Andrew Cuomo Backs Fines for New Yorkers Not Wearing Masks

A man walks in front of a New York City bar wearing a cloth mask. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) said Monday that he is in favor of fining New Yorkers for not wearing masks in public to combat the spread of the Chinese coronavirus.
spurekar / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) said Monday that he is in favor of fining New Yorkers for not wearing masks in public to combat the spread of the Chinese coronavirus.

“You don’t wear a mask for you. You wear a mask to protect me,” Cuomo said during his daily news conference. “I wear a mask to protect you. We owe each other a certain amount of reasonableness and respect in society.”

“Local governments have the ability to enforce and penalize. That’s up to local governments,” the governor added. “But do I think local government should be enforcing it? And should there be sanctions? Yes, because it is a public health emergency. It is not just, ‘Do me a favor.’ It is a public health emergency. And it is a statewide order I put in place that I’m proud of.”

New York has roughly 313,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 18,909 deaths as of Monday, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University. New York City has 175,000 cases alone. The United States has a total of 1.2 million cases and 69,022 fatalities. Approximately 158,000 Americans have recovered from the illness nationwide.

Dozens of New Yorkers were fined for violating coronavirus social distancing guidelines as they flocked to the city’s beaches and parks to enjoy balmy weekend weather, police said Sunday.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told reporters that officers had issued 51 summonses on Saturday, mostly for social distance violations, as temperatures in America’s COVID-19 epicenter registered upwards of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).

Residents of the Big Apple, which has been shut down since mid-March, are allowed outside to exercise providing they maintain six feet of distance and wear a mask when around others.

New Yorkers can be fined up to $1000 for violating the orders, which many did as they descended on popular spots like Manhattan’s Central Park and Rockaway Beach in Queens following a largely rainy week.

The AFP contributed to this report. 

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