Governor Cuomo Announces New Cluster Action Initiative to Address COVID-19 Hot Spots

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced a new cluster action initiative to address COVID-19 hot spots that have cropped up in Brooklyn, Queens, and Broome, Orange and Rockland Counties. Under the initiative, New York State has developed a science-based approach to attack these clusters and stop any further spread of the virus, including new rules and restrictions directly targeted to areas with the highest density of COVID-19 cases and the surrounding communities.

According to the Governor, the initiative will divide clusters and the areas around them into three categories with successively higher restrictions within each one:

Red Zone — Cluster Itself

  • Houses of Worship: 25 percent capacity, 10 people maximum
  • Mass Gatherings: Prohibited
  • Businesses: Only essential businesses open
  • Dining: Takeout only
  • Schools: Closed, remote only

Orange Zone — Warning Zone

  • Houses of Worship: 33 percent capacity, 25 people maximum
  • Mass Gatherings: 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
  • Businesses: Closing high-risk non-essential businesses, such as gyms and personal care
  • Dining: Outdoor dining only, 4 person maximum per table
  • Schools: Closed, remote only

Yellow Zone — Precautionary Zone

  • Houses of Worship: 50 percent capacity
  • Mass Gatherings: 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
  • Businesses: Open
  • Dining: Indoor and outdoor dining, 4 person maximum per table
  • Schools: Open with mandatory weekly testing of students and teachers/staff for in-person settings. The New York State Department of Health will establish a percentage of teachers and students/staff who need to be tested by Friday.

The new guidelines will be in effect for a minimum of 14 days. Governor Cuomo also announced that fines for the sponsors of mass gatherings in violation of state public health rules will be increased to $15,000. The enforcement of the zones are expected to go into effect no later than Friday, October 9, 2020. We will continue to follow developments and keep you apprised of same.