New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the state will shut down schools in nine reported.on Tuesday. The neighborhoods facing school closures have all seen a well over 3% for the last seven days, CBS New York
The governor said without testing data for those schools, he can't be sure they're safe.
"We don't have data on all of the schools in these hot spot clusters. That troubles me," he said Monday. "Better safe than sorry. I would not send my child to a school in a hot spot cluster that has not been tested, where I did not have proof that the infection rate was low in that school. I would not send my child."
"I am not going to recommend or allow any New York City family to send their child to a school that I wouldn't send my child," he continued. "We're going to close the schools in those areas tomorrow."
The governor said while they are going by the ZIP codes for now, he's not ruling out the option of expanding beyond those borders.
He also said he plans to speak with Ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders Tuesday, adding that they must agree to comply or face closures.
"We know there have been mass gatherings going on in concert with religious institutions in these communities for weeks… What did you think was going to happen?" he said. "If you do not agree to enforce the rules, then we'll close the institutions down. I am prepared to do that."
In New York City, the infection rate over the last week is 1.72%, but some ZIP codes are seeing double, even quadruple that number.
"Everyone is getting nervous again," one person told CBS New York. "It's not safe. It's scary."
New York City is also seeking to order other non-essential businesses in the hot spots to close. Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for a "neighborhood rewind" that would close nonessential businesses in nine ZIP codes where the positive test rate has remained above 3% the last seven days.
The NYC mayor's plan would also mean restaurants in certain ZIP codes have to scrap outdoor dining and go back to only offering delivery and takeout. There are 12 other ZIP codes where the mayor may close down high risk activities such as indoor dining and gyms.
"Our plan is to move ahead Wednesday morning with enforcement in those nine ZIP codes of all non-essential businesses," de Blasio said.
However, it was unclear whether Cuomo would authorize a full closure of non-essential businesses and whether de Blasio had the authority to do so.
The New York Times points out that the Cuomo administration is reviewing how to determine where closures would happen without the need of using ZIP codes, something he said is arbitrary and not accurate.
"A ZIP code is not the best definition of the applicable zone," Cuomo said. "If you have to circumscribe an area, make sure you have the right boundaries."