Large crowds of New Yorkers ignored social-distance regulations and packed the west side of Manhattan on Monday to watch a US Navy hospital ship arrive to relieve the city’s overrun hospitals amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Photos shared on social media of the gawkers showed the crowd standing shoulder to shoulder as they snapped photos of the USNS Comfort as it pulled into Pier 90 near West 50th Street at about 10:40 a.m.
Joggers out for a morning run could be seen coming into close contact with some of the onlookers as others pressed up against one another at the fence of the pier.
— ajkrzywiec (@anthonykrzywiec) March 30, 2020
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s communications team directed the NYPD to get the crowds to disperse after photos of the crowd began to circulate on social media, reports The New York Post.
“The pictures made me realize it was happening and I reported it to detail who got involved,” City Hall spokesperson Freddi Goldstein said.
These photos of NYC crowds watching the arrival of the US Navy hospital ship Comfort were taken this morning.
— Jenna Amatulli (@ohheyjenna) March 30, 2020
“This is a new reality for all of us and we’re all adjusting. The mayor and the police commissioner are in regular contact to make sure our officers understand this new ask of them, as well,” she added.
De Blasio has warned New Yorkers that they could face $500 fines if they ignore orders from city officials to disperse.
Way to go, New York.
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) March 30, 2020
“The goal here is just to get people to comply for their safety and everyone’s safety,” de Blasio said on Monday morning.
“We still have some people who are holding out — what our officers and our other enforcement agencies are going to do, they’re going to go up to someone to say, ‘You have got to disperse now,’” he added.