Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a clear message to young New Yorkers: “Now is not the time to fight for your right to party.”
Channeling his inner Beastie Boy during a COVID-19 news briefing on Thursday, July 23 in Manhattan, Cuomo addressed the recent rise in cases of the virus in people in their 20s.
“Now is not the time time to fight for your right to party,” he said. “I respect your right to party. I would enshrine it in state law if you want to know. You have a right to party, but let’s be smart about it.”
Over the past two weeks, every age group has seen a decline in COVID-19 infection rates except those tested who are between 21 and 30 years old, which rose from 9.9 percent to 13.2 percent a week later.
Cuomo called the rise in infection rates in younger New Yorkers “a significant increase.”
“It’s not hard to understand what is going on. This has been hard to deal with, it’s warm, and we’ve been locked up a long time,” he said. “I get it. But there is an attitude that young people are immune.
“If you’re between 21 and 30 this virus can kill you,” Cuomo continued. “And if it doesn’t kill you, you can bring it home and give it to someone inadvertently and it can kill them.”
In response to the rise in cases, Cuomo said that the State Liquor Authority and New York State Police will be stepping up enforcement efforts, but it is ultimately up to local governments to step up and break up the parties.
“Local governments have to step up and do the enforcement job. I understand it’s not politically popular and it’s hard, but understand that you have to enforce the law,” he said. “(State authorities) will step up their efforts dramatically, but they can’t do it without local police and government.
According to Cuomo, a lot of the problems stem around large gatherings at bars and restaurants where patrons fail to socially distance or wear face coverings while indulging.
“These 21- to 30-year-olds, they aren’t gathering on a street corner to do bird watching,” Cuomo said. “There’s often alcohol involved, and that alcohol has to come from a bar or restaurant, that’s why we’ve largely been seeing the majority (of issues) are in connection with bars and restaurants.’
Cuomo said that the state is also starting an online ad campaign that is geared toward the younger demographic to educate them about the dangers of COVID-19.
The ad will be made available to the public, and is expected to receive a strong social media push, according to the governor’s office.
“We need to get the facts out to the young people who are participating,” Cuomo said. “They need the facts, so we have this campaign that is targeted to young people to communicate some of the facts and misconceptions they have."
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