New York Mayor Bill de Blasio flouted his own city’s coronavirus guidelines to work out at the Brooklyn YMCA on Monday morning.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is already facing sharp criticism for his response — or relative lack thereof — to the novel coronavirus, officially classified as “COVID-19,” global pandemic. De Blasio has, until Monday, resisted school closures, putting millions of families at risk of exposure to the contagion. The mayor took so long to course-correct that upset staffers reportedly chose to quit rather than continue supporting his leadership.
“We understand the immense disruption this will create for our families,” United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew said. “But right now, more than a million students and staff crisscross the city every day on their way to schools, putting themselves and others at risk of exposure and increasing the likelihood of bringing exposure into their homes and communities.”
And despite declaring the pandemic a “war” over which the federal government should “take over” on Sunday and making a case for government nationalization of “crucial factories and industries” to produce medical supplies, de Blasio does not appear to believe these rules should necessarily apply to him.
Our crazy Mayor, as he's deciding to close all the gyms, because they're not safe…………goes to the gym to workout: https://t.co/sKBGY1k3Xs
— MARK SIMONE (@MarkSimoneNY) March 16, 2020
“Our crazy Mayor, as he’s deciding to close all the gyms, because they’re not safe … goes to the gym to workout,” New York radio host Mark Simone tweeted on Monday, linking to a report by the New York Post. He is far from the only one shocked by the decision. De Blasio’s own people have called him out.
“He went to the f–king gym? Jesus!” said a former staff member. Another told the Post, “every New Yorker’s regular routine has been put on hold. His should be, too. Get to work. Set an example. This is embarrassing.” Yet another questioned his unwillingness to adhere to CDC guidelines, telling the paper:
Didn’t the CDC recommend no gatherings of 50 people or more? … Will he be counting the amount of people there and leaving if it’s over 49? If we’re supposed to be social distancing, then what does that even mean if he gets to play by his own rules? Leaders are supposed to set by example. What kind of example does this set?
Also, why is he at the gym and not hunkered down 24/7 working on this? It’s a pandemic, and people are dying. Stunning. How many people have to die before he stops getting chauffeured to the gym is my question. What’s the appropriate number of deaths before he finds it uncouth?
De Blasio’s press secretary, Freddi Goldstein, defended the mayor’s risky decision. “The YMCA has been a huge part of his and his family’s life, like it has been for a lot of New Yorkers. It’s clear that’s about to change and before that, the mayor wanted to visit a place that keeps him grounded one last time,” Goldstein said. “That doesn’t change the fact that he is working around the clock to ensure the safety of New Yorkers. After today, gyms will close and he will no longer be visiting the YMCA for the foreseeable future.”
After his 12-mile trip to his favorite gym, de Blasio finally decided it was time to make sure the children of New York had adequate protection. “It is time to take more drastic measures,” de Blasio said during an update at City Hall Sunday evening, announcing that schools would be closed until at least April 20. “This is a decision I have taken with no joy whatsoever.”
But NYC Council Member Keith Powers implored de Blasio to live by his own words. “As elected officials, we’re expected to lead and set an example for the public,” he wrote. “We’re in a public health crisis, where gyms and restaurants are closing. Our message to everyone is to stay home. Mr. Mayor, we need you to lead by example.”