Ns News Online Desk: New York US- Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday fired back at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s threat to shut down Manhattan again if the city didn’t enforce social-distancing better — saying through a rep that “imprisoning people” isn’t the answer. “We must balance safety with people’s need to reopen their businesses,” a City Hall spokeswoman said in an e-mail.
“We had social distancing ambassadors out all weekend distributing masks and encouraging people to disperse after making their purchases. “These businesses are allowed to be open per the Governor’s guidelines and we don’t believe imprisoning people or taking away their livelihood is the answer.”
Hours earlier, Cuomo had announced that he would close down Manhattan and the Hamptons on Long Island again amid the coronavirus if their “local governments” didn’t do a better job reining in scofflaws who aren’t properly social distancing and wearing masks, particularly outside bars and restaurants.
“We are not going back to that dark place,” Cuomo vowed, referring to the peak of the pandemic in the state, when nearly 800 people died in one day from the contagion. “People send videos of these violations,” the governor said of the rogue residents — hundreds of whom have been caught on video partying closely together, many without masks, around St. Marks Place in the East Village in Manhattan the past couple of days. “They are rampant, and there’s not enough enforcement,” he said.
If “local governments are not monitoring policing, doing the compliance, yes, there is a very real possibility that we would roll back the reopening of those areas.”
New York City just moved into Phase One of reopening last week, while Long Island went to Phase Two.The City Hall rep said in the e-mail that since March, the de Blasio administration has been “doing aggressive outreach to restaurants and bars in the East Village to ensure they are aware of the relevant PAUSE guidance,” referring to state guidelines amid the contagion. “This includes distributing “Take Out, Don’t Hang Out” posters for all these biz to display in their windows,” the rep wrote.
“Social Distancing ambassadors from the Sheriff’s Department, Parks Department, DEP and NYPD flooded the East Village – particularly St. Marks corridor & Tompkins Square Park – on Saturday, playing social distancing PSAs, passing out face coverings and dispersing any large groups as needed,” she added.
“Our social distancing ambassadors also assisted local bar owners who needed help with crowd/line management – including chalking sidewalks so customers knew where to stand 6ft apart from each other and putting up bike racks as needed.”