Coronavirus in NY: Fines may come for social distancing violators, de Blasio says

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The worst mayor in New York City history.

Coronavirus in NY: Fines may come for social distancing violators, de Blasio says

By Julia Marsh, New York Post, March 27, 2020 |

Mayor Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers may soon face fines for violating social distancing rules meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The goal right now is to try to get people to understand how serious this is and show them consistent enforcement,” Hizzoner told WNYC Friday, which would put new teeth in health official guidance that people remain six feet apart in public to contain the disease.

“The next step would be to up the ante and bring penalties into play if we have to do that and that may be days away if we don’t see people handle it better,” the mayor said.

Few details, like the size of the fine, were immediately available.

Brooklyn Councilman Justin Brannan applauded the warning.

“Nobody wants it to come to this, but people still aren’t taking this thing seriously,” Brannan told The Post.

“Folks were asked two weeks to self-regulate, and our parks, playgrounds, and sidewalks are still too crowded. This would certainly be a drastic measure, but if people aren’t being smart about this, drastic measures will be necessary,” Brannan said.

Some New Yorkers have flouted the rules by continuing to crowd city parks, basketball courts, groceries and other spots.

“Everyone’s got to intensify their efforts to keep that distance,” de Blasio said, adding that most people are practicing social distancing.

“The norm is people taking this very seriously,” he said.
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De Blasio doesn’t want to close parks or bar exercise.

“I don’t think it’s realistic to say to 8.6 million people, ‘You can’t get any exercise for two months,’ we got to think about people’s health overall,” he said, referencing an earlier prediction that the city would be on lockdown through May.

The mayor will make a decision on whether to close playgrounds by Saturday night.

Finally, de Blasio addressed criticism that a pilot plan to close city streets to traffic so pedestrians can have more space to roam was too limited. The initial plan includes just four short corridors in four of the five boroughs.

“If it works well, we can keep adding to it, but what we’d hate to see is we think we’re solving a problem and we create a brand new problem of a place for people to hang out,” de Blasio said.

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