While the number of people hospitalized in New York with the coronavirus continues to drop, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that people congregating in large numbers and not wearing masks is still a “big problem.” Cuomo had a pointed message for young partiers in New York City who refused to socially distance: “Don’t be stupid.”
The governor displayed photos of crowds gathered in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens and the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and admonished young people for not taking the pandemic seriously. He reminded people in their 20s that not only can they get sick, they can infect other people.
He also urged local governments and police to enforce the law, or warned the state may have to reconsider its reopening plans.
“We’re going to have to roll back the reopening plan” if virus cases start to rise again, he said. “We’re going to have to close bars and restaurants.”
— Nicholas Isabella (@NycStormChaser) July 20, 2020
Cuomo spoke as New York City officially entered Phase 4 of reopening, after shutting down four months ago.
Phase 4 permits low-risk outdoor activities and entertainment at 33% capacity, according to the governor. It also allows for media production and professional sports to be played without fans present, but does not permit any additional indoor activity like the reopening of malls, indoor restaurants or cultural institutions.
New York, once a pandemic hotspot, has so far avoided a surge in new cases like those plaguing other states in the South and West. But the Democratic governor has repeatedly warned New Yorkers could be at risk if they abandon social distancing and other practices adopted to stop the spread of the virus.
“I know it’s tempting to be tired of the many rules and guidelines the state has issued, but I reiterate that this pandemic is far from over, and the incredible compliance and fortitude of New Yorkers are key parts of our ability to fight COVID-19,” Cuomo said.
More than 25,000 people have died statewide since the outbreak began earlier this year.