Watch CBS News

Enforcement Starts In New York City's COVID-19 Hot Zones; Borough Park Among Areas With Tightest Restrictions

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Enforcement in New York City's COVID-19 hot zones started Friday.

The tightest restrictions are in Borough Park, Brooklyn, but the NYPD said it had not yet issued any summonses, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported Friday evening.

Groups are fanned out in the area and, for the past few weeks, have been handing out masks and information.

"I've been seeing a lot of people without masks. So, they see us and they're grabbing it," said Myra Johson of Brown Miller Group.

Brown Miller Group is working with the city's test and trace program and also keeping track of what they see.

MORE: New York City's Second Coronavirus Shutdown Begins For Schools, Businesses In Hot Zones

"We have to do surveys every hour saying how many people are wearing masks, how man people are not, how many people are wearing incorrectly, and then we just tally the number," said Chris Grimaldi.

"Right now, people are being a little hostile towards our canvassers in light of everything that's happening. People are protesting. Things are happening, but we are noticing some people are thanking us for the work we're doing out here, noticing this is an unsafe job, but we're doing it as safe as we can," said Perry Pollard, Brown Miller Group's team leader.

Mask compliance around Borough Park was mixed Friday night, CBS2's Ali Bauman reported.


In the "red zone," Borough Park, worship is limited to 25% capacity or 10 people at the most.

Mass gatherings are prohibited.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and an Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization filed lawsuits over the worship restrictions.

Watch Alice Gainer's report --

On Friday afternoon, a judge rejected the Orthodox Jewish organization's lawsuit. A judge is expected to rule on the Roman Catholic Diocese's lawsuit sometime Friday night or Saturday.

Members of Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community protested restrictions all week in Borough Park. Demonstrations turned violent at times and several perceived journalist were beaten.

Friday, community activist Heshy Tischler announced his own arrest as a result.

"I just got a call from the precinct. They will be arresting me Monday morning. I'll be taken in for inciting a riot," he said in a video posted to Twitter.

Tischler says he plans to plead not guilty.

RELATED STORY: Religious Groups Sue New York State Over Latest COVID-19 Closures

Only essential businesses are allowed to open. It's takeout only for restaurants and schools are fully remote for at least two weeks.

The areas surrounding the red zone - orange and yellow - have fewer restrictions.

"Two weeks ago, this very day. This very day the health commissioner said, publicly, for everyone, that if there was not improvement in those communities quickly, amongst the things that might have to happen is the closing of public and non-public schools and nonessential businesses. People had a lot of warning," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The state is deploying 400,000 rapid testing kits in part to help schools in yellow zones test students weekly.

"Students will be escorted to the testing area ... The swab will be in the nose for just five to ten seconds," a video explains.

A memo went out to the NYPD detailing enforcement measures. Summonses will be issued for disobeying the mayor's executive order.

"Protests, demonstrations, and other First Amendment activity are also subject to these gathering restrictions in the designated zones," it read.

A group that had been out since 11 a.m. Friday told Gainer they did not notice law enforcement, but would like to see it.

"Because some people do not want to put the mask on at all. They do not want to take it. They feel like they have their own beliefs towards it," Grimaldi said.

You can get the latest news, sports and weather on our brand new CBS New York app. Download here.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.