Southern Brooklyn

Mayor announces 7.5 million masks to be distributed around the city, Brooklyn pols respond

May 4, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Mayor announces 7.5 million masks to be distributed around the city, Brooklyn pols respond
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Masks are coming to south Brooklyn.

After Mayor Bill de Blasio received criticism from elected officials for not including southern Brooklyn in the city’s plan to distribute more than 100,000 face coverings in parks across the city free of charge this past weekend, he announced that the availability will be more widespread starting this week.

“We are going to help build that up to a much higher level,” he said during his daily presser on Monday. “We are now going to ramp up a plan and it will take effect starting immediately to distribute 7.5 million face coverings. Meaning wherever you turn, you’re going to get a face covering. And it’s going to be on an ongoing basis for weeks to come to make sure everyone gets what they need.”

The distribution will include five million three-ply non-medical masks and 2.5 million cloth face coverings. It will be citywide, including at NYCHA, DOE Grab & Go meal sites, parks, Mitchell-Lama affordable housing, grocery stores, and any place the NYPD and NYC Parks Department enforce social distancing.

“You’re going to see it expand this week,” he added. “I think it’s going to make things easier for New Yorkers who want to follow these rules and keep people safe.”

Following de Blasio’s initial announcement, State Sen. Andrew Gounardes wrote a letter to the mayor stating that the distribution should be more widespread.

“They say you can’t fight City Hall, but we showed that you can get City Hall to acknowledge you exist,” Gounardes told this paper following the announcement of expansion. ”As I wrote to the mayor, no community should be ignored when it comes to mask distribution. We need more details and information, but this is a positive step, and I am glad we were able to bring much-needed masks to our southern Brooklyn communities.”

“In the early days, when we were told only our front line workers needed to wear masks, my office scrambled to get everyone the supplies they needed because we knew we couldn’t rely on the city or state to do it for us,” added Councilmember Justin Brannan. “So many great people stepped up with donations so we could help those who needed it most. But now that we’ve been told that we all need to wear masks if we go outside, it is the city’s responsibility to provide them for everyone. My colleagues and I will not allow southern Brooklyn to be ignored. Those days are over.”

“I’m glad to see the city will expand free mask distributions to southern Brooklyn,” wrote Borough President Eric Adams on Facebook. “For as long as everyone is required to wear face coverings as part of social distancing, the city should provide face coverings for all New Yorkers, not just a select few.”

Following the announcement, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis also criticized the mayor for not thinking about the area in the distribution plan.

“The mayor always talks about being the fairest big city, but even when it comes to something as simple as distributing face masks, which everyone needs, his administration neglects parts of the city,” she told this paper. “There is absolutely no excuse for not distributing masks in at least one park in Southern Brooklyn. I’m calling on city officials to adjust their plan and add park distribution sites in South Brooklyn neighborhoods.”

A spokesperson for the mayor referred to his comments made during the face covering announcement on Thursday, April 30.

“A hundred thousand will be given out starting this week and we’ll keep going from there,” he said.

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