New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new orders Monday for the State's hospitals and that based on the monitoring by his administration, hospitalization rates would determine indoor dining reductions.
And National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease director Dr Anthony Fauci has warned that COVID-19 cases could spike in the middle of january.
New York City currently has 25 percent indoor capacity for restaurants and among other guidelines the restaurants are required to carry out include; checking the temperatures of every customer at the front door, collecting contact information from at least one customer in each party and close bar tops for seating or serving.
As per new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance released Friday that focuses on mitigating indoor spread, Cuomo said that indoor dining will be closed or reduced in a region if that area's hospitalization rate has not stabilized.
For New York City which has a 25 percent indoor capacity, that would mean shuttering of indoor dining. The rest of the State would have their indoor capacity reduced from 50 percent to 25 percent.
Cuomo said during a press briefing that a region will be declared a red zone in the event of critical hospital capacity which he put at 90 percent. He said that NY pause order would go into effect in that region if they are projected to hit 90 percent capacity within three weeks.
Surge and flex systems are also being implemented across hospitals, while retired doctors and nurses are being called upon to assist out of retirement.
Cuomo said he does not expect hospitalizations to decrease over the next week.
And Dr Fauci said without substantial mitigation, the middle of January could be a dark time for the nation warning that Thanksgiving holiday surge and potential upcoming winter holiday surge will be superimposed.
Meanwhile, as K-5, Pre-K and 3-K students returned to school for in person learning Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city also hopes middle and high school students will get back in school as soon as possible.
"Practically that means in the middle of January and when we have that secured, then we move to High School. We do constant evaluation to improve distant learning. One of the things we think is important is that the more we can move to five day a week in schools, we will then no longer have blended learning for kids who are attending in person. We will just have kids attending in person and then the other kids, the families will choose remote learning. Rather than having three elements of our education system, we will make it two and that's going to make things a lot more straightforward and allow us to use our teaching talents more effectively," said mayor de Blasio during a briefing at City Hall.
Mayor de Blasio said there will be learning losses this year that have to be addressed.
"We're gonna have to talk about what that looks like and how we are going to go into September with an aggressive plan to address that. I am convinced that we will be back in person in September across the board five days a week for all kids. As the vaccine distributes, we might make some major improvements to ensure our kids can be in school in this school year," said Mayor de Blasio.
New York City department of education Chancellor Richard Carranza said as a way of maintaining good grades among students during virtual learning, the department was looking at developing a more digital curriculum.
"As a process of continuous improvement, we are looking at developing more digital curriculum, having best practices from teachers out there that are doing exceptional work in this virtual space. We are also having collaborative groups where teachers and educators are able to share those practices as well. We delivered over 60000 devices and we are well on track to make sure that every student that told us they need the device will have it. We have to understand that parents, teachers, students and everyone is exhausted. We had to transition to this new learning way in a very short space of time. It hasn't relented since March. There is tremendous hope on the horizon" said Carranza.