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NYC's First Lockdown Weekend Yields $150K in Fines

Red zone neighborhoods are concentrated in Brooklyn and Queens
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2020 3:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – As New York City went back under lockdown amid a resurgence of the coronavirus, the city issued more than $150,000 in fines during the first weekend of the new restrictions, it announced on Twitter. Authorities gave out 62 tickets to people, businesses, and religious gathering places that violated rules having to do with gathering size, masks, or social distancing, the New York Times reports. For example, a restaurant and at least five houses of worship in the city's "red zones" where COVID-19 infection rates are highest, could each face up to $15,000 in fines for large gatherings, which NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week was the upper end of the penalties, per the New York Post. Penalties for those who refuse to wear masks were to be as high as $1,000.

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Most of the surges are being seen in Brooklyn and Queens, often in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods due to what officials say are large gatherings and a lack of social distancing. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order last week in which rules for gatherings in the city are based on the zone the neighborhood is in; the 20 red zone neighborhoods are seeing a positivity rate of 5.7%, while the rate across the rest of the state was less than 1% if excluding those clusters. But religious leaders have accused Cuomo and de Blasio of targeting religious minorities, with one national Orthodox organization and a Catholic diocese even suing to challenge the new requirements. The courts, however, allowed the new rules to proceed. Also among those cited this weekend? An illegal rave in Queens with more than 110 guests. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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