“Cuomo said religious leaders would have to agree to follow existing rules and become ‘a full partner in the enforcement of the rules.'”
“We’ll close the institutions down”
Oct 5, 2020
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Monday the state could move to shut down religious institutions that do not agree to comply with restrictions on mass gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cuomo said state officials would take over enforcement of mandates such as building capacity limits, wearing masks and social distancing from local authorities amid a spike in coronavirus cases throughout several neighborhoods.
While the governor did not unveil any new restrictions on religious gatherings, he warned that community leaders would have to agree to certain conditions in order to keep venues open.
Cuomo said at the press conference:
“We know religious institutions have been a problem. We know mass gatherings are a super-spreader event. We know there have been mass gatherings going on in concert with religious institutions in these communities for weeks. I don’t mean little violations – you’re only supposed to have 50, they had 55. I’m talking about you’re only supposed to have 50 outdoors, they had 1,000.”
Cuomo said religious leaders would have to agree to follow existing rules and become “a full partner in the enforcement of the rules.”
In one example, the governor said he wanted “someone at the door” to count people entering a religious venue and ensure that the building is no more than 50 percent full, in accordance with state guidelines.
The governor took action at the request of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who sought a shutdown of nine neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens with posted coronavirus test positivity rates higher than three percent for seven straight days.
During his press conference, Cuomo was critical of members of New York City’s Jewish Orthodox community for holding mass gatherings in violation of guidelines:
“This cannot happen again. If you do not agree to enforce the rules, then we’ll close the institutions down. I am prepared to do that.” Read more.