New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Suggests that Thousands of Police Enforcing Social Distancing for Indoor Dining Might Work
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo today implied a scenario that’d allow for the resumption of indoor dining in New York City.
Since the city’s entry into Phase 3 on July 6, indoor dining has been one of the numerous restrictions it’s had to endure – unlike other regions in the state which were allowed to partake in all that this phase allowed.
During his tele-press conference today the Governor addressed the concerns of NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson. It’s a concern of other local leaders as well as countless food establishment owners – the subject of indoor dining.
Governor Cuomo today:
“We now open restaurants, that’s going to complicate by the hundreds if not thousands the number of establishments that have to be monitored. How is that going to happen? I don’t have any more state resources to do it, so we’re going to contact the Speaker today and say look, if New York City can say “this many police, NYPD, can be put on the task force to monitor the compliance,” that’s something we can discuss,”
“Because the facts with what has happened on bars are damning and you’ve all heard me on this phone for the past month saying, “there’s a lax and an ineffectiveness in the compliance and that’s why I did the task force. But the state task force cannot take on the issue of restaurants just by personnel. “
“So, if the Speaker — and look, you have I don’t know, 34,000 NYPD — there’s a lot of questions about the NYPD and their activities. Put together a task force of NYPD, Speaker Johnson, and say, “there are going to be 4,000 police who are going to be doing restaurant compliance.” Not sheriffs. There are only 150 sheriffs.”
Mr. Cuomo has spoken of NYC’s reluctance to carry out COVID-19 Regulation compliance for months now. He’d instituted a plan which involved SLA investigators and State Police’ enforcement of compliance in NYC and other areas. With nearly every utterance on the issue he would mention how the city, with its police force of over 30,000 officers, would not enforce the law as it pertained to alcohol serving establishments. All told, dozens of businesses have lost their alcochol licenses and thou
And so, it’s such concerns which underpin his worries about enforcement.
Not long ago, over the course of a few weeks, the Governor had also voiced his fears over a COVID-19 rebound – something he assured everyone would happen.
Since last month, the question of indoor dining has been on the minds of many restaurant owners, fearful of losing their businesses. Without customers how would they survive? Fears held by so many in light of the oncoming cooler weather and the culmination of the city’s outdoor dining initiative.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has been questioned about this repeatedly during his own press briefings. When asked last week by Errol Louis, of ‘Inside City Hall’, the mayor responded.
“…the example we see now in Hong Kong is an important one. Where dining, indoor dining was allowed pretty loosely over the last few months. And now all of these places are seeing a resurgence. And literally indoor restaurants, bars, nightclubs are one of the single biggest factors in the resurgence,” stated the Mayor. “This is the consistent information that the New York City Health leadership keeps bringing back to me from the studies they are seeing from around the world. So we have to understand, we all want it back. I want it back as soon as possible, but I’m not going to risk the overall health dynamic of New York City to bring back indoor dining.”
Since the Governor’s words today, there’s been many posts on Twitter indicating mass disapproval of his suggestion.
Yet whereas the Governor’s suggestion of police enforcement exists, the Mayor’s been steadfast in his unwillingness to mix actual law enforcement with social distancing compliance. It was a surprise to yours truly when the NYC Sheriff’s Office began to play a role in compliance enforcement. This started at and around the Independence Day Weekend.
It was from this point going forward that Mayor de Blasio’s thinking changed.
It could be argued that it’s not exactly the sort of enforcement the Governor had in mind.
So the question remains. If the Mayor were to make use of the NYPD then would they be allowed to issue summonses? To what extent would their enforcement role go and how many would actually be involved?
Regarding the Mayor’s thoughts on police and compliance, one must keep in mind the history behind this.
During the first months of the Coronavirus Pandemic in NYC, police were involved with social distancing compliance. It was on May 3 that an incident occurred involving police brutality and a bystander. Within the East Village section of Manhattan, police were dealing with folks who were supposedly not abiding by social distancing regulations. Thereafter, chaos ensued. The officer is under investigation and the bystander was hospitalized.
Also, regarding summonses – not that the Governor said anything in that regard – the Mayor’s declared more than once his lack of appetite for the process. He’s spoken of how folks are already hurting financially and don’t need to be burdened any further.
The Mayor was asked about indoor dining today and said that an answer will be coming very soon. Let us see how this all turns out.
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