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New York State Ramps Up Enforcement in COVID-19 Clusters

NEW YORK NOW - Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that the state will begin its own enforcement of COVID-19 regulations, like rules about social distancing and face coverings, in 20 hotspot zip codes in New York City and the surrounding suburbs to supplement local compliance efforts.

The infection rate in those 20 zip codes, mostly in Orange County, Rockland County, Brooklyn, and Queens, was 4.8% Saturday, Cuomo said.

That’s a decline compared to recent days, but Cuomo said that local law enforcement hasn’t done enough to enforce the state’s rules. Beginning Monday, state personnel will begin their own compliance efforts, Cuomo said.

"We're going to be increasing the state's enforcement, itself, starting tomorrow,” Cuomo said. “Local businesses that are in violation of the law will be fined and can be closed."

Businesses that are found to be in violation of the state's regulations could be fined and lose their license to operate, Cuomo said.

He also called on school districts in those zip codes to ramp up testing efforts to prevent further spread in those facilities. That should include both public and private schools, Cuomo said.

It’s unclear how the state will ramp up enforcement in those areas, which also have concentrations of the Orthodox Jewish community. Cuomo did not say if he’ll be sending in State Police, or if state enforcement will be done by other personnel.

The statewide infection rate, including the 20 hotspot zip codes, was 1.1% Saturday, Cuomo said. There were 14 new deaths and, after several days of increases, total hospitalizations dropped to 618, according to state data.