Is New York heading for another full shutdown? Here's what we know

Both the governor and mayor have alluded to a new PAUSE-like shutdown.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
Editor, Time Out New York

New York City won't see a PAUSE-like shutdown for at least another three weeks, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that the city should brace for a full shutdown after Christmas, but this week, Cuomo said if we "slow the spread," we can stop the shutdown.

"I do not believe that we are destined to have a shutdown," Cuomo said in a press conference on Friday. "There is no destiny here. Destiny is what we make it. The future is what we make it. It is totally in our control, and a shutdown is totally avoidable. Totally."

Cuomo said the way a shutdown would occur would be if area hospitals report to the state that they are three weeks out from hitting 85% capacity. Reporting three weeks out is a requirement, which gives the state time to respond and the affected hospital(s) a 15% buffer, he said.

As of Friday, no hospital in the state had done this, meaning things will remain open at least until January 8, Cuomo said.

He said whether we go through another PAUSE again is in the hands of New Yorkers and believes we'll will do what it takes to stay open.

"New Yorkers defied all the odds," he said. "We can slow the spread and hospitals can manage it and this is in our control. Shutdowns are very very, very harmful. They hurt a lot of people, they hurt a lot of businesses, have a lot of mental health consequences, and they hurt children. Shutdowns have many negative consequences and this has been a long year and the last thing anybody wants is a shutdown. I believe we can stay open and will stay open."

At the beginning of December, Cuomo said that if we didn't change our trajectory, we'd be heading toward another PAUSE and that small at-home gatherings were to blame for almost 70% of cases.

Cases continued to rise from that point, causing the city to shut down in-person classes at schools, and last week, it was indoor dining.

As of Friday, there were 158 new hospitalizations, 2,805 new cases and a 6.16% (7-day avg.) positivity rate, according to the mayor. So far, it looks like the number of confirmed cases is reaching the same level we saw at the end of March when we went into our first shutdown.

If a shutdown were to occur again, it would mean no non-essential shopping, no at-office work, no hair salons or personal care appointments—only essential businesses would be allowed to stay open and we'd only be allowed to get takeout from restaurants. 

This would be a major blow to many of the city's small businesses. A statewide survey says that 54 percent of New York restaurant owners say they won’t survive the next six months without federal assistance.

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