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But on Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that high coronavirus infection rates in parts of Brooklyn and Queens had led him to propose “rewinding” the reopening in those sections of the city.
If the plan is approved by the governor, schools and nonessential businesses in those hot spots will close for a minimum of two weeks while the city waits for the infection rates to decline.
Whether the uptick in infections is an anomaly or the start of a second wave of remains to be seen. Here’s what you need to know:
What will close
Essentially, the affected ZIP codes will go back to life under lockdown.
Starting this Wednesday, public and private schools will close, as will nonessential businesses and restaurants — for both indoor or outdoor dining.
Places of worship will remain open, though only at 50 percent capacity, because of a federal court order, city officials said.
Everything will stay closed for two to four weeks, and longer if necessary. The plan is a setback for the city, the first major reversal since reopening began.
“Today, unfortunately, is not a day for celebration,” Mr. de Blasio said. “Today is a more difficult day.”
Where infection rates have spiked
Mr. de Blasio specified nine ZIP codes that would see the most severe restrictions, including portions of Far Rockaway and Kew Gardens in Queens, and Borough Park, Midwood, Gravesend, Bensonhurst and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn.
All of those ZIP codes have had positivity rates of more than 3 percent in recent days, and some have reached 8 percent. The citywide average is about 1.5 percent.
He also noted 11 more ZIP codes in which the rate of infection had risen rapidly, but not to the alarming levels of the other nine. They include parts of Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Manhattan Beach, Bergen Beach, Kensington and Crown Heights in Brooklyn; and Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest and Jamaica Estates in Queens.
Schools and most businesses will be allowed to remain open in those 11 ZIP codes, but indoor dining will end and gyms will close.
Mr. de Blasio said that he thought aggressive measures could keep the infection rate down in other parts of the city.
“There does not have to be a second wave,” Mr. de Blasio said. “The fact is that these communities are experiencing a problem.”
The makeup of the nine ZIP codes
All of the ZIP codes scheduled for more severe measures, while diverse, have large Orthodox Jewish populations — communities in which the virus has spread widely and might have killed hundreds in the spring.
There have been mounting concerns about infections surging among the Orthodox during gatherings such as religious services, weddings and funerals, and at yeshivas, private religious schools that serve tens of thousands of children.
Public health officials have had little success persuading residents to wear masks, practice social distancing or take other preventive measures. Local leaders said that the surge in infections was driven by denialism, unfounded hope of herd immunity and misinformation spread by President Trump, who in 2016 received more than 80 percent of the vote in some precincts in these neighborhoods.
“This is a community where a lot of people believe they have already had the virus, a lot of people believe they have herd immunity, so they really believe they don’t need to get tested,” Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein of Brooklyn said last month. “That is why it is so important to communicate with people on the ground.”
Many of these ZIP codes have large numbers of residents who are not Orthodox Jews, and the new restrictions could lead to tension between them and their Jewish neighbors.
No word from the governor
By Sunday evening, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who has had a combative relationship with Mr. de Blasio, had not publicly announced whether he would approve Mr. de Blasio’s plan.
Earlier in the day Mr. Cuomo released a statement criticizing unnamed local officials for not curbing the virus.
“Local governments have not done an effective job of enforcement in these hot spot ZIP codes,” Mr. Cuomo said.
North of the city, Rockland and Orange Counties, which both have large Orthodox Jewish populations, have also seen sharp spikes in coronavirus positivity rates in recent days, sometimes double or triple the rates of the ZIP codes in New York City.
Mr. Cuomo did not mention whether a similar lockdown was under consideration for them.
Neighborhood shutdowns could be effective
Whether shutting down a portion of the city can actually curb the infection rate is a matter of some debate, since infected people could presumably travel to other parts of the city or state and spread the disease.
Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist at George Mason University, said that closing neighborhood schools and businesses could help tame the virus, but that it would not be easy.
From @nytarchives on Instagram:
“One of the most influential fashion figures of the last decade, Audrey Hepburn is the film star most women would like to emulate,” The Times reported in December 1963.
Our staff photographer Carl T. Gossett took this portrait of the actress two years after she starred in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” — which was released in theaters on this day in 1961 — and at a location that was just a short walk from the jewelry brand’s flagship Fifth Avenue store.
She was holding her Yorkshire terrier, Assam, in this photo.
It’s Monday — keep going.
Metropolitan Diary: Star struck
In 1971, I yelled “hello” to Ed Sullivan as he was walking near the General Motors Building near the south end of Central Park. No response.
I said a loud “hello” to Dick Barnett of the New York Knicks in Midtown in 1972, but he did not glance in my direction.
In 1973, I yelled out to Elston Howard, the former Yankees catcher, as he walked out of a supermarket in Teaneck, N.J. No response.
Jon Bon Jovi walked past me in SoHo several years ago. I nodded my head. (I’m older now.)
He smiled and nodded back.
— Rich Herman
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