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Police & Fire

COVID-19: Police To Increase Fire Island, LI Beach Patrols After Large Parties

There will be an increased police presence on Fire Island after party-goers flocked to beaches without face masks or socially distancing.
There will be an increased police presence on Fire Island after party-goers flocked to beaches without face masks or socially distancing. Photo Credit: ny.gov

There will be an increased police presence on Fire Island and other Long Island beaches after hundreds flocked to the water, failing to properly social distance or wear face coverings.

Over the Fourth of July holiday, hundreds were spotted on social media gathering without properly protecting themselves and others during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

It is alleged that beach-goers were dispersed by law enforcement at the beaches, but later returned once officers left the area.

“It’s disturbing and unacceptable,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “It’s a slap in the face to all of the people who have sacrificed and brought us to this point.”

Police are expected to set up shop at specified posts on Fire Island during peak party hours to prevent crowds from again gathering. Officers will be issuing summonses to those who fail to socially distance or wear face coverings.

During a COVID-19 briefing on Monday, July 6 in Manhattan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that New Yorkers are getting complacent, and if the state hopes to continue recovering from the outbreak, it needs to get back in line.

“New Yorkers did the impossible," he said. "We went from the worst infection rate to the best infection rate in the United States.

"We crossed the mountain. But we don’t want to have the challenge of crossing a mountain range.

“New Yorkers are getting complacent, arrogant, cocky, and that’s a real threat,” he added. “We saw the festivities over July Fourth. We saw gatherings that are not socially distant, or people aren’t wearing masks.”

Cuomo went on to say that “actions have consequences,” noting that “our success was a function of our action.”

“If you change your behavior, you’re going to change the outcome. It’s that simple,” he said. “That (bending of the) curve was purely a function of what we did. If we change what we’re doing, we’re going to see a change in the trajectory of the virus.

“I understand people are fatigued. I get it. It’s been 128 days. But it doesn’t change the fact that we have to stay smart.”

Cuomo made note that these mandates are coming from the state, and should be enforced by local governments.

“They have to enforce the law. We do not have a state police department that is large enough to enforce the law in the entire state of New York,” he said. “That’s why we have local police agencies and they have to enforce the law.

“This isn’t a local governmental law. This is a state law.”

Cuomo said he plans to once again speak with local governments in the state about enforcement.

"I understand it is not politically pleasant to enforce the mask law or the gathering law or the social distance law," Cuomo said. "I get that politically it's difficult for local governments to do it, but it is the law and if we don’t do it it's going to be a serious problem." 

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