Coronavirus

New York new restrictions: curfew, meetings and home gatherings

With coronavirus cases across the US soaring once again, officials in New York have taken the decision to impose new restrictions in the city.

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New York new restrictions: curfew, meetings and home gatherings
BRENDAN MCDERMID REUTERS

New York City's daily case average has soared considerably since the start of November. Last week, it hit 600 for the first time since early June. By Wednesday, it was 817. Something must be done now, before it’s too late, say local government, though the numbers are nowhere near what they were in April, at the peak of the crisis, officials emphasise.

What are the new covid-19 restrictions in New York?

Announced yesterday and to begin on Friday, the restrictions in New York City focus on bars, restaurants and gyms, which will have to close on-premises services from 10pm nightly

Small social gatherings at private homes are the third "great spreader" identified by contract tracing, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. Also starting Friday, those will be capped at a maximum of 10 people, similar to the restriction Governor Ned Lamont recently put in place in Connecticut.

How will restrictions in NYC be enforced?

The New York Police Department is expected to aid in enforcing the new rules in the city, which are set to last indefinitely. After 10pm, Cuomo said “if the lights are on and people are drinking, they get a summons” adding, “If these measures aren't sufficient to slow the spread, we will turn the valve more and part of that would be reducing the number of people in indoor dining.” Current state-wide restrictions cap capacity for indoor dining at 50% but in NYC at 25%. "If that doesn't work, if numbers keep going crazy, there are some scientists who believe we should close down. I hope that doesn't happen."

California and several states across the Midwest have already tightened restrictions on Tuesday this week in a response to rapid rises in cases. The picture nationwide continues to worsen. Cases are rising in 49 states, and deaths are increasing in 39. The nation has now recorded 240,000 virus-related deaths and 10.3 million confirmed infections.

Last chance to curb spread of coronavirus in NYC

"This is our LAST chance to stop a second wave," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Wednesday, as he announced the city-wide seven-day average rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive had hit 2.52%.

The city's public school system, the nation's largest, would be shut to in-person learning if that figure reaches 3%. "We can do it, but we have to act NOW," de Blasio said.

As infections, hospitalizations and deaths surge across the United States, more signs emerged that a second wave could engulf areas of the Northeast, which had managed to bring the pandemic under control after being battered last spring.

The United States as a whole reported more than 1,450 deaths on Tuesday, the highest single-day count since mid-August, according to a Reuters analysis.

US covid-19 cases climbed for seven consecutive days to reach more than 136,000 as of late Tuesday, while hospitalisations passed 60,000 for the first time since the pandemic began, threatening to overwhelm systems in many parts of the country.

Staten Island and New Jersey to see even tougher restrictions

One area of Staten Island has been declared a “yellow micro-cluster zone” and restrictions on the island start today, including limiting outdoor gatherings to 25 people, and capping attendance at places of worship at 50 percent capacity, random weekly school testing along with other restrictions. 

It’s thought that Staten Island’s proximity to New Jersey may be behind its poor covid-19 statistics, as in Newark the positivity rate this week hit 19%, more than double the state's 7.74% seven-day average, Mayor Ras Baraka said in a statement on Tuesday. Baraka implemented aggressive measures, including a mandatory curfew for certain areas.