Bill de Blasio


Photo by Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

In his press conference this afternoon, Governor Cuomo announced that all of New York City would become an orange zone if its city-wide positivity rate hits 3 percent. Under this micro-cluster strategy, indoor dining and high-risk non-essential businesses like gyms and personal care services would close. Schools would also close, but during the governor’s press conference, New York City Chancellor Richard A. Carranza sent an email to principals that schools would close and go to virtual learning as of tomorrow, as the New York Times first reported.

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City Living, Policy

Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

For the sixth straight day, New York City’s COVID positivity rate has been above 2 percent, today hitting 2.88 percent. Though this is lower than surrounding states (New Jersey has recently hit 8 percent), Mayor de Blasio’s education plan has set a threshold of 3 percent for keeping schools open. And according to the city’s data, the number of new daily infections has nearly doubled since August from roughly 300 to a whopping 976 last Wednesday. Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio said the city was “getting dangerously close” to a second wave, setting off an alarm among New Yorkers, and today he said, “this is our last chance to stop [it].”

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Policy, Restaurants

Photo by Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr

The New York City Council on Thursday voted to make outdoor dining permanent and year-round and lifted the ban on portable propane heaters. The legislation approved by the Council extends the city’s current Open Restaurants program, in which more than 10,500 restaurants have enrolled since June, until September 30, 2021, and requires it to be replaced with a permanent program. Under the program, restaurants will also be able to use portable propane heaters, which were previously banned.

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Brooklyn, Policy, Queens

Map of Brooklyn’s Covid-19 cluster; courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

In an effort to contain new clusters of the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday ordered non-essential businesses to close and houses of worship to restrict capacity in parts of Brooklyn and Queens and suburbs of New York City. The new initiative divides the clusters into three categories depending on the rate of transmission, with red, orange, and yellow zones determining the level of restrictions in place. The new rules will be in effect for a minimum of 14 days starting on Thursday. To clear up confusion over the cluster zones, the city released a searchable “Find Your Zone” map that allows New Yorkers to enter their address to find what zone they live, work, and go to school in.

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Noho, Policy, Soho

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

The plan to rezone two affluent Manhattan neighborhoods will enter the public land use review process, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday. The proposed rezoning of Soho and Noho includes replacing 1970s-era zoning rules and incentivizing the creation of about 800 permanently affordable homes, part of an effort to bring affordable housing to all New York City neighborhoods, even upscale ones.

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After fully reopening last week, some schools in NYC will have to close again. Photo credit: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

Schools in nine New York City ZIP codes where COVID-19 cases have grown rapidly will temporarily close starting Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. Mayor Bill de Blasio first announced on Sunday plans to shut down schools in these neighborhoods, which includes about 200 private schools and 100 public schools. While de Blasio’s original proposal would also shutter non-essential businesses in these hot spots and high-risk activities in an additional dozen ZIP codes that are seeing an increase in cases, Cuomo on Monday said only schools will be closed as of now, adding that the state will review the data before taking further action. The governor said he would not “recommend any NYC family send their child to a school” in those areas.

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Image: Matt Monath Photography

A lab dedicated to processing New York City coronavirus tests within 24 to 48 hours officially opened on Thursday. The “Pandemic Response Lab” is located in the Alexandria Center for Life Science on First Avenue and East 29th Street in Manhattan. The lab, led by the city’s Economic Development Corporation and run by robotics company Openetrons, will expand testing capacity citywide while also providing a quicker turnaround time to get results from samples collected at NYC Health + Hospitals sites.

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Policy, Sunset Park

Industry City developers withdraw rezoning application

By Devin Gannon, Wed, September 23, 2020

Photo by Steven Pisano on Flickr

Plans to rezone Industry City in Sunset Park are dead after developers behind the project decided to withdraw their application on Tuesday. As Politico New York first reported, the decision to pull out of the plan, first proposed six years ago, comes as developers were unable to convince Brooklyn residents and officials, particularly Council Member Carlos Menchaca, the local representative, to support the rezoning efforts. Supporters of the rezoning said it would have brought thousands of new jobs to the city, which currently is seeing an unemployment rate of about 20 percent because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Brooklyn, Policy, Queens

Borough Park, Brooklyn; Photo via Wikimedia

Urgent action is required in four areas across Brooklyn and Queens where there has been a serious uptick of positive coronavirus cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday. The city’s Health Department identified a new cluster in Midwood, Borough Park, and Bensonhurst, which officials are calling the Ocean Parkway Cluster, after the avenue that connects the neighborhoods. Health officials have also found an increase in cases in Edgemere-Far Rockaway, Williamsburg, and Kew Gardens. The new cases account for 20 percent of all cases citywide as of September 19.

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Brooklyn, Policy

Photo by Caroline on Flickr

The Brooklyn Municipal Building will be renamed after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday. The idea to honor the Brooklyn native was first floated two years ago by Borough President Eric Adams, who launched a campaign in 2018 calling on the mayor to sign off on the change. De Blasio’s approval this week follows Ginsburg’s death last Friday.

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