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De Blasio still unclear on how many mask summonses issued in COVID hot spots

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 10/6/2020 Michael Gartland

A day after Gov. Cuomo criticized local governments for failing to enforce COVID safety guidelines, Mayor de Blasio wouldn’t say how many summonses the city has issued to people for failing to wear masks in coronavirus hot spots.

“We’ll get you those numbers,” de Blasio said Tuesday morning at a press briefing. “The goal is to change behavior — never, ever wanted to penalize for the sake of penalizing.”

On Monday, Gov. Cuomo called out local governments — the Big Apple among them — for not enforcing mask-wearing guidelines, contending that people throughout the state are now well aware of the safety guidelines eight months into the pandemic.

“Too many local governments are not doing enforcement,” Cuomo said Monday. “Warnings are not enforcement. ‘Put a mask on or I will ticket you’ is not enforcement.”

a man wearing a suit and tie: Mayor Bill de Blasio was joined by NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza as they welcomed Middle School students to their first day of in person classes at the One World Middle School at 3750 Baychester Avenue in the Bronx on October 1, 2020. © Theodore Parisienne Mayor Bill de Blasio was joined by NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza as they welcomed Middle School students to their first day of in person classes at the One World Middle School at 3750 Baychester Avenue in the Bronx on October 1, 2020.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was joined by NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza as they welcomed Middle School students to their first day of in person classes at the One World Middle School at 3750 Baychester Avenue in the Bronx on October 1, 2020. (Theodore Parisienne/)

And while de Blasio still hasn’t released the number of summonses issued in COVID hotspots for mask compliance, he maintained Tuesday that the city has indeed taken a hard line.

For the second day in a row, he pointed to the city’s closure of yeshivas and businesses as proof that the city has been strictly enforcing COVID safety guidelines, and suggested that summonses are being issued when people don’t wear masks in public.

But he conceded those measures haven’t been enough to stem the rising tide of COVID-19 cases in nine zip codes, which include Borough Park, Midwood, Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, Far Rockaway and Kew Gardens. As a result, the city and state have agreed to shut down schools in those areas and are working on a plan that would shutter non-essential businesses.

a group of people in a field: People practice social distancing while enjoying the nice weather at Central Park's Sheep Meadow on Saturday, May 2, 2020, in New York. New York City police dispatched 1,000 officers this weekend to enforce social distancing as warmer weather tempted New Yorkers to come out of quarantine.

People practice social distancing while enjoying the nice weather at Central Park's Sheep Meadow on Saturday, May 2, 2020, in New York. New York City police dispatched 1,000 officers this weekend to enforce social distancing as warmer weather tempted New Yorkers to come out of quarantine.
© Provided by New York Daily News

“We distribute the masks. If people take the masks and wear the masks, that’s what we care about," de Blasio. “If someone refuses, that’s going to be a penalty right away."

De Blasio’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for statistics on how many summonses have been issued for failure to comply with mask-wearing guidelines.

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