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Cuomo threatens to withhold funding to schools, local governments that don't enforce shutdown orders


The Capitol building in Albany. - FILE PHOTO
  • The Capitol building in Albany.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is threatening to withhold state funding from schools in COVID-19 hot spot areas that are remaining open despite the governor’s closure orders.

Cuomo said he will also hold back state funds from local governments that fail to adequately police the areas identified by health officials as COVID-19 clusters.

The hot spots are in portions of New York City, as well as Orange and Rockland counties in the Hudson Valley, and include some Orthodox Jewish communities, which Cuomo called “politically powerful.” Despite school shutdown orders, some yeshivas have remained open, and others have failed to obey rules to wear masks and strictly limit large gatherings.

Cuomo said the schools won’t get state funding, and local governments will see their state funds withheld, if they don’t enforce the containment regulations. The governor says he has no other choice.

“Because nothing else I have done has motivated them,” Cuomo said. “Maybe money works."

The governor, who has fought with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over whether the city is doing enough to enforce the rules, says if he had a chance to redo his virus response plans, he would hire a state-run staff of enforcement agents to make sure New Yorkers follow all of the regulations.

Karen DeWitt is Albany correspondent for WXXI News.