Parts of Manhattan, Staten Island enter lockdowns, but is it enough?

Businesses fear closure of restaurants looms

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and City Council member Mark Levine (Getty; City Council)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and City Council member Mark Levine (Getty; City Council)

With Covid-19 on the rise, more areas of New York City will return to lockdown Wednesday.

West Harlem, Hamilton Heights and parts of Washington Heights will become a yellow zone in Upper Manhattan. Across the city, parts of Staten Island will be designated yellow and orange. In Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s system, these are not good colors.

Under the yellow zone, gatherings are limited to 25 people and restaurants may only seat four people per table.

Orange means gyms, fitness centers and other personal care services must close and indoor dining is not permitted. With temperatures dropping, many restaurants will struggle to get by on outdoor dining and takeout.

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“Everybody’s really not happy that we’re going back into the second wave,” said Gary Fleming, president of Staten Island’s South Shore business improvement district. “And we don’t know who’s going to come out of it strong, who’s gonna fail and have to close up their business and start their life over again.”

Some say the restrictions are not enough to check the spread of the coronavirus.

“I think we need something more robust at this stage,” said Manhattan City Council member Mark Levine, who supports closing indoor dining and facilities such as gyms. “Our choice is either between limited action now or another shelter-in-place order down the road.”

The zones are based on the number of local Covid cases. “If our actions change, the rate will change,” Cuomo said in a Monday press conference announcing the new zones. He was referring to mask-wearing, social distancing and avoiding indoor gatherings.

In October, Brooklyn and Queens encountered similar lockdowns but came out of them.