The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York has granted a permanent injunction against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s capacity limitations on houses of worship in red and orange zones.
“The court grants a permanent injunction against enforcement of EO 202.68’s 25% capacity or maximum of 10-people, and 33% capacity or maximum of 25-peoplelimitations on houses of worship, respectively in red and orange zones,” wrote Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto.
The case was brought by Agudath Israel and several of its shuls in New York City.
In November 2020, the Supreme Court enjoined Cuomo’s restrictions against 10- and 25-people limits in houses of worship in a case brought by the Brooklyn Catholic Diocese, which oversees nearly 200 churches in Brooklyn and Queens.
In December 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned Cuomo’s restrictions in a unanimous decision. “We grant no special deference to the executive when the exercise of emergency powers infringes on constitutional rights,” wrote Judge Michael H. Park.
Agudah attorney Avi Schick said in a statement in response to the Eastern District court’s ruling, “There was no basis to treat shuls and davening more harshly than conduct such as office work and shopping. We are grateful that religious practice has been restored to its rightful place as the most essential of all activities.”