Cuomo Warns New Yorkers He Could Reverse Reopening Plans If Social Distancing Guidelines Aren’t Followed
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the state had received 25,000 complaints of social distancing violations, the majority of which were reported in Manhattan and the Hamptons.
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a strong rebuke over the weekend after receiving 25,000 complaints of reopening violations across the state — hundreds of people were seen drinking in New York City, many of whom were not wearing face masks.
On Friday, a large crowd assembled in the city's East Village neighborhood, where people were captured on video congregating outside open bars and restaurants while a live band played in the background. Many of the people were seen with beverages in hand, and while some wore protective face coverings, a large number did not.
“Don’t make me come down there,” Cuomo wrote in response to one of the videos.
The following night, NYPD vehicles drove around the area while playing a pre-recorded message about practicing social distance, according to The New York Post, noting that some of the people out drinking responded to the presence of law enforcement by booing them.
Although phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan allows groups of up to 10 people to gather in public, while keeping six feet of space between them, outdoor dining is not allowed until phase 2, a milestone the city is not likely to reach before July. The outside drinking also violates open container laws.
Making it crystal-clear how seriously he’s taking the violations, Cuomo warned New Yorkers that if the laws continue to be ignored, bars and restaurants could lose their liquor licenses — and he could even reverse reopening plans.
Although the number of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations across the state has continued to decrease, Cuomo warned during his daily press conference on Sunday that “those numbers can change in a week.”
“This is a very serious situation, and I want to make sure everyone knows the consequences,” he continued. “We are not kidding around with this. You’re talking about jeopardizing people’s lives.”
While Cuomo noted that he understands that enforcing these kinds of laws are “not popular,” the alternative would be much worse. “You know what’s more unpopular?” he asked. “If that region closes because that local government did not do their job. And that can happen.”
Noting that the majority of the complaints the state has received were from violations that took place in Manhattan and the Hamptons, which recently entered phase 2 of reopening, the governor warned that those are the areas he would close first, before making a statewide decision.
“I am warning today, in a nice way, consequences of your actions,” he said. “I’m not going to turn a blind eye to them. New Yorkers deserve better.”
“I am not going to allow situations to exist that we know have a high likelihood of causing an increase in the spread of the virus. And if we increase the spread of the virus in Manhattan because of bars and restaurants, well then everyone in Manhattan is going to suffer, and that’s not fair either,” he added.
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