New Yorkers who violate social distance rules can now face fines of up to $ 500

Mar 30, 2020 11:55 PM ET

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks on March 24 in the city’s Emergency Management Warehouse Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

New York City residents who violate social distance rules face fines of up to $ 500, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday.

As New York City fights the spread of the corona virus, the state has not ordered major companies to close, banned gatherings of any size, and ordered people to stay half a meter apart. Not everyone listened.

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Fines will be a last resort, but de Blasio has authorized police officers to pass them on to those who are ordered to disperse but do not.

On Sunday, there were 32,308 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the city, and the death toll rose to 678.

De Blasio said fines ranging from $ 250 to $ 500 were imposed on people who gather in public spaces and do not disperse or return on orders after officials have told them to continue.

“You were warned and warned and warned again,” said the mayor during a press conference on Sunday.

“They will give people every chance to listen, and if someone does not listen, they deserve a fine here,” said de Blasio. “I don’t want to punish people when there are so many people in economic need, but if they haven’t understood the message yet and they don’t get the message when a law enforcement officer stares at their faces. That person then earned the fine, so we’ll go ahead with it. “

Another sign of how badly the city was hit by the pandemic is that a field hospital is being built in the heart of Central Park to cope with the influx of patients

Mount Sinai Hospital and aid agency Samaritan’s Purse are setting up the hospital in tents on the East Meadow of the famous park, de Blasio said on Sunday. It will have 68 beds and is expected to be operational until Tuesday.

“We will use every place we need,” said de Blasio. “You will see something like this now as this crisis develops and deepens.”

Since the cut in subway services on some trains has resulted in overcrowded cars despite a massive drop in passenger numbers, de Blasio also announced that NYPD and MTA employees will check subway cars and drivers of overcrowded cars would force.

It was not clear where to send drivers who were removed from a crowded wagon to keep them at a safe distance.

The ferry to Staten Island will reduce service to one boat per hour from midnight. The number of ferry drivers has dropped by 86 percent.

The city is adding additional ambulances, tours and emergency services as the number of emergency calls has flooded the emergency line. At the end of last week, the number of medical calls reached a level never seen in history.

“The number of emergency calls has skyrocketed and is an enormous demand for EMS,” said de Blasio. “We have never seen our EMS system ever get so many calls.”

On Saturday, the city sent 1,400 additional ventilators to hospitals in the five districts. New York assumes that 15,000 life-saving devices will be needed before the crisis climbs, and calls on the federal government to send at least 400 more by Wednesday.

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