As N.Y. cases, hospitalizations, deaths bottom out, Cuomo threatens to shut down restaurants again

The governor said increasing numbers of large gatherings may compel him to re-institute business closures.

Updated: July 21, 2020 - 4:29pm

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is railing against residents who he says are irresponsibly getting together in large groups, threatening to unilaterally reimpose statewide restaurant closures if such get-togethers do not immediately cease. 

The governor's warning Monday came as cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in the state have all effectively bottomed out, reaching three-month lows and showing no immediate signs of increasing. 

What inspired the governor's tirade wasn't clear. The state's coronavirus dashboard gives no indication that any of the key metrics of the COVID-19 pandemic — new infections, hospital admittances and fatalities — are on the rise. All three of those measures largely flatlined nearly two months ago. 

Cuomo's office did not respond Tuesday to a request for information on why the governor wants to reimpose the restaurant ban. 

Yet Cuomo delivered a stern warning, telling residents to refrain from gathering in large groups without giving them a timeline of when such gatherings might be permitted to resume. 

"We cannot allow those congregations to continue," the Democratic governor said.

"If it happens, I'll tell you what's going to happen," he continued. "We will have to roll back the bar and restaurant opening if the congregations continue." 

"If the local governments don't stop it, that is what is going to happen," he added, suggesting that local authorities are not doing enough to break up large groups. 

Cuomo, like most U.S. governors, in March shut down much of the state economy and strictly regulated the way New Yorkers congregate, worship, shop and socialize. 

It was not immediately clear on Monday when Cuomo believes large groups will be acceptable again. Many authorities have claimed that life should not be allowed to resume its normal pace until a vaccine is developed. 

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