Cities and states enact targeted restrictions as COVID-19 cases climb nationwide


NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — New Jersey’s largest city is under a stay-at-home advisory for the next 10 days. The coronavirus infection rate is rising much more rapidly in Newark than New York, where orange zone restrictions are going into effect in high-risk areas, dropping restaurant occupancy from 25 percent to zero.

It’s more than some business owners are willing to take. Staten Island bar Mac’s Public House declared itself an ‘autonomous zone’ this week, the owners telling NewsNation that sheriff’s officers had already stopped by with a $15,000 citation. The bar plans to fight it.

“You know, everybody has an opinion on COVID,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a stop in Rochester Wednesday. “We have facts that we deal with.”

As governors and health officials nationwide implore people not to travel this Thanksgiving, there are many other signs of rebellion. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is under fire for urging constituents to stay home, then traveling himself. The sheriff in Sacramento County, California says he’s not enforcing the state’s stay at home order; Sheriff Scott Jones says he has “a tremendous amount of faith in folks to make those assessments relative to COVID.”

Local officials say the data from contact tracing and testing has become so reliable that in many cases they’re able to finely target their response, yet cases are dramatically rising as Thanksgiving approaches. San Antonio and El Paso are among the latest municipalities to announce curfews and restrictions. In Ohio, businesses barely hanging on are preparing to close again.

“It’s scary, I will admit it,” said gym owner Holly Surface. “Just opening a business and then having the door shut in your face. It’s devastating.”

On the Brooklyn waterfront stands a visible reminder of the high toll the pandemic has already taken in the New York area— freezer trucks the medical examiner’s office says hold over 600 bodies from the first wave last spring; those whose families can’t be located or who can’t afford a proper burial.

Public schools in New York have been closed since the city hit a 3% positivity rate last week. The mayor says a plan to reopen them could be rolled out within a matter of days, but noted during his City Hall briefing Wednesday, “It’s going to be a different Thanksgiving. It’s going to be a tough Thanksgiving, but we still have a lot to be thankful for.”

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been urging people to stay home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, millions of Americans are still traveling for the holiday.

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