STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Houses of worship can resume services on Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday, under guidelines that there are 10 less people.
Actions of strict social distance must be carried out and all participants must wear masks at all times, Cuomo said.
Services will be allowed in all states.
Cuomo has requested that the synagogue also consider providing services in the parking lot or using the drive-in method.
The State established an Interfaith Advisory Council to determine how to restore religious services safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I understand their desire to return to religious services as soon as possible,” Cuomo said, especially during this stressful time when people are in dire need.
“Religious services by definition are gatherings,” he said, adding that we can learn from what happens in other parts of the country when infections spread.
PRICE OF INFECTIONS IN LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES IN AVERAGE CITYWIDE
The infection rate among those tested in low income and color communities on Staten Island is equivalent to an overall city average of 19%.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the results of tests conducted by the state in partnership with Northwell Health which focused testing on the hard hit communities in New York City.
About 8,000 test results have returned and show that 27% of people in this community have tested positive for COVID-19 compared with the city average of 19.9%.
“The results are very strong and will inform what we do going forward,” Cuomo said during Wednesday’s daily press conference.
Community members were tested in churches and other faith-based organizations in five regions.
The results showed the Bronx was hit hardest, 34%; followed by Brooklyn, 29%; Queen, 25%, and Manhattan, 20%.
“This is not only a high positive result but this is where the spread still occurs,” he said.
“I have traveled across the state and you pass through some of these communities and you can see that social distance does not occur,” Cuomo said. He requested that local governments focus on these communities to ensure social distance occurs and that residents have access to face masks, PPE, and hand sanitizers.
Public housing, he said, faces unique challenges.
“How do you socially distance yourself from public housing? What is your social distance at the small playground? In the elevator? In the lobby? ” she says.
Going forward, Northwell Health will double the number of churches and religious organizations working together to continue testing in the hardest hit communities. The expansion will go to 72 communities and 40 public houses, he said.
The state will also develop targeted strategies to help people in low income communities stay safe and stop the spread.
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