New York Allows Any Gatherings of Up to 10 People: Live Updates

 nytimes.com  05/23/2020 12:55:55 

Cases and deaths in New York State

Includes confirmed and probable cases where available

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ImageProspect Park in Brooklyn on May 16.
Prospect Park in Brooklyn on May 16.Credit...Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

In an unexpected executive order issued Friday night, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York slightly loosened coronavirus restrictions, saying that gatherings of up to 10 people would be allowed for any lawful purpose or reason anywhere in the state  including New York City  provided that social-distance protocols were followed.

Cuomo issued the order after the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a suit that objected to Mr. Cuomos order on Thursday allowing groups of 10 people or less to gather for religious services or for Memorial Day celebrations. Mr. Cuomos order on Friday night modified the previous order.

The revision was swiftly condemned by Councilman Mark D. Levine, who represents Upper Manhattan and is chairman of the City Councils health committee. He stressed that the order had not been made by health professionals.

This shocking order, forced by a lawsuit, changes nothing about the risks associated with group gatherings  especially those held indoors, he said in tweets posted about 8:45 p.m.

No one should interpret this as advice to change their behavior, he added.

In filing its lawsuit, the civil liberties union argued that Mr. Cuomos order allowing religious and Memorial Day events was unlawful because state rules still banned protests and other activities protected by the First Amendment.

Were glad to see the governor reverse course, Christopher Dunn, the civil liberty groups legal director, said in a statement late Friday.

Mr. Cuomos office did not immediately provide a rationale for the change or say what had prompted it.

Under the new orders, groups of up to 10 people may gather in any region of the state, even those that have not been cleared to enter the first phase of reopening.

The boardwalk in Seaside Heights, N.J., on Friday.Credit...Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said Friday that the state would allow outdoor crowds of up to 25 people and let campgrounds reopen.

Im proud we are able to take this step today and add a little more hope and optimism to the start of summer, Mr. Murphy said.

Social distancing would still be required at outdoor get-togethers, which had been limited to 10 people, and at campgrounds. Face coverings are not required outside, but state officials recommend them.

If you were looking forward to gathering with your neighbors for a Memorial Day cookout, you may do so, Mr. Murphy said.

Outdoor dining at restaurants remains forbidden in New Jersey, though Connecticut began allowing it on Wednesday; indoor events are still limited to 10 people, Mr. Murphy said.

New Jersey also reported 146 new virus-related deaths, bringing the states total to 10,985.

This neighborhood stifled gangs and guns. Then a new killer moved in.

Au Hogan, the president of the Baisley Park Houses Tenants Association, delivering face masks to tenants this month. Credit...James Estrin/The New York Times

Not long ago, the main public health threat facing people living in and around the Baisley Park Houses complex in South Jamaica, Queens, was one that had taken too many young lives: gangs armed with guns.

When a 14-year-old shooting baskets was killed accidentally in October by a bullet fired in a gang dispute, the death galvanized the neighborhood to take action. Community leaders negotiated a cease-fire and shootings had dropped significantly by earlier this year.

Now, the area faces an even greater crisis as the coronavirus spreads through the Baisley Park developments brick high-rises and down the nearby blocks of blue-collar homes. This time, those being taken to hospitals and graves are mostly older residents with little or no connection to gun violence, residents and officials said.

We had just managed to bring shootings down, said Erica Ford, who founded a nonprofit group that tries to stem street violence. Then the virus made its way here.

It is a predominantly black area, and during the peak of the crisis, in early April, nearly 70 percent of the residents of the ZIP code that covers it who were tested for the virus tested positive, according to city Health Department data. At least 144 people from the ZIP code have died.

Sept Jones, a funeral director in the area, said he would typically retrieve two or three bodies a day from local homes before the pandemic. By mid-April, he said, the number was in the double digits.

I actually had to shut down my phone, Mr. Jones said. There were too many bodies to pick up.

As The New York Times follows the spread of the coronavirus across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, we need your help. We want to talk to doctors, nurses, lab technicians, respiratory therapists, emergency services workers, nursing home managers  anyone who can share whats happening in the regions hospitals and other health care centers.

A reporter or editor may contact you. Your information will not be published without your consent.

Reporting was contributed by Maria Cramer, Michael Gold, Luis Ferr Sadurn, Edgar Sandoval and Matt Stevens.

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