As New York City continues to be pounded by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, some suburbs are urging residents to stay in the city and steer clear until the virus is under control.
Since the outbreak, some affluent suburbs on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley have seen a surge of Manhattan residents with summer homes in the suburbs heading there, bringing the virus with them.
According to reports, some locales that would typically be more dormant during the winter are now flooded like it’s the heart of the summer, though there may not be enough hospital capacity or supplies if the virus was to spread further in some remote suburbs.
On the East End on Long Island, officials are appealing to New York City residents to stay away due to a lack of hospital beds, which could be problematic as cases have spiked in municipalities such as Southold, and the Hamptons.
Anyone who travels out of New York City into neighboring municipalities has been ordered to enter a self-quarantine for two weeks by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
White House Coronavirus Task Force Response Coordinator Barbara Birx previously said that “we are starting to see new cases come across Long Island that suggests people have left the city. So this will be very critical that those individuals do self-quarantine in their homes over these next 14 days to make sure they don't pass the virus to others based on the time that they left New York, so if they are already four days out, then it's just 10 more days.”
Aside from the fear of a lack of hospital beds, many of the quaint, popular summer vacation spots lack the necessary infrastructure to keep up with the services people are demanding, including food and emergency services.
Town supervisors in Southampton, Southold, and some other suburbs have also considered travel bans as a precaution, though nothing has been made official.
One Southold resident said, “we’ve been out here for 13 days from Brooklyn, and the supermarket is having trouble keeping up with the demand. We were lucky enough to get in and stock up before everyone started heading out this way.”
The exodus of people fleeing New York City has also led to unsustainable demand for summer rentals in the suburbs, with prices at some locations skyrocketing, with some costing tens of thousands of dollars monthly.
Those who haven’t been able to secure a place to stay on the East End of Long Island have now started making their way north to spots in the Hudson Valley.
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