NEW YORK — The New York Police Department, criticized over instances of harsh social distancing enforcement, will step back from ticketing people for gathering in small clusters or for failing to wear a mask, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.
The police will continue to disperse large gatherings that are most likely to present a risk of spreading the coronavirus, de Blasio said. “But we’re not going to have the NYPD focus on, you know, two people together or three people together,” he said. “We’re going to focus on when it starts to be more than a handful of people. And we’re not going to be having the NYPD enforcing on face coverings.”
Videos that have circulated on social media in recent days have shown officers punching a man in the head as he lay pinned to a sidewalk and arresting a young mother in a confrontation over a face covering in a subway station.
De Blasio has said that most New Yorkers are following guidelines banning gatherings and requiring face coverings in public.