see a turn around in these numbers soon.”
Many of the positive case numbers in Brooklyn and Queens are focused in neighborhoods with large Orthodox Jewish populations where officials have struggled to conduct outreach and enforcement during the pandemic, according to the New York Post.
As case numbers continue to rise in the Big Apple, Cuomo and de Blasio will continue to butt heads until a consensus is reached.
And if de Blasio wants to avoid reaching into his pockets to pay the fine, he’d better enforce the promised changes, quickly.
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