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COVID In NYC: In Response To New Restrictions, Staten Island Restaurant Declares Itself An 'Autonomous Zone'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As local COVID-19 cases continue to spike, parts of Staten Island are now in an orange zone.

That means as more restrictions took effect Wednesday, there was more angst for many business owners and residents, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that his "winter plan" not only identifies zones of the worst-impacted areas, but also boosts hospital resources for them.

"We do more tests than any state in the nation, so we just have more data to make decisions on. Everybody has an opinion on COVID. We have facts," Cuomo said.

The micro-cluster strategy appears to be unpopular across parts of Staten Island, where some businesses have reluctantly complied, including nail salons and fitness centers, while a few others have pushed back.

"We don't want to go through another shutdown. Everybody is just trying to get back on the road, man," resident Xavier Rodriguez said.

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Grant City restaurant Mac's Public House is covered with signs and markings declaring it an "autonomous zone," promising to defy the new order.

The sign on the door reads, "We refuse to abide by any rules and regulations put forth by the Mayor of NYC and Governor of NY State."


Mimi Kim, the owner of Coco Nails, locked up her New Dorp Lane business. There will be no holiday manicures there.

"It's horrible, horrible, horrible. I need to open as soon as possible," Kim said.

Neighbors had a lot to say about the frustrations felt by the fed-up owners and others.

"It's ruining lives because you're not making any money," New Dorp resident Frank Natoli said. "Orange, pink, blue and green [zones], it doesn't matter. So if I step on an orange or yellow code that means I'm OK? It doesn't make any sense to me. To me, it doesn't make any sense."

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When an orange zone is established, certain non-essential businesses close, restaurants get reduced to delivery and takeout only, and houses of worship must limit capacity to 25 people.

"Either you close down the whole island or you keep the whole island open, because people are going to travel from one side to the other," New Dorp resident Debbie Miniero said.

But not everyone is against the new restrictions.

"It's for the safety of everyone because everybody is coming in there and that's why people are getting sick. People aren't wearing masks, so I feel like they have to do what they have to do. It might be inconvenient, we're used to doing these things, but these people protesting and fighting about this, it just makes no sense," New Dorp resident Serena Alston said.

Manhattan dodged micro-cluster designations until Wednesday. While there are no orange zones yet, the first yellow zone is mapped out and active. It's precautionary, a head's up before the shutdowns of orange.

It stretches from 133rd Street up to 187th Street and includes most of Washington Heights and some of Harlem.

The city and the state insist the zones, when applied previously in Brooklyn and Queens, worked to beat back the virus and it's a necessary step.


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