Cuomo’s Stark Warning on Restaurant, Bar Crowds

Governor Andrew Cuomo, against a backdrop of COVID statistics in the five boroughs, at a July 20 press briefing.
NYS Governor's Office

Even as he reported continued good news on COVID-19 statistics in New York State, including the city, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday morning issued a stark warning to city residents, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the NYPD.

“We’re going to have to roll back the opening plan and we’re going to have to close bars and restaurants,” the governor said, referring to images of large crowds of people gathered outside of restaurants and bars in neighborhoods from Astoria to the Lower East Side that surfaced over the weekend. “That is what we’re going to have to do.”

“The local governments, I’ve said repeatedly, that the local governments are responsible for enforcement,” he added. “The local governments have to enforce the law. The police departments have to enforce the law and they are not doing it.”

Though Cuomo opened his remarks at a morning press conference by attributing the problem generally to “young people” gathering in “downstate” locations, he later made clear that New York City was at the top of mind in his warning that this worsening pattern must stop.

“I say to local governments, ‘You don’t want to enforce the law because you think it’s going to be politically unpopular.’ I’ll tell you what’s more politically unpopular when you’re going to explain to people why we had to close all bars and restaurants. That’s going to be more politically difficult than telling the NYPD to do their job.”

Young people, Cuomo said, might believe that their “superheroes,” but in fact, “You can get sick in your 20sw. You can die in your 20s.”

And, the governor continued, “Even if you are a superhero, you will take the virus and give it someone else… You could kill someone. It’s not just about you.”

Cuomo added, “I’m telling you it has to stop. It’s not just about you.”

The governor also warned that the surging virus in 40 other states was bound to pose a challenge for keeping infections low in New York.

“We are not immune from rising rates elsewhere,” he said. “An outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere.”

During the press briefing, the governor reported that COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide now stand at 716, the lowest number since March 18. There were eight deaths in the previous day, with a three-day average of 11 deaths.

Almost 50,000 COVID tests were administered on Sunday, with the positive rate standing at 1.05 percent.

Though Cuomo said there were “no warning signs” in the most recent data, officials were keeping an eye on a “slight uptick” in the Bronx.

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