Orthodox Leaders Say They Don’t Take Orders From Orange County
An uptick in COVID-19 cases in Orange County is being blamed on a mass gathering at a synagogue in Kiryas Joel.
Satmar Headquarters boldly posted photos earlier this month showing what they say were "thousands" of followers attending services without masks or social distancing. Just weeks later, Orange County saw a sharp increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations. Before the services, the county was reporting an average of five hospitalizations. On Monday it was over 20.
Orange County Executive, Steve Neuhaus, says the increase in hospitalizations is directly related to the orthodox community in Palm Tree. In an interview with The Boris and Robyn Show on 101.5 WPDH this Wednesday morning, Neuhaus expressed his frustration with the situation. He says that not only has there been an increase in COVID-19 infections in the orthodox community of Palm Tree, but the situation has now made it's way to the rest of the county. Neuhaus claims that day laborers and other residents that work in Palm Tree have brought up the infection rate in places like the City of Newburgh. More infections have been blamed on orthodox members who may have spread the disease by visiting and shopping in surrounding communities.
The Orange County Executive says his office served papers to the Satmar Headquarters, ordering them to cease large gatherings and follow state guidelines. Leaders of the orthodox community, according to Neuhaus, defiantly replied saying that they only answer to "God and Andrew Cuomo."
Governor Cuomo said on Tuesday that he would be meeting with orthodox leaders to explain why they need to start following the rules.
I'm going to be meeting with religious leaders of the Orthodox community and local officials. If you look at those clusters and you look at those zip codes, you will see there's an overlap with large Orthodox Jewish communities. That is a fact. I will be meeting with them to talk about it. This is a public health concern for their community. It's also a public health concern for surrounding communities. I've said from day one, these public health rules apply to every religion, atheists - it just applies to every citizen of the State of New York, period,
The Orange County Executive says he has audio recordings of the orthodox community's response, saying that they will only listen to God or Governor Cuomo, and will be releasing them to the media later today.