Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have extended the statewide "PAUSE" order to the end of the month, hoping to keep people practicing social distancing at least a few more weeks, but the scenes at some New York City parks showed a different picture.
With Cuomo calling it "no time to be lax," he stepped up enforcement of social distancing measures on Monday, and increased fines as well — from $500 to $1,000. Despite the stay at home order, Chopper 4 spotted people around the city on a day where highs reached 67 degrees, gathering together, disregarding any six-foot distancing rules and face coverings measures.
In Forest Park, a group was playing organized games while another was seen from above working out together in Astoria.
A number of people were also spotted close together at an outdoor gym in the Bronx's Pelham Bay. On Tuesday, park workers were seen putting netting around the exercise areas there to prevent it from happening again.
“The numbers look like it may be turning. ‘Yay, it’s over!’ No, it’s not. And other places have made that mistake,” Cuomo said. "Now is not the time to play Frisbee in the park. It's just not. I want to be, frankly, more aggressive on the enforcement because all the anecdotal evidence is that people are violating it at a higher rate than before. "
Cases of COVID-19 in the tri-state continued to swell, nearly half of which were found in the city. New York City and the state in general were also home to the vast majority of tri-state deaths. In the U.S. overall, nearly 11,000 had died as of Monday night, with over the number of confirmed cases starting to inch toward 400,000.
"It's not about your life. You have no right to risk someone else's life," Cuomo said.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was actively fighting to halt gatherings, and encouraged "anyone who sees crowding — call 311 right away and we will send enforcement agents immediately."
It wasn't just occurring in the city. Across the river at Pershing Field Park in Jersey City, people could be seen bypassing barricades to jog, walk or even just hang out in the fresh air.
In both New York and New Jersey, no summonses were issued for the crowds on Monday, according to police.