UPDATE [Nov. 11]: COVID-19 regulations have been updated by the state since this article’s publication. Click here for more up-to-date information.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted restrictions on several Brooklyn neighborhoods on Friday after COVID-19 cases plummeted in several former hotspots.
Borough Park, Flatlands, and parts of Marine Park and Midwood are no longer considered “red zones” by the state after the daily percentage of positive tests dropped from 5.9 percent in early October to 3.1 percent in November.
The updated “red zone” still includes most of Midwood, Homecrest, and sections of Marine Park, Gravesend, and Sheepshead Bay, where the average COVID-19 positivity rate has remained above 4 percent for at least 10 days.
The “red zone” designation limits the capacity at houses of worship to no more than 10 people, prohibits mass gatherings, closes non-essential businesses, and close schools.
Several of the neighborhoods that were formerly designated “red zones” are now yellow zones. In the new “yellow” districts — which include Borough Park, Flatlands, Brighton Beach, and Kensington — houses of worship can operate at 50-percent capacity, non-essential businesses can stay open, and schools and reopen while administering weekly COVID-19 tests.
The updates come nearly one month after Cuomo first issued the cluster map dividing southern Brooklyn into red, orange, and yellow zones based on the daily percentage of positive COVID-19 tests.
Most of southern Brooklyn south of Prospect Park designated yellow, orange, or red under the original cluster map.
Following a drop in cases, Cuomo turned Brooklyn’s “orange zones” into “yellow zones” on Oct 21, allowing many of their businesses to reopen, increasing the capacity of houses of worship, and allowing for small gatherings.
The original red zones, however, remained red until his Nov. 6 announcement.
At a Friday press conference, Cuomo said that the new restrictions will hopefully prevent a second COVID-19 wave from hitting the city.
“As a matter of context, we are obviously in a different phase with COVID, and we’ve been talking about it for weeks, but we have to fully acknowledge it,” he said. “You’re seeing global and national surges that are dramatic, and that’s the new reality of COVID. The challenge for our state, like other states, is managing the increase.”