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Cuomo May Cancel Reopening After State Receives 25K Complaints of Violations

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Cuomo May Cancel Reopening After State Receives 25K Complaints of Violations

2020-06-15 21:55:35

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Andrew Cuomo (Image source: Screenshot)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had some harsh words for New Yorkers on Sunday. After easing the state into reopening, there were 25,000 complaints received of businesses violating the measures and rules that were stipulated to reopen while the coronavirus pandemic is still in play. He threatened to shut everything down again. 

"We're getting reports from all across the state that there are large gatherings, social distancing is being violated, people are not wearing masks," Cuomo said during a Sunday news briefing.

"We have never received more complaints in a shorter period of time. ... Think about how concerned New Yorkers are not just to see the violation but then to care enough to come back and write a letter or call registering the complaint." 

Cuomo allowed that he's mainly talking about businesses in Manhattan and in the Hamptons. This weekend images circulated of residents in those areas attending restaurants and bars in force. He added he would reverse reopening plans regionally before considering doing it statewide. Also thrown out by the governor was a threat to pull liquor licenses from some bars and restaurants that were in violation of the reopening plans.

Some other states have opened earlier than suggested by experts, and now they are dealing with the repercussions. The governors of Oregon and Utah had to halt their reopening plans last week because of an increase in infection rates after the restrictions were loosened. More than 20 states have seen COVID-19 cases surge. 

"The virus makes the timeline," said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D). "We don't make the timeline."

The country's top infectious disease expert, who is also on the White House coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, had warned earlier this month that this whole thing is far from over. He's still troubled that the virus "just took over the planet." 

"Oh my goodness. Where is it going to end? We're still at the beginning of really understanding," said Fauci last week during a virtual conference.

New York, the epicenter of the virus in the United States, saw a dramatic decline in transmission recently after months of asking residents to stay at home. He said Saturday New York City had "tamed the beast" after it had its lowest number of virus hospitalizations since March 20. 

"We lost 23 New Yorkers to COVID yesterday — a new record low," he tweeted on Sunday. "Total COVID hospitalizations fell to 1,657, the lowest since March 20. The data show we're continuing to make great progress."

Despite that, he's not about to let this get away from him. He told residents the state would not mimic other states that saw surges in infections once restrictions were lessened. 

"We are not kidding around with this. You're talking about jeopardizing people's lives," said Cuomo. "It's not hard to figure out what is happening here. It's happened in half the states in the nation. So far, we have been the exception. We're not going to go back to that dark place because local government didn't do its job."

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