New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has threatened to take drastic measures following thousands of complaints of social distancing violations over the weekend as the state recovers from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Cuomo threatened to reinstate closures in parts of New York - specifically Manhattan and Hamptons - after photos and videos on social media showed bars, restaurants, and party-goers failing to adhere to the state’s social distancing laws amid the pandemic during the warm weather.
"We are not kidding around with this," Cuomo said. "You’re talking about jeopardizing people’s lives."
“We have received 25,000 complaints of reopening violations,” he said. “Bars or restaurants that violate the law can lose their liquor license. People with open containers in the street can be fined. Police and protesters not wearing masks can be fined. Local governments must enforce the law.
“The violation complaints are predominantly from Manhattan and the Hamptons,” Cuomo continued. “Lots of violations of social distancing, parties in the street, restaurants, and bars ignoring laws. Enforce the law or there will be state action.”
Cuomo said that Manhattan and the Hamptons have been the leading areas in the state with violations, noting that said violations are not hard to spot, as people have been posting photos and videos online.
The governor reportedly called some bars and restaurants himself to alert them that they are playing with fire if they don’t follow the state-mandated rules of reopening.
“I called a couple of bars and restaurants myself when I saw pictures of their situation, and I said to them, ‘You’re playing with your liquor license,’” he said.
Though New Yorkers are largely beginning to settle into the “new normal,’ Cuomo cautioned that it’s important to continue reopening meticulously, otherwise New York faces the same pitfalls as other states that opened up and almost immediately saw a spike in cases.
“I know businesses are anxious to open up. Everyone is anxious to get the economy back open,” he said. “But please follow the guidelines and do what is permissible to do. People are wary right now of businesses that are violating operating rules.
“Our reopening is different than (other states’) reopening. Ours is based on the numbers and is phased,” Cuomo continued. “New Yorkers have been smart and diligent and informed in this state. They know what’s going on and they know how to stop the spread.”
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