NY's COVID hot spot restrictions upheld again in court

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A federal judge in upstate New York on Friday upheld the state's restrictions on religious gatherings in coronavirus hot spots.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe in Albany followed two other similar rulings earlier this month that also refused to block Gov. Andrew Cuomo's limits on areas in the state that are deemed COVID-19 hot spots.

The rules limit indoor prayer services to 10 people in areas where the virus is spreading fastest. In other areas within hot spots, indoor religious services are capped at 25 people.

The plaintiffs asking for the rules to be blocked include two Catholic priests who aren't currently in virus hot spots, as well as several Catholic and Jewish residents of parts of New York that had been designated as such.

In his decision denying a temporary restraining order against the rules, Sharpe said, “the court is satisfied that the initiative was guided by science and data."