Governor gives NYC 24 hours to make crowd-reduction plan

Cuomo said he witnessed people gathering in parks Saturday

Mar.March 22, 2020 02:15 PM
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, iStock)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, iStock)

Governor Andrew Cuomo has given New York City officials 24 hours to prepare a plan addressing risky outdoor activity in the city, saying “dramatic action” is needed.

At a press briefing Sunday, Cuomo said he visited New York City on Saturday and witnessed people gathering in parks and playing basketball, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is a density level in New York City that is wholly inappropriate,” he said. “You would think there was nothing going on in parts of New York City.”

Flouting guidance about social distancing, he added, was “insensitive,” “arrogant” and “self-destructive.”

Cuomo said he had asked Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Corey Johnson to develop a plan to correct the situation. He gave them 24 hours.

“I’m open to anything, but it has to be done quickly and it has to be dramatic action,” he said.

The governor illustrated his point with a photo of shoppers at a farmers’ market at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. His executive order days earlier exempted farmers’ markets from a sweeping closure of workplaces.

Cuomo noted that there was less traffic in New York City now that workers in non-essential industries were required to stay home.

“Let’s open streets; let’s open space; that’s where people should be,” he added.

Johnson tweeted early Sunday afternoon, “@NYGovCuomo just called me about playgrounds & overcrowding. He and I spoke about this yesterday. We should immediately identify streets … to close so there is more room for play & leisure. Let’s do this ASAP.”

At the same briefing, Cuomo said he had asked the federal government to mobilize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct temporary hospitals at SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury, Westchester County Center, and the Javits Center in Manhattan.

“I’ve made all necessary approvals, so from my point of view, construction can start tomorrow,” he said. He has requested 1,000 beds at Javits.

Construction has been allowed to continue in New York while the pandemic shuts down much of the city. It is one of a handful of industries deemed “essential.”

A recent uptick in testing across the state has revealed how quickly the virus has spread. As of 11 a.m. Sunday, there were 15,168 known cases of the virus, with a hospitalization rate of 13 percent. So far, there have been 114 deaths.

According to Cuomo, some 70 percent of those who died were 70 or older, and the majority had underlying health conditions. About 80 percent of the people under 70 who died also had underlying health conditions.

Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at [email protected]

Related Articles

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator James Skoufis (Credit: Getty Images, NY Senate)

Owners of some residential properties can’t hide behind
LLCs anymore

Governor Andrew Cuomo and 538 Johnson Avenue in Brooklyn (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)

Landlords take another hit: Cuomo signs expanded Loft Law

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images)

Cuomo wants to exempt NYC from prevailing wage bill

The drop occurred after a record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. (Credit: photo by Victor J. Blue/Getty Images; iStock)

Early April sees 15% drop in rent-paying nationwide: report

Homeowners are halting mortgage payments as forbearance rates surge. (Credit: iStock)

Mortgage forbearance surged on April 1: report

Industrial brokers say coronavirus is hurting but not destroying interest in their properties. (Credit: iStock)

Boom’s over, but industrial brokers keep busy

Silverstein Properties CEO Marty Burger and a microscopic view of Covid-19 (Credit: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images, CDC)

“We can’t be everybody’s bank”: Marty Burger on how Silverstein is working with tenants and his Covid-19 recovery

Brokers are worried that classifying their work as "essential" may hinder them receiving unemployment benefits

Does “essential” status jeopardize brokers’ unemployment claims?