Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new plan to "crush" COVID-19 clusters across New York State, which could lead to the closing of many businesses.

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On Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state would start taking "aggressive enforcement" on the top-20 hot spot ZIP codes, which includes parts of Orange and Rockland counties.

The Monroe, Monsey and Spring Valley regions are considered the biggest hot spots in the state, in terms of positive COVID-19 tests. Newburgh is in the top 10.

On Monday, Cuomo announced he's closing schools nine New York City zip codes due to the soaring cases of COVID-19.

When asked during his press conference if he will be closing schools in Orange and Rockland counties he said "we may" but added more research needs to be done before a decision is made.

The Orange County Health Department later closed all public, private and religious schools as well as educational facilities in the Village of Kiryas Joel and Town of Palm Tree.

On Tuesday, Cuomo revealed more of his plan to attack the clusters.

"We have a COVID cluster problem. Cluster problems can grow," he said during a press conference. "The virus spreads in mass gatherings. What's our strategy? Crush the cluster. Take dramatic action within the cluster."

Cuomo announced the state is creating three different zones; red, yellow and orange; in and near the clusters, or "The Cluster Action Initiative."

"Today we establish clear limits for areas where we see high positivity: The Cluster Action Initiative," Cuomo said. "Locations will be categorized either Red, Orange, or Yellow, based on proximity to the cluster. The severity of the problem will determine the response.

The Cluster Action Initiative:

Red

  • Worship: 25% capacity, 10 people maximum
  • Mass Gathering: Prohibited
  • Businesses: Only essential businesses open
  • Dining: Takeout Only
  • Schools: Closed. Remote only learning

Orange

  • Worship: 33% capacity, 25 people maximum
  • Mass Gathering: 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
  • Businesses: Closing high-risk non-essential business (gyms, personal care, etc.)
  • Dining: Outdoor dining only, 4 person maximum per table
  • Schools: Closed. Remote only learning

Red

  • Worship: 50% capacity
  • Mass Gathering: 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
  • Businesses: Open
  • Dining: Indoor and Outdoor dining allowed, 4 person maximum per table
  • Schools: Open. Mandatory weekly testing of students, teachers and staff for in-person learning. (DOH will set percent by Friday)

Red is considered a cluster, orange is a buffer zone from the cluster and yellow is a precautionary area from the cluster.

What is confusing, as of this writing, is that Cuomo announced it will up to local governments to determine where exactly each zone (red/orange/yellow) starts. He added the state will be working with local governments today on the maps for each zone.

Cuomo says clusters are being declared in parts Orange and Rockland Counties as well as Brooklyn and Queens.

The new rules for each zone go into effect as soon as Wednesday and no later than Friday. Cuomo says it's on each local government to decide when to implement the new rules, but the rules must be in place by Friday.

The new rules are in effect for at least 14 days, Cuomo noted.