New N.Y.C. Virus Shutdown Brings Confusion, Anger and Lawsuits

New N.Y.C. Virus Shutdown Brings Confusion, Anger and Lawsuits (Source The New York Times)

As New York officials on Thursday hurriedly launched a targeted lockdown to stamp out a surge in coronavirus cases, chaos, confusion and tension erupted over restrictions that will close schools and businesses and greatly limit attendance at places of worship. There were competing hot-spot maps, issued by Mayor Bill de Blasio and then by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, which overlapped and contradicted each other. Schools and businesses that were to be shut down on one map were not on the other. Two lawsuits were filed on Thursday, one by an Orthodox Jewish group and the other by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, to stop the state from enforcing the governor’s restrictions on houses of worship. The legal actions came after ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn this week lit masks on fire and attacked an Orthodox reporter who has documented local resistance to social distancing. And in other Brooklyn neighborhoods like Bensonhurst and Windsor Terrace, parents rallied against the sudden closure of schools. Even as local officials and religious leaders acknowledged the need to take action before the virus outbreak explodes into a full-scale second wave, they bristled at the haphazard way the new restrictions were announced, giving some schools less than a day to shut down after months of working diligently to reopen.

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