Cuomo said he wasn’t certain that he would get the full support and agreement from community leaders because he’s already heard from some religious leaders that they believe their community is advocating a “herd immunity” or saying that “masks are hoax.”
Showing a photo of mass gathering of Chassidic men during his Monday press briefing, Cuomo said: “You’ve all seen pictures like this for weeks. What did you think was going to happen? What did you think was going to happen?”
When a reporter noted that at least two major Sukkot-related concerts were planned in Brooklyn this week, the governor said: “You can’t have a concert mass gathering today, you can’t. I don’t care what ZIP code you live in.”
However, New York Satmar leaders said that the photos used by Cuomo were from a gathering back in 2006.
Today @NYGovCuomo shows a picture of Orthodox Jews at a mass gathering. “What did you think was going to happen? He says, “These have been going on for weeks” Well, Gov this Picture is from the 2006 Funeral of the previous Satmar Grand Rebbe, 14 years ago! #Fakenews & Fake facts! pic.twitter.com/YEiq5WVeqo
— Satmar Headquarters (@HQSatmar) October 5, 2020
Noting that he has a “30-year relationship with the Orthodox community going back to my father [former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo],” the governor said that “tomorrow, I will have to tell them ‘if you are not willing to live with these rules, I will have to close the synagogues.’ … 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; you are right on the line of government intrusion.”
The governor also took issue with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s handling of the ongoing pandemic, claiming the city isn’t doing enough when it comes to law enforcement.
“Everybody knows the laws. They are not being enforced; they have to be enforced,” the governor said as he was wrapping up his presser. “If you don’t enforce the law, the virus will spread.”
Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, director of New York government relations at Agudath Israel of America, said, “We consider the closing of our yeshivahs as a tragedy of the highest proportion. As of now, most of our schools are closed now due to the holiday. We hope that with our community’s cooperation, we will get the numbers down sufficiently to allow our schools to open as soon as possible after Sukkot.”