As New York slowly begins its emergence from coronavirus lockdown status, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is threatening to roll back the small steps already taken toward reopening if residents in the state fail to comply with the strict social distancing rules that remain in place, Breitbart reports.
“Lots of violations of social distancing, parties in the street, restaurants and bars ignoring laws,” Cuomo complained in a tweet on Sunday morning. “Enforce the law or there will be state action,” he added in an apparent admonition to local law enforcement authorities, according to Breitbart.
In an earlier message, Cuomo pointed out that his administration had “received 25,000 complaints of reopening violations,” and warned: “Bars or restaurants that violate the law can lose their liquor license.”
Gatherings for me, not for thee
While he added that those “with open containers in the street can be fined,” and that local authorities “must enforce the law,” there was one group for which the governor seemed to make an exception when it comes to social distancing edicts.
Cuomo insisted that those taking part in protest demonstrations and police officers found to be “not wearing masks can be fined.” Yet, he made no mention of the fact that his own coronavirus rules explicitly ban exactly the sort of the large public gatherings that have followed in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis late last month.
“Public health experts agree large gatherings with people making sustained close contact are a place where the novel coronavirus can easily infect many people quickly and continue its spread,” the state’s own coronavirus website warns.
New York City is currently in phase one of a four-phase reopening plan, according to Breitbart, and as such, the rules only permit “ten or fewer people to gather for any lawful purpose or reason, provided that social distancing protocols and cleaning and disinfection protocols required by the Department of Health are adhered to.”
Twitter users have since responded to Cuomo’s announcement by posting video footage showing thousands of demonstrators standing in close proximity to one another. One woman in particular added images from a massive rally that was held this weekend while asking rhetorically, “Did they enforce the law in Brooklyn yesterday?”
Mayor fires back
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also shot back at Cuomo’s perceived pledge to impose lockdowns again if social distancing rules were ignored, saying through a spokesperson, “We must balance safety with people’s need to reopen their businesses.”
“We don’t believe imprisoning people or taking away their livelihood is the answer,” he added, according to the New York Post.
This exchange is just the latest chapter in an ongoing feud between Cuomo and de Blasio. The tension reared its head just recently amid the unrest caused by violent protests and property destruction that gripped large cities across the nation, including the Big Apple.
Earlier this month, Cuomo accused de Blasio of failing to control the widespread chaos and damage caused by demonstrators, even threatening at one point to “displace” him, while de Blasio countered by saying that the governor “dishonored the men and women of the NYPD in an absolutely inappropriate way for any leader to do,” as Fox News reported.