It was a surprise to many Sunset Park residents when it was revealed a large part of the neighborhood is part of the Orange Zone of the COVID-19 zone finder.
According to the Sunset Park Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), 36th to 64th streets, Fourth to Ninth avenues, have been included as part of the zone.
This means, according to the city, that gyms, fitness centers and personal care services (barbers, hair salons, spas, tattoo or piercing parlors, nail technicians and nail salons, cosmetologists, estheticians, laser hair removal and electrolysis, etc.) must close.
Only up to 25 people at a time will be able to attend houses of worship. Indoor dining at restaurants and schools will be closed for at least two weeks.
The news was disappointing for David Estrada, executive director for the Sunset Park Fifth Avenue BID, who said the city is distributing COVID Orange Zone information store by store on Fifth Avenue today and will do so throughout the weekend.
“It’s painful and frustrating to ask personal service businesses to close again and for restaurants to stop serving inside when they just got started,” he said. “But we’re obligated to spread the word and help our shops avoid fines.”
Back in August, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that Sunset Park had experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases. At the time, data showed the percentage in positivity in the 11220 ZIP code was 4.2 percent.
However, numbers have improved. By the end of the month, the seven-day rolling average for that community was 2.5 percent.
“The most intense areas of concern in Brooklyn may be at some distance from Fifth Avenue, but our area is vulnerable to flare-ups, and we’ve already suffered terrible health impacts and loss of life. If we work together we can beat the virus,” Estrada said. “Then let’s all focus on getting our lives and businesses back on the road to recovery.”
Estrada added that while neighbors find the new shutdown and zone’s borders confusing and unfair, the goal is to prevent a potential spread.
“Those are important questions because our lives and businesses are so severely impacted,” he said. “For the moment, public health and reducing community transmission of the disease must be top priorities.”
Business in the district will be receiving information in several languages in the coming days.