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You can now be fined up to $1000 if you don’t practice social distancing in NYC

Written by
Howard Halle

Listen up New Yorkers: It's time to get real!

Whenever you leave the house, remember that you're not just going to the store or taking a stroll: You're entering the Hot Zone. With almost 65,000 confirmed cases and rising, New York City is now arguably the epicenter of a world-wide pandemic. And yet, the citizens of NYC seem awfully blasé about the need to stem the spread of the coronavirus by staying six feet apart from each other while outdoors. Which is why Governor Andrew Cuomo just increased the fine for those who don't comply with social distancing measures to $1,000.

The measure comes about a week after Mayor De Blasio just imposed fines ranging from $250 to $500.

Police officers are authorized to issue tickets to groups congregating in public who don't disperse when ordered to, or who come back to the same place later on. “You’ve been warned and warned and warned again,” the Mayor originally noted while announcing the directive, adding that if "they don’t get the message… that person then deserves the fine."

It's not like he doesn't have a point. Although Governor Cuomo has effectively put the city and state on pause, people still seem to be crowding into parks, doing things in close proximity like playing basketball, which necessitated the recent removal of hoops from city-run courts, the closure of playgrounds and of dog parks.

Left unanswered in all of this is just how the crackdown will be enforced or whether it will be done fairly (cough, stop-and-frisk, cough). But failing to maintain social distancing isn’t one of those "rights" New Yorkers reserve for themselves like jaywalking. It's dangerous, and the Mayor wants you to know that if you don't cut it out, you’ll have to pay up.

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