Mayor de Blasio Announces Measures for Combatting COVID-19 Uptick

Mayor Bill de Blasio visits the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island on September 15th, 2020. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

At his daily press conference on Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned several Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods have seen an uptick in coronavirus cases, and announced measures to halt the virus’s spread.

The spike has occurred in Kew Gardens, Edgemere-Far Rockaway, Williamsburg, Midwood, Borough Park and Mapleton, which the mayor described as the Ocean Parkway Cluster. These cases make up 20% of all COVID cases in the city. Many of these neighborhoods have large Jewish populations.

Mayor de Blasio urged residents to be vigilant, wear masks, social distance, and avoid large indoor gatherings. The city will hand out thousands of masks and bottles of sanitizer, speak with community leaders, and sending out robocalls and sound trucks in English and Yiddish.

“This is something that can be addressed. We have the tools and the measures,” the mayor said. “We need a lot of cooperation from all the neighborhoods involved, but I want to be very clear. This is something that requires urgent action.”

Mitchell Katz, President and CEO of the NYC Health and Hospitals Corp. passionately shared that his father in law had recently passed away in Israel from COVID, and his family had a very limited funeral because of the lockdown in effect in Israel at this time. In his remarks, he pleaded with the residents of these neighborhoods to follow safety guidelines.

“I spoke to my mother-in-law this morning. She can’t even be with her own other son because of the lockdown,” he said. “We don’t want that. We want people to wear masks. We want them to stay apart, to not have any large gatherings because we don’t want to, again, have to close down businesses. We don’t want to have to have more restrictions.”

Mayor De Blasio expressed his condolences to Mr. Katz and his family, and thanked him for explaining “why we need to get this right and why we need to protect everyone.”

Updated Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 8:05 pm .