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State Increases Fine for Violating Social Distancing Order; Cites Crowding at Astoria Park

Parks Dept.

April 6, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Governor Andrew Cuomo has increased the fine for violating the statewide social distancing order after officials witnessed crowding in city parks — including Astoria Park.

Cuomo is doubling the penalty in an effort to stop overcrowding that can spread the coronavirus, he announced in Albany today.

People who do not keep six feet apart from others while out in public can now be fined up to $1,000. The maximum penalty was previously set at $500.

“Frankly, there has been a laxness on social distancing especially over this past weekend that is just wholly unacceptable,” Cuomo said, using a photo of people at Astoria Park on Saturday as an example of noncompliance.

Astoria Park has been a trouble spot. Late last month, Council Member Costa Constantinides called on the Parks Department to heighten enforcement at the 60-acre park. He noted that he saw groups congregating close together on the weekend of March 21 and March 22.

At his daily coronavirus briefing, Cuomo said this past weekend wasn’t any better in terms of people adhering to social distancing guidelines. The nice weather brought more people into parks, especially in New York City.

“I understand people have been locked up for a long time, but now is not the time to be lax,” Cuomo said. “It is a mistake. We all have a responsibility, we all have a role in this.”

The governor said people have a societal obligation to stay home or keep six feet apart from others while in public.Gov.

If someone doesn’t abide by the rules and gets infected, they may infect others — putting more people at risk.

“If I can’t convince you to show discipline for yourself, then show discipline for other people,” he said. “If you get infected, you infect someone else, you go to an emergency room you put a burden on all sorts of other people you don’t know and frankly you don’t have the right to burden with your irresponsibility.”

Cuomo said he wants local governments to more aggressive in enforcing the social distancing rules.

“It’s not really about the fine, nobody wants the money,” he said. “We want the compliance. We are serious and again if it’s not about your life, you don’t have right to risk someone else’s life.”

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered the NYPD and Parks Department officers to enforce social distancing in the city’s parks.

To further the enforcement effort, the Parks Department shuttered dog runs today after receiving complaints of overcrowding inside the runs.

The decision comes a week after Gov. Cuomo closed and locked the city’s playgrounds and basketball, tennis and handball courts after finding noncompliance to social distancing inside them.

Meanwhile, de Blasio ended the initiative that opened city blocks — including a portion of 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights — to pedestrians.

Not enough New Yorkers were utilizing the streets closed off to traffic “to justify the NYPD presence,” a City Hall spokesperson told the New York Post.

Cuomo also extended his statewide “PAUSE” order for nonessential workers to remain home through April 29.

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9 Comments

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Observer

City has to find some way to get money why not off people standing a stitch too close!!

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Mac

Hashtag posing as Mac- Social distancing obviously works. Then again you and yours aren’t ones for truth facts and history. The Coronavirus “will go away, like a miracle.”

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boris

@Gardens Watcher..Officials are trying to change focus for their own mistakes and failures. Trying to get the public to shift the blame game and threatening to ticket some of the same people it is claiming its trying to feed. Let them try this at Queensbridge Park by Queens Bridge Housing instead of Astoria Park and lets see how well that turns out. Either close the parks or limit the number of people who enter them.

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Heather

Officials are merely trying to find ways to take part of our coronavirus stimulus checks away from the working class by increasing fines.

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Gardens Watcher

Julie, have you somehow missed the constant TV commercials saying STAY HOME?

This ain’t the flu, babe. It’s a PANDEMIC.

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Mac

Ah yes social distancing is the cure yet everybody in the neighborhood goes to the same supermarket 2 ,3 times a week picking up items putting them back ,walks around the aisles breathing and shuffling around but being outside in a park puts us all in danger!

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Carmen

What a way for him and other elected officials to now start blaming the public for a situation that they created with their reluctance to close restaurants and schools, subways and housing policies which included the closing of many hospitals. This is what you get when you run a sanctuary city and release criminals from jails. People feel like they could do whatever they want! Elected officials in the area are trying to pass laws for people not to pay rent and then you think they are going to pay a fine for jogging or sitting to close to someone else?

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Julie

Many of us live with roommates and family members. People are not going to practice social distancing with people they live with. The media still encourages going for a run or a walk. My roommates and i drive to the park and walk together. We feel safer this way. Sorry Cuomo not everyone has the luxury of an at home gym. Worry about getting the public n95 masks instead of telling us to wear cloth and ticketing the people of nyc to pay your salary.

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Val

Recently, I purchased a face mask from a local pharmacy who sold them individually to customers. Today i began trying to find masks online so i can save money and have them delivered in a sealed box. To my surprise I saw the same mask that was sold to me from the pharmacy as a doctor/nurse dress up costume mask that you wear to a party! It is just sad what people are doing to make money off of this virus. Close Astoria Park!

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