Councilman Calls New York Governor Cuomo’s Order Allowing Up to 10 People to Gather ‘Shocking’

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Councilman Calls New York Governor Cuomo's Order Allowing Up to 10 People to Gather 'Shocking'
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to members of the media at a information convention on May 21, 2020, in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty

New York City Council Member Mark Levine, chair of the physique’s well being committee, known as a call to reverse the state’s in-person gathering restrictions late Friday “shocking” after a federal lawsuit seems to have prompted the transfer.

In late March, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an government order prohibiting all non-essential gatherings of any dimension within the state. However, on Thursday, Cuomo introduced new guidelines permitting gatherings of 10 individuals or fewer for non secular providers or Memorial Day commemorations, offered that social distancing pointers have been adopted.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) sued the governor Friday for penalizing “New Yorkers who wish to engage in protest activity but are barred from doing so.”

The non-profit alleged that Cuomo was partaking in prohibited discrimination with respect to totally different actions underneath the First Amendment, which protects each non secular practices and the train of free speech.

“The pandemic does not provide license to government officials to resort to content discrimination in determining who can exercise First Amendment rights and who cannot,” the lawsuit stated.

Later on Friday, Cuomo deserted course, reversing the earlier government order and increasing permissions to collect as much as 10 individuals to all non-essential actions, for any motive. His workplace declined to remark to Newsweek forward of a scheduled press convention Saturday morning.

“The right to protest and exercise free speech is the foundation of all our other liberties, and during a crisis is exactly when we need to be most vigilant about protecting it,” the NYCLU stated in a press release. “Health experts, elected officials, and police officers all agree that people can be outside safely while practicing social distancing, and it’s critical that lawmakers create guidelines and direct law enforcement uniformly.”

Friday’s reversal, although largely a forgone conclusion due to the federal lawsuit, earned push-back from some lawmakers. Levine stated in a tweet Friday the transfer “changes nothing about the risks associated with group gatherings.”

This surprising order, compelled by a lawsuit, adjustments nothing concerning the dangers related to group gatherings–especially these held indoors.

We want the general public to proceed to be sensible and use judgement concerning the dangers of this virus, no matter what the court docket has compelled on us. https://t.co/UexIsXWa8w

— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) May 23, 2020

Brad Lander, one other member of the New York City Council, stated on Twitter that whereas he helps “separation of church-and-state” and agrees “it has to be all or none,” leaping abruptly to 10-person gatherings was a “bad” transfer.

As of Thursday, New York has had 358,154 residents take a look at optimistic for COVID-19 through the course of the pandemic, greater than another state within the nation, in line with the New York State Department of Health. It has additionally endured 23,195 deaths from the illness.

But the state has for a number of weeks skilled an total decline in deaths, and plenty of areas are starting to reopen underneath the governor’s four-phase plan for alleviating restrictions.

New York City, lengthy the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, is itself on the precipice of reopening underneath the plan. It has but to fulfill three key metrics wanted to set off section one, however it’s “expected” to fulfill the requirement for contact tracing and is almost on the two thresholds for hospital capability.

Seven out of the state’s 10 areas have happy all seven metrics and are embarking on the primary section of reopening, which entails the development, agriculture and manufacturing industries, in addition to retail operations restricted to curbside or in-store pick-up.