Religious groups push back on COVID restrictions in NYC

As we enter the second week of lockdown restrictions in parts of Brooklyn and Queens, religious communities say they aren’t happy with how they’re being portrayed.

Former Assemblyman Dov Hikind helped organize a protest in Midtown on Thursday saying that closures in the red zone areas are unfair to the Jewish community. 

“Every day it’s the news, every single day, and there are repercussions in the streets,” Hikind said.

Inspectors and law enforcement officers have been canvassing New York City’s red zone areas that have seen upticks in COVID-19 cases to ensure the rules are being followed.

On Wednesday, roughly 1,700 inspections were done and 25 summonses issued.

In the last two weeks since the areas went into temporary closures, more than 18,000 inspections of businesses and other potential gathering sites have been done and just under 300 summonses have been handed out.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says the inspections will continue.

“We’ve seen a huge amount of support from community leaders and institutions and people recognizing that it’s important to participate, to wear the mask, to practice social distancing but it’s always gonna be a few people, and this is true everywhere, there’s gonna be a few people that don’t get the memo,” de Blasio said.

However, enforcement has put de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo at odds. Cuomo has threatened to pull funding from schools in the red zones that do not comply after expressing dissatisfaction with the city’s strategy.

“It’s not that they haven’t enforced the rule in the past couple of weeks. Some of them have not enforced the rules for months and that’s the shock to some of these communities and that I find inexplicable at this point, you know?” Cuomo said.

Asked about Como’s criticism, de Blasio dismissed it.

“You’re still gonna have some inherent differences of views,” de Blasio said. “It’s just the state does a different thing than the city does but we ultimately get to a lot of agreement, move forward together and that’s what really matters here.”

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