Benjamin Parker/Sun Assistant Photo Editor

A.D. White sits outside of Goldwin Smith Hall, mask on.

November 12, 2020

As Cases Surge, New York State Bans Most Gatherings, Nightlife

Print More

In March, New York swiftly shuttered activity at bars, restaurants and all other non-essential businesses as COVID-19 case counts skyrocketed across the state. On Wednesday, as the state faces an eerily similar herald, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced that many of these same restrictions now must return. 

As of Friday at 10 p.m., all gatherings at private residences larger than 10 will be banned, a measure that takes particular aim at house parties and other social gatherings, Cuomo said. Bars, restaurants, gyms and any establishment with a license from the New York State liquor authority also must close at 10 p.m. –– sans takeout service.

The measures come as the state faces a resurgence of COVID-19 that public officials had worked for months to keep at bay, with the state reporting daily new case totals not seen since late April and early May. In Tompkins County, the health department reported 19 new cases on Wednesday. 

On a call with reporters, the governor said the surge in cases had roots in four spaces: House parties, bars, restaurants and gyms. Local governments will be responsible for enforcing the new restrictions. 

In Collegetown, that means places like Loco Cantina and Luna Street Food will be forced to stop service early. Cornell had already capped student gatherings at 10 people, but now state regulations will add an extra layer of enforcement.

“There are only two fundamental truths in this situation: it’s individual discipline and it’s government enforcement,” Cuomo said in a press release. “Period. End of sentence. I need the local governments to enforce this.”

The restrictions on gatherings do not apply to Cornell’s in person classes, University spokesperson Abby Butler confirmed in a statement to The Sun, which anyway end on Friday before the regulations take effect. 

Similar to the trends in rising cases statewide, social gatherings at Cornell were responsible for the early spike the University saw in September. Since then, the University has largely contained the virus with its massive surveillance testing program. On Wednesday, Cornell reported a total of only four positive cases among students, dating one week back from Nov. 9.

On Nov. 3, New York ended its COVID-19 travel advisory list that mandated travelers from a list of states to quarantine. Now, all who have visited any other state must provide a negative test result first within three days of arrival in New York, and another negative result after a three day quarantine. Those who refuse to must quarantine for 14 days. 

The Southern Tier is currently tallying the highest number of cases it has seen during the pandemic –– it largely avoided the spring and summer outbreaks. 

Locally, Tompkins Cortland Community College shifted to remote learning for one week on Monday after it reported an 11 person cluster among students. Cornell and TC3 have been the only colleges in Ithaca to adopt a hybrid model of instruction this semester.