New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Sunday lashed out at people in New York City who are ignoring social distancing guidelines put in place by federal, state and local officials amid the coronavirus pandemic.
During a news conference, Cuomo said he had visited New York City on Saturday and saw crowds of people gathered in some of the public parks.
“There is a density level in New York City that is wholly inappropriate,” he said. “You would think there was nothing going on. … I don’t know what I’m saying that people don’t get.”
“This is not life as usual,” he continued. “I was in these parks. You would not know that anything was going on. This is just a mistake. It’s a mistake. it’s insensitive, it’s arrogant, it’s self-destructive, it’s disrespectful to other people, and it has to stop. And it has to stop now. This is not a joke.”
In the U.S., more than 32,000 people have been confirmed as having the virus and at least 400 people have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 9,000 confirmed cases are in New York City alone.
Twitter users have shared pictures of crowds of people walking and picnicking in Prospect Park in Brooklyn in recent weeks despite the pandemic.
“All sorts of kids playing basketball yesterday,” Cuomo said Sunday of his visit to the city. “There’s no concept of social distancing while playing basketball. It doesn’t exist.”
He said he wanted a plan from New York City in the next 24 hours about how to deal with the “significant problem” of people continuing to gather in parks.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) told reporters later Sunday that he is “fully aligned” with Cuomo on the parks issue.
“We understand that we have a big and different and new challenge on our hands,” de Blasio said.
Beginning Monday, the city will enforce the “new reality” of no crowds in parks, de Blasio said. Playgrounds will remain open, but people cannot stay in parks for too long or talk to other people, reported The Wall Street Journal.
He said the city is “certainly considering” closing some streets and opening them for recreational use.
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