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‘Rise up red zones:’ Businesses hurt by virus shutdown implore Brooklynites to shop local

An initiative by the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition is calling on Brooklyn residents to support local small businesses in largely Jewish neighborhoods that were,until recently, designated “red zones,” under New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 policies.

“After struggling through a difficult red zone shut down, shopping local has never been more important to us,” said the red signs appearing on several Brooklyn businesses.

Many New York businesses have struggled financially in the last year, and according to the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs, more than 1 million New Yorkers were receiving unemployment benefits as of September.

In early October, several Brooklyn neighborhoods with large Jewish communities were designated “red zones” by Gov. Cuomo, meaning they had coronavirus positivity rates of more than 4% for at least 10 days.

This week, many of the neighborhoods, including parts of heavily-Orthodox Midwood, dropped to an “orange” designation as coronavirus cases subsided, allowing businesses to begin to reopen.

The coronavirus spike and subsequent restrictions on schools and businesses triggered demonstrations against the governor’s decision, saying that restrictions were discriminatory and specifically targeted at the Orthodox community.

Now, schools are still shuttered and synagogues are limited to 33% capacity, but many nonessential businesses have been permitted to reopen.

However, despite the decline in those neighborhoods, positivity rate are rising in the rest of New York State, topping 3% statewide for the first time since May.

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