NY Gov. Cuomo accuses hassidic groups of mass COVID-19 violations

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a daily briefing following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manhattan in New York City, New York, US, July 13, 2020. (photo credit: MIKE SEGAR / REUTERS)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a daily briefing following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manhattan in New York City, New York, US, July 13, 2020.
(photo credit: MIKE SEGAR / REUTERS)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that large gatherings of ultra-Orthodox Jews have been responsible for the outbreak of several COVID-19 “clusters” in the state, and threatened to close down religious institutions if they did not comply with regulations.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Cuomo used images of mass gatherings by ultra-Orthodox communities in the state to illustrate his claim about the risks of the spread of the coronavirus from such events.

He said that he would be meeting with religious leaders in Orange County, the location of the large Satmar community in the town of Kiryas Yoel; in Rockland County, which has large Satmar and Viznitz hassidic communities; and Nassau County.
“Orthodox Jewish gatherings are often very large and we’ve seen what one person can do,” Cuomo said in reference to several super spreader incidents involving an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man.
“We know religious institutions have been a problem… Mass gatherings are the super spreader events. We know there have been mass gatherings going on in concert with religious institutions in these communities for weeks.
“I don’t mean little violations… I’m talking about when they’re only supposed to have 50 people outdoors and they had 1,000… You don’t see masks and you see clear violation of social-distancing.”
Cuomo said that if religious institutions in New York are to stay open they must agree to the conditions laid down by the state “whether it is the Jewish community, Black churches, or Roman Catholic churches,” and said that tough enforcement was also needed.
“I am going to meet with members of the ultra-Orthodox community tomorrow, I am going to have that conversion myself. This cannot happen again. If you do not agree to enforce the rules we will close the institutions down. I am prepared to do that.”

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