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HomeCoronavirusNYC Mayor de Blasio Says that Patrons and Outdoor Dining Businesses are doing the Right Thing

NYC Mayor de Blasio Says that Patrons and Outdoor Dining Businesses are doing the Right Thing

NYC Mayor de Blasio: City Personnel and Sheriff’s Office Were Out in Full Force to Control Social Distancing Adherence on 4th of July Weekend

Today, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio would answer one of my questions about that which I wrote about yesterday: ‘Governor Cuomo’s concerns over non-adherence to social distancing rules‘, and his reaction to what the Governor had spoken about.

For some time now, since NYPD’s involvement in social distancing enforcement became a tricky one, the Mayor’s been steadfast in his approach. That is, using non-law enforcement personnel to see to New Yorkers’ adherence these COVID-19 rules.

Mr. de Blasio referenced that which he stated yesterday: How there were 700 city personnel supervising outdoor dining spots where many bars and restaurants are found. Over 1,000 businesses were inspected over the weekend according to the Mayor.  Included amongst those inspectors were members of the Sheriff’s Office.

He also stated how 85% of establishments visited were in compliance and situations which weren’t only needed some guidance.

In today’s response, the Mayor stated that the East Village was one of the areas visited. It would be the neighborhood which the Governor specifically complained about yesterday.

Yet, some questions can be raised about this:

  • Did the Mayor go against his long held belief that police should not be enforcing social distancing and mask wearing laws?
    • Or is he making a differentiation between the NYPD and the Sheriff’s Office?
      Couldn’t be, since the Mayor specifically said that such enforcement was not a role for City or State Police.
  • Or was this part of that which the Governor spoke of last week?
    He did say that a COVID-19 State Enforcement Department would be created to supplement local governments.
  • Will upcoming weekends and weekdays include such a huge force as well? Clearly, keeping a bigger eye out this past weekend was a foregone conclusion considering the Independence Day holiday. The Mayor did say that this would be a model going forward with huge numbers of personnel out there.
  • When these personnel visited these locations. Did they stay or merely travel from one spot to another?
  • Had the Mayor finally come to accept how folks congregating in close proximity outside bar and restaurants was in fact something to be concerned with?

Maybe, a bigger question is this: Does it even matter as much anymore?

I also asked the mayor if the fact that Phase 4 was soon upon us (in less than 2 weeks) had anything to do with his chosen methods. For clarity, the Governor recently increased allowable gatherings to increase from 25 individuals to 50 during that phase.

In hindsight, I realize now that what I was really asking the mayor is, if he was feeling ‘Cocky’. You’d have to be feeling cocky to be betting on New Yorkers doing the right thing with just a slight bit of nudging (even when half intoxicated). I should mention that ‘Cocky’ is a favorite word of the Governor when speaking of these issues.

The Mayor’s response, as has been the norm for him, was a cautious one. He explained how all the data and metrics from across the country, and locally, would be analyzed and watched as we approached our next phase.

I come away from that thinking that NYC might not being allowed that upgrade for our next phase. It’s a possibility. Just as we weren’t allowed indoor dining for our present phase 3 status, there’s always the chance we won’t be allowed 50 individual gatherings either. It’s a big, densely populated city after all.

NYC and NY State’s health metrics have been something to marvel considering our position once as the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic. Despite this, there’s no question that the Governor’s concerns are valid ones. We’re blocking many states’ residents from visiting without a mandatory quarantine and most of the country had record breaking numbers of infections and hospitalizations with states reversing their reopenings.

Mayor de Blasio on July 6:

“We’ve been very focused on making sure enforcement is strong at these restaurants that are now open, particularly on weekends, of course. So, we had 700 City personnel, including the Sheriff’s Office out in full force over the July 4th weekend. And I just want to say, the Sheriff’s Office has been doing tremendous work on many, many fronts. I want to thank the Sheriff and his whole team. People don’t know a lot about them, but what they’re doing has been absolutely crucial to fighting back this virus and making sure this city is safe in so many ways. So, thank you, Sheriff, and your whole team. So, a huge number of personnel out where most of the bars and restaurants are – a thousand businesses were inspected this weekend. 85 percent were in immediate compliance. Those that needed to make adjustments, the inspector stayed until issues were addressed. Sometimes that meant moving tables farther apart or dispersing crowds. This is going to be the model from this point on, a huge number of personnel out, addressing issues. But what we see is, overwhelmingly, both the restaurant owners and the customers are doing the right thing. Sometimes people need some help, sometimes they need some reminders, but, overwhelmingly we’re seeing people are doing the right thing. Now, the restaurants, outdoors, I said, huge success – over 7,000 restaurants now have the outdoor seating under the Open Restaurant Program. We are going to continue to work with those restaurants to make sure they are able to do a great job for their customers, but also stay safe.”

My question to the Mayor today:

“Yesterday, the Governor expressed his concerns about hotspots where there was non-adherence over the holiday weekend, one of which was the East Village. He would go on to partially cite an executive order he signed in early April, which detailed the issuance of fines, not to exceed $1,000. I’m quite familiar with your stance on the issue, but the Governor simply won’t let up on this. Now I know we’re very close to entering phase four, when allowable gatherings increased from 25 to 50 anyway. Might that be part of your reasoning, sir? Is there anything new you could add to that which you’ve already stated on this subject?”

Mayor de Blasio’s response:

“First of all, phase four, you know, that’s something we have to look at very carefully. As we come up on the potential for each new phase, we watch the data carefully and we watch not only what’s happening here, but things we can learn from the rest of the country. That’s why we moved forward with phase three, but took the indoor dining piece out. So the same careful consideration will happen as we approach phase four. We’re going to analyze it. The State’s analyzing it. We’re going to be constantly in conversation about it. So, you know, that decision has not yet been made.”

“But on your question – no I think it’s quite clear from what I outlined yesterday. We had a huge enforcement team out over the weekend in places like the East Village. We found overwhelming compliance upon arrival. Our inspectors found overwhelmingly that people are doing the right thing. The restaurant owners, the bar owners, the customers alike. There were some places where some corrections had to be made and people did it willingly when our inspectors and ambassadors directed them to. So, you know, we’re going to keep doing the work on the ground. And I want to just give a lot of credit to the people out there who work for the City, who go out and make sure these situations are addressed. And I give real credit to everyday New Yorkers who want to get it right. The vast majority of New Yorkers understand it’s their obligation to keep everyone safe and they’re doing it. Go ahead.”


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