New York will impose a handful of coronavirus restrictions on residents and businesses across the state as it tackles several "hotspot" outbreaks and tries to avoid a surge in cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
Restaurants and bars licensed by the State Liquor Authority will be ordered to close at 10 p.m. beginning Friday, though they can operate for curbside pickup past that time, Cuomo said on a call with reporters. Gyms will also be forced to close at that time.
"What is a state licensed facility? It's a bar, it's a restaurant, overwhelmingly the majority of it," he said.
The state will also crack down on people congregating inside ahead of the holiday season, banning gatherings of more than 10 people in a private residence, he said.
"What we're seeing is what they predicted for months," Cuomo said. "We're seeing a national and global Covid surge, and New York is a ship on the Covid tide."
New York health officials are responding to a number of hotspots in zip codes that are reporting a higher positivity rate, or the percentage of positive tests, than other parts of the state. New York is reporting a weekly average of roughly 2,641 cases a day, a more than 22% increase compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
That daily average, however, is still far lower than earlier this year when New York was widely considered the nation's Covid-19 epicenter. The state is also conducting far more testing than it did in the spring when it reported a high of nearly 10,000 new cases a day on average.
Over the summer and fall months after New York was able to suppress the virus' spread, Cuomo slowly began allowing more businesses to reopen at reduced capacity, like indoor dining at restaurants, gyms and museums.
Now, cases are beginning to climb in neighboring states, a warning sign for New York. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced a set of similar new restrictions, including a curfew for indoor dining and a ban on interstate sporting events, that will begin on Thursday as the state tries to wrestle control over its growing outbreak.
Nationally, Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are hitting record highs and health experts are warning Americans to prepare for "Covid hell" over the winter. The number of people currently hospitalized across the U.S. stands at record 61,964, according to the COVID Tracking Project, which is run by journalists at The Atlantic.
"They say in a race, 'Run through the tape.' Just finish the race," Cuomo said. "We've had a terrible eight months. We're in this last small lap. Let's just do what we have to do to get through it and then we'll rebuild together."