Local governments and schools could lose out on state funding if they fail to enforce guidelines for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned on Wednesday.
"Hopefully that will motivate them,” Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters.
Letters will be sent to officials in New York City, Orange County, and Rockland County, as well as the town of Ramapo and the village of Spring Valley, where there has been an increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.
Schools that are operating amid orders to close in "red zone" areas that have seen an uptick in positive cases could also face a loss of state aid, Cuomo said.
New York officials want to stave off a "second wave" of COVID-19 cases during the pandemic. Overall, New York's statewide infection rate is at 1.1 percent in the last day. But Cuomo in the call argued that figure is "skewed" because it includes hot spot areas like Brooklyn, Queens and the Hudson Valley where cases have increased.
Without those cases and the rise in tests taken into consideration, New York's COVID-19 rate stands at 0.95 percent over the last day.
Cuomo on Wednesday said it's likely "flare ups" of cases -- localized clusters of coronavirus -- are to be expected. But the goal is to minimize those cases and contain them to a specific area as quickly as possible.
The governor has been critical of how some local governments have handled enforcement of pandemic safety guidelines and said on Wednesday he should have taken a firmer hand in making sure officials were enforcing the rules.
Cuomo also announced the band The Chainsmokers would be fined $20,000 for holding a concert earlier this summer on eastern Long Island. The town of Southampton would also face sanctions for allowing the event to go forward.