Gov. Cuomo says he may be forced to withhold funds to schools and local governments to battle COVID-19.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State will withhold funds for localities and schools in COVID-19 cluster zones that fail to enforce public health laws. The New York State Department of Health will send a letter warning local governments in cluster zones that they will lose state funding if they fail to enforce state limits on gatherings and the closure of schools. The letter will be sent to New York City, Orange County and Rockland County.

Governor Cuomo also announced that DOH will send an additional letter warning public and private schools in cluster zones that they will lose state funding if they do not comply with state requirements on closure and testing.

"We know that public and private schools in the red zones are supposed to be closed. We know that there were violations where yeshivas were operating. We know there were violations where religious gatherings were happening that exceeded the guidelines. This is especially a problem in Brooklyn and Orange and Rockland Counties," Cuomo said. "Number one, we are sending a notification to local governments saying they must enforce public health law under Section 16. If the local government does not effectively enforce the law, we will withhold funds. We're also sending a letter to all schools in the red zones saying to them that they must be closed. If they violate the Section 16 order, we will withhold funding from the schools. This is a last and final warning."

Cuomo's latest warning comes about a week after he closed schools and non-essential businesses in "Red Zone" focus areas of Orange County, Rockland County, Brooklyn and Queens.

Cuomo is blaming local governments in Rockland and Orange counties for not enforcing the new restrictions. However, Hudson Valley officials say residents have refused to follow protocols.

COVID-19 Positive Tests in "Red Zone" part of Orange County:

  • 9/27-10/3 % Positive: 24.64%
  • 10/4- 10/10 % Positive: 12.41%
  • Week to Date (10/11 - 10/13) % Positive: 8.64%
  • (10/11) % Positive: 3.51%
  • (10/12) % Positive: 14.38%
  • (10/13) % Positive: 7.41%

COVID-19 Positive Tests in "Red Zone" part of Rockland County:

  • 9/27-10/3 % Positive: 12.29%
  • 10/4- 10/10 % Positive: 9.77%
  • Week to Date (10/11 - 10/13) % Positive: 3.31%