Careless millennials in Manhattan and reckless rich folks in the Hamptons might ruin reopening for everyone, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned this weekend.
“Don’t make me come down there!” he tweeted Saturday in response to a video showing a crowd of mostly maskless young adults gathering in Manhattan.
Turns out he was serious: On Sunday he said complaints were pouring into his office about a lack of social distancing in Manhattan and the Hamptons, and that he would reverse their reopenings if they continued risking another surge of Covid-19.
“Utah [and] Oregon had to reverse their reopening plan,” Cuomo noted at a press conference. “Before I reverse a statewide position, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do: I’m going to reverse it in those areas that are not in compliance with the rules.”
He added, “That is what is going to happen here. I am warning today, in a nice way, [of the] consequences of your actions.” New York City began phase one of reopening of non-essential businesses June 8, while Suffolk County began phase two June 10.
Cuomo aimed his missive not at just New Yorkers but at the de Blasio administration and Suffolk County and Hamptons officials. “Enforce the law or there will be state action,” he tweeted.
We have received 25,000 complaints of reopening violations.
Bars or restaurants that violate the law can lose their liquor license.
People with open containers in the street can be fined.
Police & protesters not wearing masks can be fined.
Local gov’t must enforce the law.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 14, 2020
It is not clear how de Blasio can enforce Cuomo’s social-distancing order, because the mayor removed that responsibility from the New York Police Department after police disproportionately ticketed black people while letting white people off with warnings.
The mayor, in a rarity, acknowledged that he was wrong to have given cops that task. He has since deployed “social distancing ambassadors,” but they were nowhere to be seen on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village as throngs socialized and drank in the street Friday night. (It remains illegal to have an open container of alcohol in public, the governor noted.) A tweet of the open-air gathering has been retweeted 6,700 times, with many viewers chastising the clueless chatterers and posting images of other flagrant crowding.
“I consider this a slap in the face to all those we lost,” tweeted Eric Loegel. “The callous disregard for human life will cause more people to die, unnecessarily.”
The state received about 25,000 complaints, with Manhattan and the Hamptons leading the dubious list, according to the governor.
“These are not hard-to-spot violations,” Cuomo noted. “People send video of these violations, you can look it up on social media. You don’t need a detective squad to go out and find them. They are rampant and there’s not enough enforcement. I am not going to allow situations to exist that we know have a high likelihood of causing an increase in the spread of the virus.”
Confirmed coronavirus deaths in New York have been reduced to a few dozen per day after peaking at 799 on April 8. The virus is believed to spread mainly through respiratory droplets that pass between maskless people within six feet of each other.