Ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups sue New York governor over COVID-19 sidewalks | United States and Canada


Ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups in New York state are suing Governor Andrew Cuomo over new restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, claiming the restrictions are unconstitutional and “explicitly target” members of the religious community.In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Thursday, organizations such as Agudath Israel of America criticized an executive order signed by Cuomo on Tuesday that limits the number of people allowed to assemble inside, including included in places of worship.

The Order “distinguishes and discriminates against all places of worship – and synagogues in particular – by imposing the occupation and assembling restrictions that prevent Orthodox Jews from complying with both their religious obligations and the Order” , we read in the trial.

The plaintiffs – including a handful of synagogues and rabbis – are seeking a temporary restraining order, preliminary and permanent injunctions against the state’s restrictions, and a judgment declaring the governor’s decree unconstitutional and void.

Amid an increase in COVID-19 cases, Cuomo signed an executive order that limits indoor gatherings in the most severe “red” COVID-19 infection areas to 10 people and 25 people in the areas of moderate infection.

A spokesman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told the Wall Street Journal the city will begin enforcing the new restrictions on Thursday and that, among other penalties, a mass rally could face a fine of up to $ 15,000.

“Places of worship are one of the main places of mass gathering. I understand this is a sensitive subject, but it’s the truth – period. Do you want to solve the problem? Acknowledge the problem, ”Cuomo said at a press conference Tuesday.

Cuomo said he consulted with ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders before the measures were imposed. “I asked them to work with me to follow these guidelines and it was well received,” he told reporters.

“I told them I was doing this for a very simple reason: because I have so much respect and love for the Orthodox community.

However, the new restrictions drew criticism from many members of the ultra-Orthodox community, hundreds of whom demonstrated in Borough Park, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

“I understand that you have to wear a mask. I understand your social distance. What bothers me is that you pick the right people, ”Meir Nimni, a Brooklyn resident, told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

“Everyone here wants to live, and everyone cares” about stopping the novel coronavirus, Nimni said. But he saw a double standard that “just isn’t fair”.

Local and state lawmakers also criticized the executive order, accusing Cuomo of naming the ultra-Orthodox community for no reason.

“His language was dangerous and divisive, and implied that Orthodox Jews alone are responsible for the increase in COVID cases in New York state,” lawmakers wrote in an open letter. “This involvement did not arise from the state’s own data.”

New York State reported 1,836 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the Department of Health reported. Of that total, 696 cases were in New York City.

In the top 20 zip codes that have seen recent outbreaks, which include those in Brooklyn, Queens, and Rockland and Orange counties, the average rate of positive COVID-19 tests was 5.8%, said Thursday. the New York State government.

Elsewhere in the state, the positive test rate is 1.01%.

These 20 areas also currently represent 23.2% of all positive COVID-19 cases in the state, but only represent 6.2% of the total population, the government said.


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