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Title: Cuomo Appalled By "Disrespectful" People Congregating In NYC Parks
Source: The Gothamist
URL Source: https://gothamist.com/news/cuomo-ny ... irus-density-social-distancing
Published: Mar 22, 2020
Author: John Del Signore
Post Date: 2020-03-22 23:28:59 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 32

Governor Andrew Cuomo paid a pre-announced visit to NYC on Saturday and says he was shocked to see New Yorkers gathering in close proximity in the city's parks, playing basketball, shopping in open-air markets, and generally behaving as if the city was not in the grips of a deadly pandemic.

"I was in NYC yesterday, it was a pretty day. There is a density level in New York City that is wholly inappropriate," Cuomo told reporters at a Sunday press conference about the latest COVID-19 news. "You would think there is nothing going on in New York City. You would think it's just a bright sunny Saturday. I don't know what I'm saying that people don't get...This is not life as usual.

I was in these parks and you would not know there is anything going on. This is just a mistake! A mistake! It's insensitive! It's arrogant! It's self-destructive! It's disrespectful to other people! It has to stop and it has to stop now! This is not a joke and I am not kidding!"

A group of people sit in close proximity on the grass in Washington Square Park in NYC against the advice from officials and health experts.

Cuomo said he spoke with Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and ordered them to come up with "an immediate plan to address this situation" in NYC parks. Cuomo wants to review a plan within 24 hours, saying, "There are many options. You have much less traffic in NYC [due to the COVID-19 response]. Get creative. Open streets to reduce the density. That's where people should be — in open space areas, not in dense locations."

Cuomo said he saw kids playing basketball on Saturday, and argued that there is "no concept of social distancing while playing basketball. It doesn't exist. You cannot stay six feet away from another person playing basketball. You can, but then you're a lousy basketball player and you're gonna lose." He said it's still okay to go for a run or a walk. ("God bless you.")

On Saturday, City Councilmember Mark Levine, who chairs the City Council health committee, announced that team sports are no longer allowed in NYC Parks, but there was no indication the order was enforced on Saturday.

It was not immediately clear what further actions the city might take to reduce density in city parks. City Hall spokesperson Jane Meyer said more restrictions on park activities are under considerations.

"The City has already banned team sports and revoked all permits for large gatherings and has increased the presence of NYPD and Parks Enforcement Patrol officers to enforce social distancing," Meyer said in an emailed statement. "We are evaluating these efforts and considering expanded restrictions. The Mayor and the Governor have already discussed these efforts and we will continue to coordinate with the State. We urge every New Yorker to heed these new restrictions immediately."

On Twitter, Speaker Johnson proposed making some city streets pedestrian-only, modeled after the DOT's popular Summer Streets program, which prohibits motorists from seven miles of Manhattan boulevards on select Saturday mornings in August.

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