Gov. Andrew Cuomo set forth new state-wide guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on Wednesday, ordering that all restaurants, bars, and gyms to be closed at 10 p.m. every night.
The mandate, which went into effect Friday, is part of the state’s efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, cases of which have been spiking throughout New York and the rest of the country.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, Cuomo said, a limit for indoor and outdoor gatherings at a private residence was also limited to no more than 10 people.
Restaurants, Cuomo said, will be permitted to provide curbside pick-up or delivery past 10 p.m., but will not be allowed to serve alcohol to-go. Cuomo did not mention how long the mandate will extend for.
“If you look at where the cases are coming from, if you do the contact tracing, you’ll see they’re coming from three main areas: establishments where alcohol is served, gyms, and indoor gatherings at private homes,” Cuomo said.
Since the pandemic began in mid-March, more than 10.6 million Americans had tested for the coronavirus as of Friday, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 243,000 had died in that time frame as of Friday.
In New York, 545,762 residents had contracted the virus, with more than 26,000 deaths caused as a result of it since the pandemic began.
A total of 52,897 Nassau County residents had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Friday, according to figures from the Nassau County Department of Health. A total of 2,226 county residents had died as a result of the virus as of Friday.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Health Commissioner Lawrence Eisenstein released a joint statement Thursday urging residents to abide by the state’s health and safety mandates without completely cutting off social interactions with the holidays just around the corner.
“Rather than panic, we recommend controlling what you can,” the statement read. “Take the simple measures which will allow you to go about your life while avoiding the virus. Although we can’t bring the risk of contracting COVID down to zero whenever we leave our homes, protective measures can limit spread of disease, and dramatically shift the odds of remaining healthy in our favor.”
Cuomo stressed the importance of local governments monitoring the spread of the virus throughout their respective areas and for residents throughout the state to listen to the statistics and guidance from healthcare professionals.
“There are only two fundamental truths in this situation: it’s individual discipline and it’s government enforcement,” Cuomo said. “The reason we have been successful in reducing the spread in New York is we have been a step ahead of COVID. You know where it’s going; stop it before it gets there. And you know where it’s going by following the science.”
Mario Saccente, a representative for the Long Island chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, said he and other restaurant owners hope the mandate is just a “temporary setback.”
“There was a lot of disappointment from our member restaurants and bars with this news,” Saccente said in a phone interview. “Some are very concerned the next step is a closure again, some members questioned why Long Island at this time was included in this statewide mandate, but as usual, our member restaurateurs and bar owners alike will do what is asked [of us].”
The New York State Fitness Alliance, a coalition of gym owners throughout the state created to help gyms reopen safely, released a statement on Facebook Thursday imploring other owners of fitness centers in New York to provide data that goes against Cuomo’s claim of gyms causing a spread of the virus.
“Today’s announcement from the Governor of a 10 p.m. curfew for gyms and restaurants is cause for alarm, as it may be a warning sign of future mandates to come amidst the rising numbers of Coronavirus cases across the State,” the statement read. “We must act swiftly and respond with messaging and data that tells the other side of the story. We want to share the results with you that clearly demonstrate, in fact, we are seeing millions of safe visits with no evidence of the virus spreading in our locations.”
The fitness alliance’s statement also mentioned a Zoom meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. to outline initiatives and ongoing efforts to protect the fitness industry throughout New York.
Additional reporting contributed by Rose Weldon.