Brooklyn lawmakers yesterday threw tentative praise on Governor Andrew Cuomo after his decision yesterday to downgrade the borough’s highest COVID-19 neighborhood infection rates red zone to orange.
“While I am pleased that most businesses in my district will be able to reopen with the red zone transition to orange, that does not erase the weeks and months of suffering that they have been subjected to,” said City Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Homecrest).
Cuomo’s announcement, which also came yesterday, that the last remaining hot spots in Brooklyn would now be downgraded to the orange level allows for the lifting of some of the harsher restrictions on small businesses and houses of worship.
“People don’t like the restrictions, I understand that. But it works. And as complicated as this is, is as simple as this is, okay?” Cuomo said.
After a steady dip in coronavirus cases, Cuomo shrunk the last remaining red zone by 50% last week, leaving a small region from the outskirts of Borough Park and Flatlands south towards Coney Island.
While those living in the orange zone have much more freedom, including the re-opening of non-essential business and outdoor dining, limitations that prohibit more than 10 people to gather and schools from opening will still be enforced.
Some Brooklyn lawmakers don’t think it was as simple as Cuomo made it out to be, and Deutsch let his words ring clear after canceling a proposed rally to protest the now-lifted red zone with small business owners and local leaders from across Brooklyn yesterday.
“Governor Cuomo must answer for his decision to isolate certain communities and target enforcement against struggling small business owners. And, as updated data now shows, this was completely baseless in science,” Deutsch said.
State Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Boro Park, Midwood) thanked Cuomo and reminded everyone that they can support small businesses by shopping locally.
“I am thankful that Governor Cuomo finally heard us and agreed that today is the day to end the madness and finally downgrade Brooklyn’s red zone. This is so important for small business owners who have been suffocating under this policy. I cannot overstate the toll taken by these shutdowns, but today it ends,” said Felder.