People who break social distancing rules in New York City will be subject to fines up to $500, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday, Politico reports. As New York battles the spread of coronavirus, the state has ordered nonessential businesses to shut down, banned gatherings of any size and mandated that people stay six feet away from each other. Not everyone has listened. Fines will be a last resort, but de Blasio has authorized police officers to give them out to people who are ordered to disperse but fail to do so. De Blasio said fines of $250 to $500 would begin for people found congregating in public spaces who fail to disperse when ordered, or return after officers have told them to move along. “You’ve been warned and warned and warned again,” the mayor said in a press conference.
“They’re going to give people every chance to listen, and if anyone doesn’t listen, then they deserve a fine at this point,” de Blasio said. “I don’t want to fine people when so many folks are going through economic distress, but if they haven’t gotten the message by now, and they don’t get the message when an enforcement officer’s staring them in the face … that person then deserves the fine, so we’re going to proceed with that.” As subway service cuts have led to crowded cars on some trains despite a massive drop in ridership, de Blasio said police and transit workers would do checks of subway cars and force riders off cars that are too crowded.