Mayor de Blasio Threatens Second Shut Down in Brooklyn
By Yehudit Garmaise
Yesterday Mayor Bill De Blasio continued to respond to the recent Covid surge in southern Brooklyn by saying that if the number of coronavirus cases do not come down by Monday, he will again shut down non-essential businesses and limit public gatherings.
“If the indicators continue to rise,” the New York Post reported de Blasio as saying yesterday, “there must be additional enforcement actions. For the first time in the city’s recovery period, there could be the immediate scaling back of activities in these ZIP codes if progress is not made by Monday evening.”
After identifying Boro Park, Midwood, and Bensonhurst as currently reporting the city’s highest Covid positive rates, followed by Edgemere-Far Rockaway, Kew Gardens, and Williamsburg, the city’s health department is referring to the current Covid surge in the Jewish neighborhoods in southern Brooklyn as the “Ocean Park Cluster.”
Mayor de Blasio and the New York City health department are ramping up efforts to bring down the recent Covid spike by delivering 13,000 free masks, making thousands of automated “robocalls” in Yiddish and English reminding of safety protocols, reaching out to rebbeim to spread the word about prevention, and fining anyone who refuses to wear a mask.
Some rebbeim are stepping up their prevention efforts to remind the community to remain diligent to protect its health and the health of others. For instance, yesterday, a gabbai of the Karlin-Stoliner Rebbe that in the name of his Rebbe that any person entering any Stoliner shul, must wear a mask and practice social distancing.
In addition, yesterday, Rabbi Menachem Frank, the menahel of Bais Yaakov of Boro Park, announced that the school’s talmidos will be learning remotely until after Sukkos, in order to prevent a longer shut-down of the school down the road.
“With the recent developments in our community,” Rabbi Frank wrote in a letter to parents yesterday. “I feel it is imperative that…we take small, proactive, and preventative measures to avoid an[other] outbreak and חלילה face a school closure, such as experienced by [two] other schools within the community.”
Although many in the community are once again starting to feel the panic of a potential, G-d forbid, second wave of Covid in the neighborhood, Mitch Katz, M.D. the CEO of New York’s Health + Hospitals, reminded New Yorkers this week of the four simple ways to prevent the spread of COVID.
“Without exception,” Dr Katz said, “Everyone must: wear a mask, practice social distancing, practice good hand hygiene, and stay home if he or she is feeling sick.”
Dr. Katz, whose father-in-law, a”h, unfortunately passed away this week from Covid in Israel, referenced the current second lockdown in Israel to prevent the spread of Covid.
“We don’t want another lockdown here,” Dr. Katz said. “We want people to wear masks and practice social distancing.”
Rabbi Frank empathized with parents about the difficulties in having the children home, but he asked parents to understand that he has his eye on the health of the community and future of the school.
“Ultimately, we have only אבינו שבשמים to rely upon,” Rabbi Frank said. “However we do need to do our השתדלות.”
Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.
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