New rules announced in New York’s COVID-19 clusters

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NEW YORK (WABC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a three-tiered system for new rules and restrictions in New York’s high-risk cluster zones and surrounding areas.

The Cluster Action Initiative applies to all of Brooklyn as well as cluster parts of Queens, Rockland, Orange, Nassau and Broome counties.

The rules — including shutting down some nonessential businesses — can go into effect as soon as Wednesday but no later than Friday and will be in effect for 14 days when the state will then reevaluate.

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The rules are broken down by three colors: Red is the cluster center. Orange is the surrounding area — a ring around the center. Yellow is a ring around the orange ring — the precautionary area.

The clusters are drawn by actual case numbers, not by ZIP code or census tract.

Rules in the red area:

-Houses of worship – 25% capacity, 10 people maximum
-Mass gatherings prohibited
-Nonessential businesses closed
-Takeout dining only
-Schools closed

Rules in the orange area:

-Houses of worship – 33% capacity, 25 people maximum
-Mass gatherings – 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
-Businesses – Closing high risk nonessential business such as gyms and personal care
-Outdoor dining only with 4 person max per table
– Schools: remote learning only

Rules in the yellow area

-Houses of worship -50% capacity
-Mass gatherings – 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
-Businesses open
-Indoor and outdoor dining
-Schools – Mandatory weekly testing of students/teachers/staff for in-person classes. Testing will start next week.

The new zones were tweeted by Cuomo:

NYC officials are looking at the maps and comparing them to the nine hot spot ZIP codes. No new schools will be closed Wednesday in response to the maps.

“Tomorrow, the City will engage in outreach and education in these communities with implementation likely to begin on Thursday,” the mayor’s press secretary Bill Neidhardt said.

NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza addressed the update from the state and said he was receiving additional information about what it means for school buildings.

“If your building was already closed as a precautionary measure, it will remain so. We’ll provide more info soon,” Carranza said.

The teachers’ union released a statement approving of the new rules set in place by Gov. Cuomo:

“Testing is one of the keys to halting the spread of the virus, and the Governor’s plan for additional testing for schools will help us keep our students, educators and school communities safe,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.

Gov. Cuomo also announced that fines for mass gathering violations have increased to $15,000.

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