New Yorkers Will Be Fined up to $500 for Violating Social Distancing Guidelines


New York City will begin enforcing its social distancing rules by fining residents who violate them up to $500, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday.

The fines will come after police give warnings to disperse, de Blasio said, and should be used as a last resort. But the announcement marks a new chapter in New York City’s fight to keep people inside and away from each other.

“They’re going to give people every chance to listen, and if anyone doesn’t listen, then they deserve a fine at this point,” de Blasio said.

He added, “I don’t want to fine people when so many folks are going through economic distress, but if they haven’t gotten the message by now, and they don’t get the message when an enforcement officer’s staring them in the face… that person then deserves the fine, so we’re going to proceed with that.”

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De Blasio said the fines will start at $250 and go up to $500. The mayor also said NYPD and MTA workers will be doing checks of subway cars and forcing riders to disperse if the cars are too crowded.

Subway service in the city has been cut dramatically as the number of riders has also plummetted, Politico reported.

As of Sunday, there were 32,308 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 678 people had already died in New York City. On Monday morning, the USNS Comfort Navy ship arrived in New York City’s harbor.

The 1,000-bed hospital ship will be used to treat patients who are not infected with coronavirus in order to free up the hospitals to treat patients who are.

There is also an emergency hospital being constructed in Central Park to treat the overflow of coronavirus patients.

“We’re going to be using every place we need to use,” de Blasio said. “This is the kind of thing you will see now as this crisis develops and deepens.”

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Isaac Saul is a senior politics reporter, editor and founding member at A Plus, the positive news oulet founded by Ashton Kutcher. He also writes the independent, non-partisan, ad-free politics newsletter Tangle. His reporting focuses on Congress, elections, immigration and climate change. His writing has appeared in CNN, The New York Daily News, The Forward, Yahoo!, The Huffington Post, Quartz, and been cited by The Washington Post, The New York Times and Fox News, among others. Before A Plus, he was an Associate Editor at The Huffington Post and the sports editor at The Pitt News.

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