The Day – Cuomo opens theaters in New York as coronavirus hotspots cool


NEW YORK – Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the go-ahead for cinemas to open outside New York on Saturday as he nearly declared victory over coronavirus hotspots that had threatened to spread in a wider outbreak .Theaters will be allowed to open on Oct. 23 in counties outside the five boroughs that have an overall COVID-19 positivity rate of less than 2% and that do not have significant hot spots, Cuomo said in a press conference in the city center.

Theaters will be limited to 25% capacity or a maximum of 50 spectators per screen.

Cuomo also said the state issued a health order at an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Williamsburg that provided for a wedding that is expected to draw a crowd of some 10,000 revelers.

“You can get married, you just can’t have (10,000) people at your wedding,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo claimed the state had succeeded in cooling hot spots in Brooklyn, Queens and upstate neighborhoods that had threatened to spread to a larger epidemic.

“Literally we’re going block by block and now we have the sophistication to do it,” Cuomo said. “It’s much smarter, more efficient and less disruptive. ”

Cuomo announced that a record 160,000 tests had been performed on Friday and that the state’s overall positive test rate was 1.1%. Nine New Yorkers have died from the coronavirus.

Positivity rates in Brooklyn hotspots have fallen below 5%, about 30% lower than when they were at the peak of the outbreak two or three weeks ago.

Numerous hotspots straddle the city’s predominantly Orthodox Jewish quarters and upstate Orange and Rockland counties. The numbers have increased during Jewish holidays, which include gatherings of congregations and synagogue families.

In several predominantly Hasidic areas in the northern part of the state, the decline has been even more dramatic. In a postcode that includes the Hasidic enclave of Kiryas Joel, the positivity rate has dropped by 75%, from nearly 25% to a still dangerous 6%.

Cuomo said the state and city appear to have been successful in preventing the virus from spreading beyond neighborhoods identified as red zones, where schools and businesses have been closed.

He said enforcement of rules banning gatherings and ordering the wearing of masks has proven to be effective.

“If (people) follow the rules, the virus doesn’t spread,” Cuomo said. “It’s still a lack of compliance. “


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