NY UPDATES All Schools Including Yeshivas MUST Close; Inspectors Shutdown Multiple Weddings


There is some uncertainty regarding two issues that dozens of people in New York have asked YWN to clarify. We spoke with NYS Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein who spent the day in Albany, and answered both pressing questions to clarify for those asking.

The first is school closures.

Governor Cuomo today announced that he’s signing an executive order directing all schools in New York to close by Wednesday, March 18 for two weeks ending April 1. This includes all Yeshivas and other private schools.

At that time, the state will reassess whether to extend the school closures further.

School districts will be required to develop a plan for alternative instructional options, including distance learning; distribution and availability of meals; and daycare, with an emphasis on children of parents of first responders and healthcare workers. Those plans must be submitted to the State Education Department, who can amend or modify those plans in consultation with the State Department of Health and the Office of Children and Family Services at any time.

School districts in Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk and the City of New York must submit a plan from each respective municipality to the state for approval no later than midnight tonight.

The second issue is catering halls and outdoor weddings / events.

All catering halls are considered restaurants and must be closed. Therefore, there are some weddings planned in the next few days to take place outdoors. The NYS Health Department was specific in their restriction that Governor Cuomo had mentioned earlier on Monday: No more than 50 people are to gather together. This includes any outdoor event.

Meanwhile, YWN has confirmed that at least two wedding halls in Brooklyn were visited by the FDNY Marshals in charge of enforcing the 50 person rule policy. Both weddings promptly ended and warnings were given. One had 300 people there. Additionally, YWN has learned that another wedding in Nassau County was visited by the Nassau County Police and were told that hundreds of people needed to leave immediately, and just 50 people were allowed to stay.

One leading community activist tells YWN that there are many, many confirmed cases of Coronavirus in a certain part of the 5 Towns, and doctors and health officials are appalled and shocked at the recklessness of some people.

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  1. Why would any catering hall knowingly violate the 50 person rule?? They should have their license suspended for risking the public health. In a few months, this will hopefully be behind us but until then, anything that can be done to slow the spread is an imperative.

  2. Everyone involved is so foolish. The information coming from Italy is so dire. Thousands infected. Hundreds dying. Italy is in crisis. They don’t have enough beds in their ICU’s to treat everyone, so they have to decide who will be treated and who will languish.
    What kind of a chance is this to take with one’s life? This is tempting fate. People are assuming either that no one is infected or that they are impervious to the virus. This is truly a foolish mistake! I understand the ba’alei hasimcha want a typical wedding, but this is shaas hadchak.

  3. Please people, if you read this, take this seriously. We are at a precipice where every act that contributes to more people getting COVID-19 is putting lives at risk. People will die as a result. Do not be in large groups or close to other people. Each of us needs to be vigilant about this. Read the stories out of Italy as that is what we may be facing here in short order. Do you want to be crying at a funeral of a loved one who died without receiving the proper medical care, because there just was not enough medical equipment to help them?

    I really hope at this late hour, people wake up and start to take this seriously. In Italy, they had interviews with some people today who said that they wish they had realized the seriousness 10 days ago and taken action sooner.

    R’ Schachter recently paskened that this is a situation of pikuach nefesh and anyone spreading this is being oiver an issur D’Oraisia. If you hear opinions otherwise, at some point one has to wonder if you have an obligation to seek the emes (especially considering this is [likely] an issur d’oraisa, which I don’t think we have had anyone in the last millenia of the proper stature to say you can be oiver). The truth here is this is a very serious situation unprecedented in our lifetimes.

  4. can anyone explain why can hundreds of people be in shopping malls supermarkets and airports etc. at one time? but we are forced to limit people at Simcha halls and minyanim in Bais Hamedrish !!!!

  5. I’m just wondering – will anyone go running to Rav Chaim, Shlita, to get his view on this shut-down of Yeshivos, then dig in their heals to insist that they stay open because “Torah protects”? If not, why is this different from Israel, where Chareidi mosdos are staying open in the face of a clear situation where the experts in the field say there is true Sakanas Nefashos? “Ein Somchin Al HaNes” should trump “Torah Magina” when there’s a clear Sakana – after all, you don’t set up your Shtender in middle of a busy street and say “Torah Magina”! I just hope we don’t have to be Somech on “Shomer Pesa’im Hashem”!

    an Israeli Yid

  6. What on earth does the community expect these brides and grooms to do? goyim don’t get it but we know these couples won’t just get married in the rabbis office or in Vegas. We know they would have to postpone their wedding for months which is not recommended for religious couples. We know the huge expense invested in the wedding. My heart goes out to these couples who now have to be married like in wartime with just handful of people and no party. I know several people who are now getting married at home in a small ceremony and hoping to make a party at a later date. This is a first for our community- even in a blizzard the weddings are usually Packed! (With strangers too but who cares) hopefully the couples will be mature and understand (and maybe their parents will give them the extra cash to start a house fund) but it’s still hard. Just last month their friends had big bashes with all their loved ones and half the city too.

  7. Get married in a Rabbi’s office with witnesses, NY Concord Grape Wine,— same halachic marriage as anyone else. Have the “party” later on in the year. I feel worse for Bar Mitzvah boys, because after practicing for years, you can’t lein Vayakhel-Pekudei at a later date in the year.

  8. what does that mean someones getting married and their simcha should be taken away from them thats rishus by the fdny marshal and i live in the five towns and there are not alot of cases anywhere here so whoever is spreading false rumors please stop right now its a huge chillul hashem and motse shem ra

  9. well at least this way the community gets first dibs on the ventilators. smh

    as far as why not also close supermarkets, this thing has been visibly coming since December, and ample time has been given to fill freezers and store dry goods, as well as get masks.

    The reason the Chinese arrested the growth of the plague was by shutting everything down and wearing masks.

    also there are delivery options at grocery stores to limit exposure.

    people can still get married, get a bris, learn, daven.

    however, choosing to carry on like normal jeopardizes life.

  10. Also, this plague is very sneaky, many carriers are asymptomatic and cases double every 5 days. “not a lot of cases” x 50 days is 1024x as many cases.

  11. Too many people are suffering from what it says in Parshas Nisavim והתברך בלבבו לאמר שלום יהיה לי
    I too thought big deal until my friends Rebbe shut down his shul in Boro Park. Do you think a rebbe of hundreds of chasidim will take it upon himself no davening with minyon, no learning in shul if it wasn’t necessary? People stop being delusional we see what happened in other places. I daven that in three weeks we should all be well, We will be so tired of this mess that when Moshiach announces “I’m here let’s bring a Korbon Pesach” we will run as fast as we can to do it.

  12. @anIsraeliYid – All/Most chareidi mosdos are closed and kolilim are in groups of 10 or less all in accordance with government directives and Rav Chaim’s p’sak. I have two children in Eretz Yisroel, living in two different cities, with children ranging in age from 17 to 1, and they both report the same thing. Either you have been misinformed or have an agenda to push. I will assume it’s the first.

  13. @sariray – what better zechus to begin building a bayis ne’eman b’Yisroel and for raising doros yisharim than following the unanimous p’sak of all Gedolei Yisroel and of protecting acheinu B’nei Yisroel? Making a chillul HaShem is a better choice? The hall, flowers, shmorg, music is so important?

  14. @greesy – You’re not serious. Please tell me you’re nor serious and that this some attempt at belated Purim Torah or sarcastic humor.

  15. shuali – I am not misinformed, but I do have an agenda – an agenda to save lives of fellow Jews here in Israel. The government directive is to SHUT ALL SCHOOLS AND HAVE NO CLASSES OR SESSIONS, EVEN WITH LESS THAN TEN PEOPLE. The “ten person” rule is for general gatherings, but specifically NOT for schools. Those who are continuing to have classes of less than ten are picking and choosing, but are most definitely NOT following government directives.

    My children’s schools have been shut since last week, and they’ve been having some type of class on-line (or via dial-in for those who do not have internet). My sons have arranged to learn with Chavrusos by phone. These arrangements are obviously not as good as being in Yeshiva or school, but in a time of Sakana, one listens to the experts – not an answer from a Gadol that was the right answer, but to the wrong question. Rav Chaim, Shlita, was asked the question with material detail missing, and answered with a quote from a Gemara – but as the detail given to him was incomplete, the Psak is completely irrelevant to the situation at hand.

    an Israeli Yid