New York City

NYPD Investigates at Least 3 Mask-Related Attacks in One Week

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An IHOP employee was slashed, a 60-year-old woman was assaulted and a man was punched and robbed in three separate mask-related incidents in New York City last week.

The first incident occurred last Tuesday at the pancake house on Hillside Avenue in Queens, according to the NYPD. One employee told a man he had to wear mask and he allegedly refused, so the staff told him to leave. Police say the man walked out and came back with a knife and cut a 40-year-old woman on her arm, resulting in a would that required seven stitches.

On that very same day and just minutes apart in Manhattan, a 37-year-old man told police he got into a dispute with about six men who were allegedly on the 2 train without masks. Police say the victim was punched in the face and head and the men removed his backpack before exiting the train.

With daily COVID-19 positivity rates rising in New York City, the MTA Mask Force is looking to step up compliance, distributing masks to commuters and encouraging all riders to continue to wear them. News Four's Andrew Siff has the latest of the efforts being taken by the MTA to achieve 100% mask compliance

The two attacks follow another incident Friday, Nov. 13, when a 60-year-old woman was assaulted by a maskless man and a woman who were going to ride an elevator at the Barclays Center subway station with her. Police say the victim suffered brusing to her face and pain to her legs.

Throughout the pandemic, there have been many violent attacks that often followed a request for someone to put on face covering as mandated by state law to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many of the attacks were against MTA employees.

It has been a little over two months since Gov. Andrew Cuomo's mask fine went into effect for MTA riders, and according to data released last week, riders have been following the mask rule for the most part.

A mere 10 summonses have been issued since -- a small fraction considering there were over 19,000 positive encounters.

According to the MTA, since Sept. 14, MTA Police and Bridge and Tunnel Officers engagement has seen 9,555 verbal mask compliances. Additionally, 9,651 masks have been distributed during the time frame.

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