NY Gov Cuomo Threatens to 'Close' Churches & Synagogues That Refuse to Obey His Order
New York governor blames religious institutions for COVID-19 spread
New York's Democrat governor, Andrew Cuomo, has threatened to "close" churches and synagogues that refuse to obey his COVID-19 order.
On Monday, Gov. Cuomo blamed religious institutions — specifically Jewish synagogues — for the spread of the Chinese virus, arguing they are not following his coronavirus restrictions.
“We know religious institutions have been a problem,” Cuomo said during a Monday press conference.
"We know mass gatherings are the super spreader events.
"We know there have been mass gatherings going on in concert with religious institutions in these communities for weeks. For weeks,” he continued.
“I don’t mean little violations."
“I’m talking about, you’re only supposed to have 50 outdoors, they had 1,000,” Cuomo continued, according to The Daily Caller.
The governor referred to photos from “the past couple of weeks,” calling the pictures “emblematic” of the mass religious gatherings occurring during the pandemic.
.@NYGovCuomo blames large gatherings in the Hasidic community for spread of COVID-19 — highlights selichot in Satmar-Kiryas Joel and event in Chabad-Crown Heights as examples of social distancing violations pic.twitter.com/qcHDC9bwhJ— Jacob Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) October 5, 2020
However, it appears the photos Cuomo referred to are from 2006 and show the funeral of Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, according to Jewish Insider’s Jacob Kornbluh.
Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to an inquiry regarding the photos.
Apparently the picture @NYGovCuomo put up in his presentation today of a “recent” large gathering in Satmar Kiryas Joel is from 2006 — the funeral of Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum in Kiryas Joel! pic.twitter.com/CxGtHhyZUj— Jacob Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) October 5, 2020
Cuomo said that he understood that closing down religious institutions can lead to “uncomfortable” situations, but that he will tell the Orthodox community on Tuesday: “If you’re not willing to live with these rules, then I’m going to close the synagogues.”
“I have had a 30-year relationship with the Orthodox community,” he added.
“It goes back to my father.
"I have a very close personal relationship with them.
"This is the last thing I want to do, forget the politics, I don’t care about that anymore.
"Personally, I don’t want to have this conversation. It’s a difficult conversation.
"And you’re right on the line of government intrusion on religion. So it’s hard.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "I have to say to the Orthodox community tomorrow, 'If you're not willing to live with these rules, then I'm going to close the synagogues.'" pic.twitter.com/QWOPvZMbFI— The Hill (@thehill) October 5, 2020
The New York governor also described how health department officials can help monitor whether religious institutions are following coronavirus restrictions.
Cuomo offered the example of a Nassau County Department of Health Official who is stationed in front of St. Peter’s church.
“The capacity is 150,” he said, speaking as a hypothetical state official running the task force.
"You stand at the front door.
"When they go over 75, you close the door and call me.
"And if you have any problem, the state police officer is down the block, and he will come help you.”