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Aggressive Effort To Curb COVID-19 infection Rates Begins On Staten Island; N.J. Restrictions Looming

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio reminded everyone Tuesday that the city is on the brink of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Efforts to combat the rise started on Staten Island in the morning and soon will begin in New Jersey as well, CBS2's John Dias reported.

Commuters were greeted differently at the Staten Island Ferry. City workers made sure everyone at the terminal had a mask, and understands that free testing at the site starts on Thursday.

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As part of the Staten Island "day of action," dozens of workers and volunteers spread across 10 locations around the island. Their main message: COVID-19 compliance.

"When it comes down to stuff like this, we know how to come together and deal with stuff like this," commuter Francisco Gomez said.

"I think it's good. It's happy to see people still wearing masks," resident Thomas Preacher added.

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The city's overall positivity rate has reached 2.88% -- and some parts of Staten Island are seeing rates as high as 6%. Many who spoke to CBS2 said there are not enough testing sites on the island or the wait is too long.

"Four hours to get tested? This is a horrible pandemic that we are seven, eight months into it. Let's get the testing together," said Ed Mahala of Sunnyside.


Theresa Doherty, a senior advisor to the mayor's Community Affairs Unit, said that's why they're bringing more free testing sites starting Thursday, regardless of documentation status.

"It may actually help tell a clearer story about what the numbers are like," Doherty said.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, some new rules start Thursday. All indoor interstate sports competition up to and including high school will be banned.

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Indoor dining must end at 10 p.m. each night and there will be no sitting at the bar, because infection rates in the Garden State are climbing, too.

"It's hard. It's an everyday struggle," said Ryan Harris of the Millburn Standard restaurant. "It's gonna get rough with December, January, February coming."

Back in the city, de Blasio said he is still worried about a second wave, but believes we can fight it back.

"If you said, could we continue like this and keep fighting until we got to a vaccine that would could believe in? The answer is yes," the mayor said.

Staff and volunteers will be back at it on Staten Island during rush hour, passing out more masks and more pamphlets in an effort to get out as much information as possible before Thursday.


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