On October 6, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new guidelines restricting attendance at religious services and closing all schools in nine ZIP code areas in Brooklyn and Queens following a recent spike of COVID-19 cases in those areas. The guidelines designate zip codes with a three percent or more increase of COVID-19 cases as red zones and would restrict attendance at religious services in these red zones to just 10 people. Governor Cuomo has threatened to close religious institutions down if they do not adhere to the new guidelines.
The Most Reverend Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn has called on Governor Cuomo to ease the restrictions in the red zones and permit churches to operate at 25% capacity without a cap of 10 people since the Catholic Churches in Brooklyn and Queens have not had any COVID-19 outbreaks or significant cases since reopening on July 5, 2020. The Diocese has strictly adhered to COVID-19 protocols which have been working. Parishes have incurred tremendous expense implementing these safety protocols and to restrict churches that have the capacity to hold a thousand people for Mass to 10 people is disrespectful to Catholics and to the clergy who have adhered to all of the guidelines of New York State.
In solidarity with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the New York State Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians believe that the draconian measures instituted by Governor Cuomo are not narrowly tailored to address the state’s legitimate interest in protecting the health and safety of the public. We respectfully call on Governor Cuomo to ease the restrictions and permit churches to operate at 25% capacity without a 10 person cap and to allow Catholic Schools who have not had an outbreak of COVID-19 cases to reopen with on-site learning.
Please contact Governor Cuomo and your local state Assemblymen and Senators calling on them to ease the restrictions of Catholic Churches and Catholic Schools.
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
In Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity,
Ancient Order of Hibernians – New York State Chairman Catholic Action