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New York Governor Cuomo redraws COVID-19 hot zones as infection rates improve

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Changes are coming to COVID-19 hot-spot zone locations in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that restrictions in New York City will be narrowed to certain blocks instead of whole zip codes, CBS New York reports. 

It's a decision that has had business owners on the edge of their seats.

"I'm just crossing my fingers that everything goes well today and we're able to open tomorrow," said Nicholas Rakitzis, owner of the Silver Spoon Diner.

Rakitzis said he hopes the redrawing of lockdown lines will mean his restaurant in Elmhurst, Queens, can go back to indoor dining. He only got a taste of 25% capacity before the state shut down certain zones earlier this month due to spikes in cases in those areas.

"We were notified that they were putting a red zone in Rego Park. We didn't realize we're going to be in the outskirts in the orange zone because we're a different zip code," Rakitzis said. 

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NYC.gov via CBS New York

And he missed the yellow zone, where indoor dining is allowed by a few blocks. However, as infection rates are improving, the state is taking a new approach to zoning, moving from zip codes to a block-by-block assessment of COVID-19 hot spots.

"New York City, you have one factor for spread. If you're in the middle of the North Country, you have another factor for spread," Cuomo said Wednesday. "An orange zone under 2% after 10 days, 3% in less populated areas; a yellow zone, under 1.5% after 10 days, 2% in less populated areas."

Cuomo said the test positivity rate in the red zone areas across the state is 6.61%, while the statewide positivity rate not including the red zones is 1.42%.

"We continue to take strong action to respond to these outbreaks and to stop the spread," he said.

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