ALBANY, N.Y. — Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday new measures to stem the rising tide of COVID-19 cases around the state, including Western New York.
Effective this Friday, November 13 at 10 p.m., any establishment with a liquor license in New York State will now have to close at 10 p.m. each night. The governor also announced that gyms must also close at 10 p.m. each night.
After 10 p.m., restaurants can offer curbside pickup of food only. Also, parties in private homes can have no more than 10 people attend unless the household consists of more than 10 people.
Cuomo says contact tracing has identified house parties, gyms and restaurants/bars as the main virus spreaders and says these steps must be taken if New York is to stay ahead of COVID-19.
"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," Governor 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. This is the calibration that we've talked about: increase economic activity, watch the positivity rate - if the positivity rate starts to go up, back off on the economic activity. It was never binary -- economic activity or public health -- it was always both."
He said if these steps are not sufficient, other adjustments could be made, including reducing the number of people allowed for indoor dining.
The New York State Restaurant Association's Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO, issued this statement following the Governor's announcement:
“Today’s news is a huge blow to the restaurant industry that is desperately trying to stay afloat. Our members have put in place procedures and protocols to mitigate the spread, and we’ll continue to do so to ensure the safety of our employees and patrons. We understand the logic behind micro-cluster restrictions, but at this time we have concerns about blanket statewide restrictions like this.”
The governor also called upon local governments to make sure these new rules are enforced.
"The rules are only as good as the enforcement," he said. "Local governments are in charge of enforcement. There are only two fundamental truths in this situation: it's individual discipline and it's government enforcement. Period. End of sentence. I need the local governments to enforce this."
The statewide positivity rate on Tuesday, not including the micro-cluster zones was 2.5 percent, with the micro-cluster zones the positivity rate was 2.9 percent. The rate of positivity in the micro-cluster areas across the state was 4.9 percent.
As of Tuesday, 1,628 people were in the hospital, 304 of them in the ICU and 135 of them intubated. Sadly, 21 New Yorkers succumbed to the virus.