NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo does have the legal authority to impose sweeping restrictions on houses or worship and other businesses in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, a federal court ruled Friday.
A federal judge has refused to block Cuomo’s order limiting worship to as few as 10 congregants in communities seeing spikes in coronavirus infections.
U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis issued the ruling Friday in a lawsuit brought the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.
The judge said that while the restrictions do hurt religious groups, it is not in the public interest to block them if they are helping prevent a potentially deadly wave of new infections.
Cuomo last week ordered schools and businesses to close in six areas where COVID-19 infections have spiked.
“The Diocese of Brooklyn is extremely disappointed by today’s ruling, as we believe we presented a strong case in support of our right to worship. It is a shame our parishioners in the red zones cannot return to Mass when the judge acknowledged we have done everything right,” said Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said in a statement. “We are now considering our appellate options.”