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Cuomo Says He'll Shut Down Bars And Restaurants If They Continue To Break Safety Rules

Kevin P. Coughlin
Office of N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo is threatening to shut down bars and restaurants in New York State if the establishments and local authorities don’t crack down on rules violations that Cuomo says could spread COVID -19.

There have been numerous accounts of bars and restaurants where patrons are not wearing masks, and are crowding together and not practicing safe social distancing. Cuomo, who says he fears a resurgence of the coronavirus, says owners have to follow the rules, and local authorities, including the police, have to enforce them, or all of the eating and drinking establishments will have to close once more.

“We will have to roll back the bar and restaurant opening,” Cuomo said. “If the congregations continue, if the local governments don’t stop it, that is what is going to happen.”

The governor spoke just before traveling to Georgia, where he brought thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment to Savannah Mayor Van Johnson. New York is also helping the city set up two testing sites and sharing contact tracer training. The two held a roundtable discussion, where Johnson said he hopes to learn from a state that so far, has been successful fighting the disease. New York’s transmission rate of COVID-19 was at 1% Sunday. 

“We want to be able to talk about COVID-19 in our rearview mirror, too” said Johnson. “And we want to do all we can to make that happen.”

Cuomo compared the nation’s lack of resistance to the spread of the coronavirus to that of a person with compromised health. He says the disease exposes fractures in political and governing structures, the same way it finds weaknesses in the body.

“This nation is always strongest when it is the most unified, that is the strong body and the strong immune system,” Cuomo said. “And a divided nation is a vulnerable nation.”

Cuomo said the divisiveness includes vulnerabilities to religious, racial, economic and geographical differences.

“And vulnerable to the COVID virus, but that virus was just pointing out that the body was weak, and we have to strengthen the body,” Cuomo said. “And today we did.”

New York is also sending supplies to Texas and Florida.

The governor also expressed worries about the virus reentering New York though other states where the disease is spreading rapidly. New York has issued a two-week quarantine for visitors, and New Yorkers returning from, nearly two dozen states. The state of Georgia is on that list. But Cuomo says the quarantine order does not apply to him, because he was there for less than a day, and he is considered to be an essential worker, who are exempt from the rules. The governor says he will take a COVID-19 test, though, when he returns.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.
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