After photos and videos of maskless New Yorkers congregating in Manhattan while drinking on sidewalks surfaced this weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo threatened retaliation for businesses and for residents, saying both will see the “consequences of your actions” if the behavior continues and possibly jeopardizes the state’s reopening process.
Cuomo said the state has received 25,000 complaints about businesses violating reopening procedures, with Manhattan and the Hamptons being the biggest culprits.
To curb violations of the law, Cuomo threatened to revoke liquor licenses from bars and restaurants, the two businesses that received the most complaints.
Cuomo also said that residents could be fined for violating both open container laws—it’s not legal for people to drink on the streets—and for not wearing masks.
Mandatory masking is one of the reasons New York was able to reduce its rate of coronavirus spread to become the nation’s lowest, Cuomo said, stressing that not wearing one is illegal and also “disrespectful” to essential workers and healthcare workers, “some of whom gave their life to crush Covid.”
On Saturday, Cuomo tweeted “Don’t make me come down there” in response to a video that showed crowds of Manhattanites standing on St. Mark’s Place, a popular area for nightlife, while drinking.
Cuomo said that local governments are responsible for enforcement of reopening rules, and threatened to close regions that are not in compliance.
“Do your job,” Cuomo admonished local governments. “If we increase the spread of the virus in Manhattan because of bars and restaurants, then everyone in Manhattan will suffer. That’s not fair.”
As Gothamist reminded readers Saturday, “being tired of staying at home doesn’t make a pandemic go away.” At 78 days, New York City underwent the longest lockdown in the U.S. as it battled the country’s worst outbreak. The city began phase one of reopening on June 8, while the rest of New York State, which had less severe outbreaks, was already opening back up. Cuomo has made a data-driven approach the central strategy for the state as it inches towards normality, and says the number of people reporting business violations are smart. Other states, like California and Florida, have seen virus cases spike as they reopen, which New York hopes to avoid, Cuomo said. And, while hitting residents with fines or revoking liquor licenses would be unpopular, “what’s more unpopular is if that region recloses because the local government didn’t do their job,” Cuomo said.
Fauci Says ‘Real Normality’ Unlikely For A Year As U.S. Continues Pandemic Slog (Forbes)
Photos: Pandemic-Fatigued New Yorkers Crowd Outside Of Bars & Restaurants (Gothamist)
New York Has Lowest Coronavirus Spread Rate In The Nation, Cuomo Says (Forbes)
New York City flattened the curve. Now its comeback begins (CNN)
Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus