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Gov. Cuomo Shutting Down Schools In New York's Coronavirus Hot Spots: 'I Would Not Send My Child'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York State will shut down schools in coronavirus hot spots Tuesday.

The closures will take place in the following zip codes:

  • Borough Park (11219)
  • Gravesend/Homecrest (11223)
  • Midwood (11230)
  • Bensonhurst/Mapleton (11204)
  • Flatlands/Midwood (11210)
  • Edgemere/Far Rockaway (11691)
  • Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay (11229)
  • Kew Gardens Hills/Pomonok (11367)
  • Key Gardens (11415)

Those neighborhoods have all seen a positive test rate well over 3% for the last seven days.

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."

Watch: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Gives Update On COVID-19 Clusters 

The governor says while they are going by the zip codes for now, he's not ruling out the option of expanding beyond those borders.

Cuomo says schools are particularly dangerous places for transmission, especially if there has not been adequate testing.

"Where does the virus mainly transmit? Schools, which are also the place where different communities come together, right? My child goes to private school, your child goes to public school but they go to the same hockey team. Schools can be locations of transmissions," Cuomo said.

Cuomo said he will be meeting with leaders of the Orthodox Jewish community about enforcement. Many of the neighborhoods seeing COVID-19 spikes have large Orthodox populations.

The city also asked for permission to order other non-essential businesses to close.

Cuomo also said he's seeing a spike in communities outside New York City so they have to remain vigilant in those areas, too.

New York state increased COVID compliance enforcement Monday on businesses and places of worship in hard hit areas. It works similar to what the State Liquor Authority has been doing with bars and restaurants.

The mayor's plan would also mean restaurants in those 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 like indoor dining and gyms.

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (West)/Clinton Hill/Fort Green (zip code 11205)
  • East Williamsburg/Williamsburg (11211/11249)
  • Brighton Beach/Manhattan Beach/Sheepshead Bay (11235)
  • Bergen Beach/Flatlands/Marine Park/Mill Basin (11234)
  • Crown Heights (East) 11213
  • Kensington/Windsor Terrace (11218)
  • Rego Park (11374)
  • Fresh Meadows/Hillcrest (11366)
  • Hillcrest/Jamaica Estates/Jamaica Hills (11432)
  • Auburndale/Fresh Meadows/Pomonok/Utopia (11365)
  • Forest Hills (11375)

The governor said the state will take over social distancing enforcement in the hot spots, but cities and towns have to provide the personnel.

He also said he plans to speak with Ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders Tuesday and 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."


Cuomo also said state and city officials are working on a new way to group the data, because zip codes aren't always the best representation.

New York City's infection rate over the last week is 1.72%, but some zip codes are seeing double, even quadruple.

"Everyone is getting nervous again," one person told CBS2's John Dias. "It's not safe. It's scary."

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.

"Our plan is to move ahead Wednesday morning with enforcement in those nine zip codes of all non-essential businesses," de Blasio said.

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