ALBANY, N.Y. — On Sunday afternoon, faced with a new wave of infections in his virus-battered city, Mayor Bill de Blasio made a sobering decision to ask the state to roll back openings of businesses in virus hot spots in Brooklyn and Queens, pending approval from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
But on Monday, Mr. Cuomo, Mr. de Blasio’s longtime foil, refused to give it.
Mr. Cuomo said he would not yet allow the city to close the nonessential businesses, suggesting that the ZIP codes that were being used to identify hot spots were too imprecise to guide shutdowns. The more pressing problem, he said, lay in schools and houses of worship, including many that cater to Orthodox Jews, rather than businesses that “are not large spreaders.”
The dissonance in messages from the state’s two most prominent politicians created confusion for residents, business owners and parents in the affected areas and drew scrutiny to the conflict between city and state over how to tackle early signs of a second wave of the virus in its one-time epicenter.
The governor’s announcement also seemed to be yet another manifestation of his long feud with Mr. de Blasio. Mr. Cuomo has frequently second-guessed or overruled the mayor, who is also a Democrat, during their tenures. Those clashes were cast in sharp relief during the early days of the pandemic, with the city and state at odds over the timing of shutting down the city businesses and its schools, among other issues.
On Monday, that disconnect continued, as Mr. Cuomo accelerated the mayor’s plan to close schools in newly hard-hit areas, moving the closure date up a day to Tuesday, and forcing parents in those areas to once again rejigger their schedules to accommodate changes in their children’s routines.
Mr. Cuomo defended that decision by saying that testing was insufficient to protect children in those schools. “I’ll never let a New Yorker send a child to a school that I wouldn’t send my child to,” he said.
The governor also announced that the state would take over supervision of enforcement of mask and social-distancing rules in the hot spot clusters, presumably by putting the State Police in charge of New York City Police Department officers. “Local government will need to provide us with personnel,” he said.
Shortly after the governor spoke, Mr. de Blasio reiterated that he believed the city would still be closing nonessential businesses, even as he acknowledged that the governor’s staff was “considering if they have alterations to that geography or that approach.”
“Until we hear otherwise,” Mr. de Blasio said on Monday afternoon, “our plan is to move ahead Wednesday morning with enforcement in those nine ZIP codes.”
Mr. Cuomo did not rule out closing nonessential businesses or public spaces in the near future. He said his administration was reviewing how best to do it without relying on geographic delineations from ZIP codes, which he said were arbitrary and might not accurately capture the areas where new cases are going up.
“A ZIP code is not the best definition of the applicable zone,” he said. “If you have to circumscribe an area, make sure you have the right boundaries.”
Cuomo administration officials later suggested that actual boundaries for closures of businesses could even exceed the ZIP codes where the increases are now occurring.
At the same time, however, Mr. Cuomo said he would not order schools closed in areas in Orange and Rockland Counties, suburban areas north of the city that have both had serious outbreaks in recent weeks, with some areas seeing positive rates of 10 percent or more — higher than any city hot spot.
State statistics from Sunday, in fact, show that three ZIP codes in Orange and Rockland have the highest three-day averages in New York. But Mr. Cuomo insisted that those areas do not “have the same level of problem.”
The governor said he would meet with religious leaders in the hot spots on Tuesday, many of which are home to large communities of Orthodox Jews, who officials say have openly flouted mask rules and limits on mass gatherings. Mr. Cuomo threatened to close down houses of worship if he wasn’t able to reach an agreement with religious leaders to more rigorously enforce social-distancing rules.
The mayor’s plan, announced on Sunday, called for the closure of all schools — public and private — in nine ZIP codes, the shutdown of all nonessential businesses and the cessation of indoor and outdoor dining in restaurants. In an additional 11 areas, looser restrictions would be imposed: Gyms and swimming pools would be closed and indoor dining banned. On Monday, Mr. de Blasio added a 12th ZIP code in Forest Hills, Queens, to that second list.
Asked if he felt whether he and Mr. de Blasio should have coordinated their announcements, Mr. Cuomo said no, noting that they occupy different levels of government. He also suggested that he had been surprised by the mayor’s announcement on Sunday, which came shortly after he had given a daily update on the coronavirus.
“I didn’t put out this plan,” the governor said. “He did.”
Likewise, Mr. de Blasio suggested that his decision to outline his plans without seeking the governor’s approval might have been calculated to prompt a speedy response.
“The best way to ensure there is action is to put the proposal on the table publicly,” the mayor said.
Michael Gold and Dana Rubinstein contributed reporting from New York.