New York mayor warns of 'a couple of tough weeks ahead'

Source: The Hill | October 7, 2020 | Celine Castronuovo

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Wednesday said residents will face “a couple tough weeks ahead” as he officially announced the closure of nonessential businesses for “at least 14 days” starting Thursday in areas of the city experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“We have a couple of tough weeks ahead,” de Blasio said at a press conference Wednesday morning. “Two, three, four weeks that are going to be really tough in the city as we fight back against a new threat.”

The mayor, who first announced he was planning the closures on Sunday, added that New Yorkers “all have to work together.” 

“This city was the epicenter of this crisis in the United States of America,” de Blasio continued. 

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According to New York’s Fox affiliate WNYW, the new order will result in closures and restrictions in areas of Brooklyn and Queens designated as “red zones,” as well as less strict orders in the communities labeled “orange zones.” 

At the news conference, de Blasio also announced that fines for mass gatherings in the affected areas will be increased to $15,000, and fines for not social distancing or refusing to wear a mask at $1,000.

In the red zones, schools will close all in-person learning, essential businesses will stay open, restaurants can only offer takeout options and houses of worship can only have 10 people inside at a time for services.

In orange zones, schools will only operate remotely, restaurants can only offer outdoor seating and businesses considered high-risk will be forced to close. The measures for orange zones also put a 25-person limit on places of worship. 

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