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Cuomo Says He Will Withhold Funding From Local Governments That Don't Enforce In Areas With COVID-19 Micro-Clusters

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Frustrated by the lack of compliance in Red Zone COVID-19 clusters in Orthodox communities, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday lowered the boom, threatening to penalize schools and localities with the loss of state aid if they don't step up enforcement.

As CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported, New York City, and Orange and Rockland counties could see dramatic cuts in the cash they get from Albany.

The Bnos Zion yeshiva in Borough Park and Bais Esther across the street thumbed their noses at Red Zone lockdown requirements to close their doors. Now, the governor has ordered them shut and he's docking their state aid.

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The state's chief executive has simply lost patience with both community noncompliance and a lack of city enforcement.

"They don't want to do the enforcement. Why? Because it's politically sensitive and, let's be frank and candid, the community we're talking about today is a politically powerful community. You know it and I know it," Cuomo said.

Watch Marcia Kramer's report --

The governor's actions include:

  • Slashing funds for New York City, Orange, Rockland and other localities if they don't get serious about enforcement.
  • Sending letters to schools in the Red Zone that they must stay closed or lose money.
  • Sending notices to the schools that violated the lockdown that he is withholding their money.

"That will motivate them. There's nothing else that I have done that will motivate them. Maybe money works," Cuomo said.


Rockland County Executive Ed Day said that after speaking with the governor he would send several staffers to Ramapo and Spring Valley because those localities "have outright refused to step up and protect the residents."

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said he doesn't think the governor should withhold funds from New York City, just yeshivas that ignored the lockdown. Kramer asked him if there should be more enforcement.

"There should be a combined enforcement model. That includes heavy-handed and those with egregious violations. That includes communication to those who are just not wearing masks. And that includes bringing real PPEs and communication to the various communities in the city, including in the Borough Park area," Adams said.

Former Assemblyman Dov Hikind was furious, saying Cuomo has abandoned the Orthodox community.

"King Cuomo has stabbed them in the back," Hikind said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio's press secretary, Bill Neidhardt, tweeted, "Let's be clear: what drives New York City's COVID response and enforcement is the threat of a second wave, not threats of federal or state funding cuts."

Gov. Cuomo refused to say just how much money he would withhold.

Cuomo said the state-wide coronavirus infection rate in areas that do not have micro-clusters was .95% on Tuesday, but when incorporating the clusters the infection rate is actually 1.1%. He said Red Zones are currently seeing a 6.2% infection rate.

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