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Changes coming to NY's COVID-19 zones

Cuomo: NY to ease restrictions on zones showing improvement

All schools in Queens and some in Brooklyn shut by the state two weeks ago can reopen, Cuomo said, though they'll remain closed in parts of Brooklyn and all of Orange and Rockland counties.

He credited progress to focusing on "micro-clusters" and putting those areas under tighter restrictions.

"What this shows is that it is working," Cuomo said. "That’s good news. Celebrate. Don’t panic. Don’t fear … We have it managed. We know how to do this. We just have to do it."

Based on testing data, Cuomo said the state will convert red and orange zones into yellow zones, calling for lesser restrictions in parts of Brooklyn and all of Queens, where clusters affected the Borough Park and Far Rockaway, Kew Gardens and Forest Hills neighborhoods.

The statewide positivity rate as of Tuesday was measured at 1.6%.

Meanwhile on Long Island, Hampton Bays Elementary School went fully remote for Wednesday after receiving notice of a staff member’s positive test, according to a note on the Hampton Bays school district website.

The number of new positives reported today: 133 in Nassau, 113 in Suffolk, 839 in New York City and 2,026 statewide.

In case you missed it: Arizona and Maryland were added to the list of states and territories from which travelers must quarantine upon arrival here. View the map of the current states on the list.

The map below shows the concentration of new cases around Long Island. Search the map and view charts showing the latest local trends in new cases, hospitalizations, deaths and more.

Bayville Scream Park cited after weekend overcrowding

Hundreds of people were crowding the Bayville Scream Park on Saturday night before patrons even entered the haunted attraction.

It prompted the Nassau County fire marshal to issue written warnings and a dozen fire code violations. Fire marshal Robert Chernow arrived after midnight to find 200 to 300 people waiting in line outside the gate, despite an advance sale, timed-entry ticketing system designed to limit attendance.

State-issued guidelines for attractions like haunted houses include venues operating at a reduced capacity while monitoring the flow of traffic in and out to maintain social distancing.

Chris Lopez, of Glen Oaks, said he arrived with timed entry tickets to find a large crowd with a long entry line snaking through the park.

"They had no record of what time you got there or what time you were supposed to be there," said Lopez, 52, who went with his 16-year-old son, Jack, and three other teenagers. "Everybody was on top of everybody. It was a dangerous situation."

Curran: Hempstead won't negotiate over federal virus aid

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran accused Hempstead Town of having "refused to negotiate" over the county's request for $50 million of what the town received in federal coronavirus aid.

In August, Curran asked Hempstead Supervisor Donald Clavin to provide Nassau with $49.5 million to cover police services Curran said the county had provided in the town during the pandemic. Curran and Clavin have been tussling over federal pandemic aid since Hempstead received $133 million in CARES Act funding, while Nassau — with nearly twice the population — got $103 million.

On Monday, Curran made her most pointed plea yet for the funds during a news conference about coronavirus cases in Nassau.

The deadline to disburse the funds is Dec. 30, according to U.S. Treasury Department guidelines.

Suffolk DA investigating Southold cop's retirement party

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office is investigating Southold Town’s response to a May police retirement party, but the probe is on hold while the town’s outside counsel conducts its own investigation, according to a memo to the town.

Southold officials retained Justin Block, of Central Islip-based Sinnreich, Kosakoff & Messina LLP, in July as special counsel to the town. He was hired to investigate the Southold Police Department’s response to the May 29 party in Cutchogue for former Sgt. Steven Zuhoski.

Residents had complained that police ignored their phone calls reporting party guests weren't following social distancing protocols and fireworks were being shot off. Witnesses said dozens attended the event in violation of state guidelines, which at the time limited gatherings to 10 people.

More to know

Cuomo responded to President Donald Trump’s criticism of his new book about the coronavirus response on Tuesday, calling him a 'superspreader' and saying he's responsible for the virus-related deaths in the state.

Commercial tenants got another reprieve after Cuomo signed an executive order extending protections until Jan. 1 — the same date on which the residential eviction moratorium expires.

Long Island's unemployment rate dropped in September, but data shows the decrease was due to people who stopped looking for work or dropped out of the labor force altogether.

As the World Series got underway, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said he hopes to keep the pandemic's expanded playoffs and extra-inning rule for future seasons.

News for you

Watching football during a pandemic. Fans won't be able to be at MetLife Stadium to watch, but Long Island restaurants are offering creative viewing options to watch the game from a safe distance. From game-day brunch to watching outdoors, here's what some places are doing.

Malverne theater to reopen with 'It's a Wonderful Life.' The Malverne Cinema and Art Center will celebrate its reopening Friday with showings of the first film ever to play there, Frank Capra’s 1946 classic.

Don't want to go to NYC? You can still get the cookies. Levain Bakery is making its cookies even more widely available: They can now be purchased frozen at your local Whole Foods Market.

A virtual concert for Tom Petty. The annual birthday bash for the late Tom Petty is going virtual Friday — three days after what would have been his 70th birthday. It will include a free concert you can find on Amazon Music's Twitch Channel and, with audio simulcast on SiriusXM. Get the details.

Plus: What should you do with your 401(k) if you lose your job? Here's a breakdown on what the experts advise.

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Let's save the movies. Stephen L. Carter, of Bloomberg Opinion, writes: I miss going to the movies. The real movies: sitting in a darkened theater, a face in the crowd, enjoying a serious drama or a silly sci-fi franchise on the big screen. If the theaters vanish, I'll lose a quiet pleasure; we as a nation will lose one of our last democratic entertainments.

And vanish they might. In the wake of the global pandemic, we're being warned that the industry faces an existential crisis. We've heard such tidings before, but this time, say the Cassandras, the crisis is real. Whether due to emergency decree or fear of infection, people are staying home in droves.

Hollywood's response has been to postpone "tentpole" movies to 2021 — on the optimistic assumption that next year, the theaters will be full. Thus we see a predictable negative synergy: If there are no big movies, few people will go; if few people go, the big movies will be postponed even further. Keep reading.