Reopen NY: Cuomo threatens reopen rollbacks over social distancing, business violations

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Monday, June 15, 2020
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Cuomo said the state received 25,000 complaints including violations of social distancing, parties in the street, and restaurants and bars ignoring laws.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned bars and restaurants that they can lose their liquor license if they violate reopening regulations, and threatened to reinstate closings in areas where local governments fail to enforce rules. Manhattan and the Hamptons were singled out as problem areas.

Cuomo said the state received 25,000 complaints including violations of social distancing, parties in the street, and restaurants and bars ignoring laws.

In Hell's Kitchen, crowds gathered along 9th Avenue over the weekend outside favorite watering holes with no social distancing and inconsistent use of masks.

"I am warning today, in a nice way, the consequences of your actions," Cuomo said. "I will not turn a blind eye to them."

Cuomo threatened to stop or even reverse the reopening in areas where local governments fail to enforce the rules.

A video taken Friday night in the East Village and shared widely on social media shows hundreds of people outside a stretch of bars assembled in close proximity, disregarding social distancing guidelines and not wearing face coverings.

"These are not hard to spot violations. People send video of the violations. You can look it up on social media. You don't need a detective squad to find it. They are rampant and there isn't enough enforcement," Cuomo said.

We reached out to Mayor Bill de Blasio's office for comment and a City Hall spokesperson said New York City has done aggressive outreach with restaurants and bars and that social distancing ambassadors were out all weekend passing out face masks, dispersing large groups and helping popular bars with crowd control.

"We must balance safety with people's need to reopen their businesses," the spokesperson said. "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."

Cuomo reminded people that they can be fined for having open containers on the street and commended New Yorkers who reported the violations.

What is alarming is the volume but it also shows how smart people are and how offended people are that they are calling and complaining," Cuomo said. "They see the business violates the rules and my health is jeopardized. My health. That is why they are complaining especially at bars and restaurants."

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