As coronavirus cases increase in New York City, the entire city could be designated an orange zone and face restrictions. At his Thursday press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned it’s “a week or two before we’re in the orange zone status.”
In orange zones, nonessential businesses that involve close contact, such as salons or exercise gyms, are closed. Houses of worship can be open for services at one-third capacity, with 25 people maximum. Restaurants can offer only outdoor dining, with four people per table.
“[For] business owners and everyone who loves those gyms and loves indoor dining, it’s just a matter of time,” said de Blasio. “It’s very likely to be in the next week or two, and I think you’re going to see that across the board, that there’s going to have to be a lot of tough choices to move us forward.”
New York City public schools closed on Wednesday, when the city health services saw the coronavirus positivity rate reach the threshold of 3%.
The mayor defended his decision to close the schools, and said that meals and devices for virtual classes would still be available to families and students in need. Programs in schools for children of essential workers will continue.
“That’s on a priority basis, starting with essential workers and families in greatest need, but that will be available to help a lot of families,” de Blasio said.
When asked by a Hamodia reporter, he did not say if families with children with disabilities would be prioritized and if special education programs would be available in-person.
Private schools are currently open, and if the city would be labeled an orange zone, the schools would be able to remain open as long as they keep a strict system of cleaning the building and testing students and staff.
Updated Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 2:39 pm .
Updated Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 3:46 pm .