New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that parts of New York state, including New York City, would shut down again if hospitals reach 90 percent of their capacity. Restrictions will be imposed by region rather than the much touted micro-cluster approach, within three weeks after the state enacts its surge and flex plan to keep hospitals from getting overrun.
In New York City, 20 percent of hospital beds and 27 percent of ICU beds are currently available, based on a seven-day rolling average, according to the state. If the number of available beds is reduced by another 10 percent, NYC will once again face brutal shutdown orders.
As a first step, the state would close indoor dining in New York City should the hospitalization rate fail to stabilize or flatten within five days. “We are looking at continued increases from now to mid-January”, Cuomo said. New York City currently allows indoor dining at 25 percent capacity. In other parts of the state, rising hospitalization rates would result in a reduction of indoor dining from 50 percent to 25 percent capacity.
Should hospitals be filled to 90 percent in any New York region, the ensuing shutdown would follow “red zone” restrictions:
- Houses of Worship: 25 percent capacity, 10 people maximum
- Mass Gatherings: Prohibited
- Businesses: Only essential businesses open
- Dining: Takeout only
- Schools: Closed, remote only
Another shutdown of 4-6 weeks would be a death sentence for restaurants (and gyms) that have been decimated by the pandemic. The state is talking about shutdowns, yet there is not talk about financial support! Perhaps the state believes that is the responsibility of the Federal Government, but such a stimulus does not seem to be on the horizon. Worse, the state and city tracing data indicate that almost 70 percent of the Covid-19 spread comes from households and small gatherings. Yes, hospital capacity must be preserved but the spread is not coming from indoor dining or gyms (at least in New York) so how does closing them make sense? If they truly must be closed to prevent the spread, why wait an extra week? If elected officials knew another shutdown was probable, why not come up with financial resources to protect small businesses and workers?