Governor threatens to withhold funding to communities, schools that don’t follow COVID protocols

This is what Governor Cuomo wants to see in Hasidic COVID-19 red zones - empty classrooms, closed schools.

ALBANY – Continuation of schooling at some yeshivas in the red zone COVID-19 clusters in the Monroe-Palm Tree and Spring Valley areas will result in their mandatory closure and the withholding of state funds, Governor Cuomo said on Wednesday.

The same goes for large gatherings in those communities; they are prohibited.

“How much would we penalize them, it depends and it would be in our discretion, but we could impound all funds. More than anything, I want them to do enforcement,” he said.

The governor continued to drive home that the individual local governments must enforce the coronavirus protocols, which in the hotspot clusters means no large social gathering and schools closed.

The COVID-19 positivity rate statewide on Wednesday was 0.95 percent. In the Rockland County hot-spot the rate was 7.2 percent while in Orange County it stood 7.4.

Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus spoke with Cuomo on Wednesday and talked about the county and state working together to enforce the COVD-19 protocols. “We also discussed the possibility of more action in the courts. The local towns and the school districts that are not adhering to these guidelines and are staying open are in the governor’s crosshairs, not the counties,” said Neuhaus.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day also spoke with Cuomo. “We are committed to the mission of protecting the people of Rockland but increasing our staffing contribution to fill the gaps left by the Town of Ramapo and Village of Spring Valley that flat out refuse to enforce the Governor’s Executive Orders is not our preferred course of action,” Day said. “Each staff member we assign from within County Government will have a direct impact on the services we provide for all of our residents in each and every town.”

Day said four county health department staffers partnered with state personnel on Wednesday and are undertaking patrol and enforcement actions within the Red and Yellow cluster zones. Ten additional county employees will be joining the efforts in the coming days.

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