NEW YORK — Hundreds of businesses in New York City neighborhoods where COVID-19 cases have spiked were closed Thursday as city and state officials moved to quash a coronavirus uptick before it spread more widely.
All nonessential businesses in areas designated red zones in parts of Queens and Brooklyn by Gov. Andrew Cuomo were shuttered on Thursday, and houses of worship were ordered to operate with no more than 10 people inside.
Public and private schools were closed within both the red zones and in surrounding areas designated orange zones by the Democratic governor. It was unclear exactly how many schools were affected by the shutdown.
"The spread is inevitable if we do not control the hot spot," Cuomo said Wednesday. "There are facts, even if they're unpleasant."
The new restrictions involve parts of Brooklyn and Queens in New York City, sections of Orange and Rockland counties in the Hudson Valley and an area within Binghamton, near the Pennsylvania border.
Many of the neighborhoods where restrictions have been imposed are home to large Orthodox Jewish communities, and leaders of those communities have complained of being singled out for enforcement. Cuomo has said the shutdown is based on science and data.
In the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, hundreds of men took to the streets Wednesday to protest the restrictions for a second night. Police said there were no arrests.
Mayor Bill de Blasio urged opponents of the restrictions to respect them and warned Wednesday that "there'll be consequences" for those who flout the rules.