Cuomo warns schools of scoffers, calls for fine at Chainsmokers concert

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ALBANY, NY (AP) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday that New York would seek fines of $ 20,000 against promoters who staged a Chainsmokers concert in July that saw widespread violations of social distancing rules.

The Democrat has also threatened to withdraw state funding from schools in coronavirus hotspots that ignore orders to close their doors, saying their challenge endangers public health.

“This is a final and final warning,” Cuomo said.

The governor’s office said The Chainsmokers concert promoter In the Know Experiences broke public health law at the Southampton event by staging a non-essential gathering and breaking rules requiring that people wear masks if they could not stay 6 feet (2 meters) away. ) a part. Crowds gathered towards the end of the concert despite the presence of private security and city police.

Cuomo called the concert, which was attended by more than 2,150 people, a “flagrant violation” of the rules. The concert organizers declined to comment through their promotion company.

Cuomo said he is also temporarily revoking the ability of the City of Southampton to issue permits for similar events without state approval.

Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the city had previously asked the state to weigh in on special event permits, but said it was not aware of Cuomo’s decision before announcing it on Wednesday.

Schneiderman said, “This is a standard that no other city should cross. “

Cuomo’s aides told city attorneys Wednesday afternoon that the city made mistakes in allowing the event, but did not share what those mistakes were or what events required state approval, Schneiderman said.

“We followed the rule when we issued the permit and the state may think otherwise,” he said. “It’s difficult when an event organizer doesn’t follow the rules.”

“If we make a mistake, tell us what it is and give us a chance to correct it,” he added.

The governor, who for weeks lamented the failure of some local governments to enforce the coronavirus restrictions, also said on Wednesday that the state would send a letter to local governments warning they would lose state funding. ‘they did not enforce the limits of public gatherings and schools.

The governor recently ordered schools in designated cluster areas to switch to distance learning for at least 14 days to help prevent the spread of the virus. Cuomo said the letter would be sent to New York City, Orange County, Rockland County, the town of Ramapo and the village of Spring Valley.

Cuomo didn’t immediately say exactly how much money could be withheld or named from schools that were breaking the rules.

The action came after some news outlets, including Gothamist, reported that Jewish religious schools remained open regardless of the rules in parts of Brooklyn.

“I guarantee you that if a yeshiva is closed and it won’t get public funding, you’ll see compliance,” Cuomo said.

The Orange County Health Department said it issued cease and desist notices on Tuesday at three schools that had remained open around the Orthodox Jewish town of Palm Tree, one that carried children into buses and two that did not implement mask and social distancing protocols, according to a county spokesperson.

The governor said the state has wide discretion to refuse state aid.

“We have the ability to seize all the funds in a locality,” Cuomo said. “All the funding. Which is significant. How much would we penalize them? It depends and it would be at our discretion. Because we could seize all the funds.

He urged local governments to take enforcement seriously.

“They have the staff, they just have to be prepared to do it,” he said.

___ Michael Hill, Associated Press editor, contributed reporting.

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