Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo lambasted a South Shore councilman on Thursday for mocking newly announced state restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus — even if it means not having a big family Thanksgiving.
The retort — delivered during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily briefing — came hours after Councilman Joe Borelli (R-SI), tweeted that he would ignore the new state rules restricting the size of gatherings in homes over the holidays and questioned the severity of the rise in coronavirus cases across the city and state.
“I will not be spending Thanksgiving — my brothers will not be coming in and sitting around the same table,” Oddo told his fellow Republican. “You have to live your values, and to me, over the last eight months, in this hyper-opinionated age, my North Star is science.
“I’m going to rest with that. I feel comfortable in living true to those values and that means avoiding gatherings inside when you can,” he added. “On this one, we disagree, big time.”
Oddo joined de Blasio at City Hall for the press conference a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he was imposing ‘yellow zone’ coronavirus restrictions across much of Staten Island in a first attempt to battle back a surge in coronavirus cases there.
It was part of a larger announcement from Cuomo that also included ordering restaurants and bars to end indoor and outdoor in-person service at 10 p.m. beginning Friday and imposing a new 10-person cap on private gatherings indoors.
Staten Island is home to several city ZIP codes with the highest positivity rates in the city — and it’s closely connected to New Jersey, which is suffering through a coronavirus outbreak of its own and has led city and state officials to beg New Yorkers not to cross the Hudson during the holidays.
But the mounting crisis didn’t stop Borelli from taking to Twitter to question and mock the new rules, including daring authorities to come by his house on Thanksgiving Day where he said his gathering will exceed the newly imposed state limits.
“I’ll be having more than 10 ppl at my house on Thanksgiving. My address is public record. Some family will come from (gasp!) New Jersey,” Borelli wrote. “Kids will see their grandparents, cousins will play in the yard, sis in law will bring strawberry rhubarb pie, & a turkey will be overcooked.”
The usually verbose de Blasio — who has never been popular on Staten Island — left much of the commentary about Borelli to Oddo, but chimed in to add that he, too, will not be seeing his family for the holidays.
“Everyone’s feeling a lot about this situation and it’s so frustrating and it’s painful,” Hizzoner told the cameras. “I’m going to be missing some of the people I’m closest to in the world for these holidays. I hate it, but I also know it has to be done to protect everyone.”
The bipartisan pair made the remarks as the latest batch of data from the city’s Health Department again offered new evidence of a coronavirus comeback in the Big Apple.
Over the last seven days, 2.6 percent of COVID-19 tests have come back positive. That’s the highest level since June when testing was far less widespread and nearing de Blasio’s 3 percent threshold for moving public schools back from indoor learning to all-remote instruction.
And the number of daily new cases continued to surge, hitting 870, well above the city’s warning threshold of 550.
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