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Cuomo extends coronavirus PAUSE order, bashes New York City rule breakers

April 6, 2020 Mary Frost
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says police are going to crack down on people violating the coronavirus social distancing guidelines, and fines are increasing from $500 to $1,000. The Brooklyn Bridge walkway was much emptier than usual on Sunday, however. Photo: Mary Frost
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the state’s PAUSE mandate on Monday, ordering all nonessential workers to stay home until April 29. He also bashed New York City residents who congregated outside over the sunny weekend, breaking coronavirus social distancing rules.

While today’s figures give some hope that a plateau in novel coronavirus cases may be near, “This is an enemy we have underestimated from day one” and it is too soon to get back to work, the governor said during his noon press conference on Monday

“Hong Kong and South Korea made that mistake. We’re not going to make that mistake,” Cuomo added.

In New York City, 72,181 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported as of Monday morning, up by 4,630 since Sunday. Statewide, 130,689 cases have been reported, and 4,758 people have died. There are 16,837 people hospitalized in New York state, with 4,504 in intensive care units.

The statistics have been “effectively flat for two days,” the governor said, and the number of people hospitalized over the weekend decreased from Friday’s admission figures. Not enough time has passed to declare it a trend, however.

The federal government is aiding the city by providing an additional 2,500 beds at Javits Center for COVID-19 patients, originally set aside to handle non-COVID-19 patients. Cuomo is also requesting the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort transition from treating non-COVID-19 patients to treating patients with the disease, something the Navy initially said it would not do.

Cuomo said that New Yorkers breaking social distancing rules will be slapped with more expensive fines, which he is increasing from $500 to $1,000.

“There has been a laxness in social distancing, especially last weekend, that is not acceptable,” Cuomo fumed. Pointing out that people in health care fields are taking enormous risks as thousands are hospitalized with COVID-19, Cuomo said, “Show some discipline for other people.”

The police have been visiting restaurants, bars, supermarkets, salons and public spaces like parks to remind people of the ban on congregating. During these checks from Friday morning to Saturday morning, NYPD issued 17 summonses and made two arrests.

From Saturday morning to Sunday morning, however, cops didn’t issue any summonses or make any arrests for social distancing violations.

Summonses have been issued to both business owners and individuals, an NYPD spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle on Monday.

A video posted on Facebook showed police blaring their sirens at a crowded funeral procession in Borough Park, Brooklyn, for a Hasidic Jewish rabbi who died of the coronavirus.

The funeral was held for 78-year-old Rabbi Meir Rokeachwas, and another crowded funeral procession packed Borough Park’s streets later that same day, according to the New York Post. No tickets were handed out, however.

Another packed funeral was held in Williamsburg, and footage was posted on Twitter. Again no tickets were handed out.

When asked about these large gatherings, Cuomo told reporters he didn’t care “if you’re Jewish, Catholic, it’s a question of social distancing.”

NYPD reported that as of Friday, 6,698 uniformed members of the NYPD were out sick, a figure that represents 18.5 percent of the department’s uniformed workforce. As of Monday, 1,775 uniformed members and 260 civilian employees have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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