Over the weekend, people were spotted crowding along Manhattan streets, in both the East Village and Hell's Kitchen, many of them not wearing masks.
It prompted a reaction from Governor Andrew Cuomo, and a pushback from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Governor Cuomo said there were thousands of complaints, leading him to threaten to revoke liquor licenses.
He also demanded local police get involved and threatened to shut down areas like Manhattan and the Hamptons.
The mayor says the city is trying to balance safety with the need for these businesses to make money.
The city has been handing out masks and marking sidewalks with chalk to indicate 6 feet of distance.
But that didn't stop large crowds over the weekend.
Video from 9th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen and in the East Village showed people gathering outside restaurants, many without face coverings.
A city hall spokesperson said, "We don't believe imprisoning people or taking away their livelihood is the answer," adding that businesses are allowed to be open per the governor's guidelines.
MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE
abc7NY Phase Tracker:
COVID-19 Help, Information. Stimulus and Business Updates
New York City
Westchester and Hudson Valley
What's Open, What's Closed
Reopening New York State
Reopening New Jersey
Share your coronavirus story with Eyewitness News
Stimulus check scams and other coronavirus hoaxes
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus
Total count of NYC, Long Island COVID-19 cases based on patient address