You are reading

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.

email the author: [email protected]

11 Comments

Click for Comments 
VoteThemOut

City clowns expect this fines to be paid and have police enforce social distancing ?!!! when they are releasing criminals with catch and release for actual crimes with no consequences. LMAO

3
2
Reply
Still Prefer Queens

Anyone notice there were ZERO tickets handed out for no social distancing at the recent Williamsburg & Borough Park Funerals? Hundreds of men in the street, literally mobs of men shoved together, ignoring police requests for social distancing and it was noted that not one ticket was given. Not to mention that Borough Park is one of the hottest zones for the virus. Police has to risk their lives to go in there, having a greater risk of getting sick, and not give tickets. But Astoria Park…they are giving tickets there.

16
2
Reply
Eileen Manning

How much have the Hasidic’s been fined? They have gathered in crowds for multiple funerals.

8
2
Reply
Anonymous

It doesn’t surprise me about Astoria Park, there has never been enforcement. I have called the parks dept a few times, my efforts were futile.

8
2
Reply
Gardens Watcher

Anonymous, the Mayor said today to call 311 if you spot people not social distancing.

5
69
Reply
Claudio Garcia Chamorro

Why worry about park distancing when ALL political are allowing trains to run ? Where no one exercises ZERO distancing !!!!

9
6
Reply
Lee

They choose Astoria Park as an example because many white people use it. There is a shift in the media to make corona virus a racial issue.

14
14
Reply
Gardens Watcher

Lee, my neighborhood is predominantly white, and understands the NY Health Dept orders. They just think the rules don’t apply to them and sunny days are exempt. Irresponsible Idiots.

9
70
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.