- NYC Mayor De Blasio showed up at an Orthodox Jewish funeral in Williamsburg Tuesday and threatened mourners with arrest for ignoring social distancing
- Shocking photos revealed hundreds of people gathered in the streets to pay their respects to Rabbi Chaim Mertz who died from coronavirus
- Mourners were crammed much closer than six feet, many without masks
- De Blasio slammed their actions ‘absolutely unacceptable’ on Twitter
- He said the police will issue summons and even arrest people gathering
- His comments sparked a backlash from some members of the Jewish community who said he was ‘singling out’ the group
- The NYPD said officers did not ticket or arrest anybody at Tuesday’s funeral
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has instructed police to arrest mourners at funerals and anyone gathering in large groups in a new ‘zero tolerance’ approach to stop the spread of coronavirus – after he drove across New York City to witness hundreds gathered in Brooklyn.
The mayor showed up at an Orthodox Jewish funeral in Williamsburg Tuesday night and threatened mourners with arrest for ignoring social distancing rules.
De Blasio traveled to personally shut down the gathering after images surfaced on social media of a massive funeral for a rabbi who died from coronavirus.
Shocking photos revealed hundreds of people gathered in the streets to pay their respects to Rabbi Chaim Mertz.
The mourners were seen crammed in together much closer than the six feet recommended under social distancing guidelines and many people were not wearing face masks.
The mass gathering is also a violation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order banning non-essential gatherings.
De Blasio slammed the mourners on Twitter calling their actions ‘absolutely unacceptable’.
‘Something absolutely unacceptable happened in Williamsburg tonite: a large funeral gathering in the middle of this pandemic,’ he wrote.
‘When I heard, I went there myself to ensure the crowd was dispersed. And what I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the Coronavirus.’
The mayor went on to send a stark warning to the community that the police will issue summons and even arrest people flouting social distancing guidelines.
‘My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.’
De Blasio’s response faced a backlash from some members of the Jewish community who said he was ‘singling out’ the group.
‘This has to be a joke.Did the Mayor of NYC really just single out one specific ethnic community (a community that has been the target of increasing hate crimes in HIS city) as being noncompliant??’ wrote Chaim Deutsch, a City Council member who represents a large Orthodox Jewish population, in a Twitter post.
‘Has he been to a park lately? (What am I saying – of course he has!)’
‘But singling out one community is ridiculous,’ he added in another post. ‘Every neighborhood has people who are being non-compliant. To speak to an entire ethnic group as though we are all flagrantly violating precautions is offensive, it’s stereotyping, and it’s inviting antisemitism. I’m truly stunned.’
The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council also Tweeted anger at the mayor’s response.
‘People failed to social distance at a funeral the same day that thousands of New Yorkers failed to distance for 45 minutes to watch a flyover,’ the council Tweeted, in reference to the thousands of people who flocked to the banks of the Hudson Tuesday to watch the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels fly across the city’s skies in honor of health care workers battling the pandemic.
The NYPD has been called to break up several funerals and gatherings across the city amid the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the NYPD told the New York Post officers did not ticket or arrest anybody at Tuesday’s funeral.
This comes the same day that Cuomo revealed his 12-step plan to reopening the state and told New Yorkers it would take a ‘miracle’ for New York City to reach the requirements needed to be able to relax lockdown in the next few weeks.
Cuomo’s lockdown officially ends on May 15 but he said on Monday he would extend it for some regions of the state where the data suggests there is still a problem.
In upstate New York, the infection rate is believed to be as low as three percent whereas in New York City, it is nearly 25 percent, according to an antibody study the state is carrying out.
The first step of the plan is to ensure that the region being reopened has seen declining coronavirus cases for 14 days.
New York City is a long way from that benchmark and it continues to make up the vast majority of all COVID-19 deaths and cases in the state.
As of Tuesday night, New York City recorded 11,820 deaths and 157,713 infections.
Across the state, there have been 17,638 deaths and 295,106 confirmed cases of the deadly virus.