ALBANI, New York (AP) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that New York would seek $ 20,000 in fines against organizers of The Chainsmokers’ July concert, who saw widespread violations of social distancing rules.
The Democrat also threatened to take away state funding for schools in coronavirus hotspots that disregard orders to close their doors, saying their failure to increase them endangers public health.
“This is the last and final warning,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo called the concert, which was attended by more than 2,150 people, a “gross violation” of the rules. The concert organizers declined to comment through their promotional campaign.
Cuomo said he was temporarily suspending the city of Southampton’s ability to issue permits for such events without state approval.
Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the city had already asked the state to consider permits for special events, but said it did not know about Cuomo’s decision until it announced it on Wednesday.
Schneiderman said, “this is a standard that no other city should go through.”
Kuomo’s aides told the city’s lawyers on Wednesday afternoon that the city had made mistakes in resolving the event, but did not share what those mistakes were or which events needed state approval, Schneiderman said.
“We followed the rule when we issued the permit and the state may feel differently,” he said. “It’s challenging when an event organizer doesn’t follow the rules.”
“If we make a mistake, let us know what it is and give us a chance to fix it,” he added.
The governor, who has been complaining for weeks about the failure of some local governments to impose restrictions on the coronavirus, also said Wednesday that the state would send a letter to local governments warning they would lose state funding if they did not impose restrictions on public gatherings. and schools.
The governor recently ordered schools in certain cluster areas to switch to distance learning for at least 14 days to help stop the spread of the virus. Cuomo said the letter would go to New York, Orange County, Rockland County, the city of Ramapo and the village of Spring Valley.
Cuomo did not immediately say exactly how much money could be withheld, nor did he name schools that violated the rules.
The action came after some news organizations, including Gothamist, reported that Jewish religious schools remained open in violation of rules in parts of Brooklyn.
“I guarantee that if a yeshiva is closed and they do not receive government funding, you will see compliance,” Cuomo said.
The Orange County Ministry of Health said it had issued notice of closure Tuesday in three schools that remained open around the Orthodox Jewish city of Palm Tree, one with children and two who failed to apply masks. and county spokesperson’s social distancing protocols.
The governor said the state has wide discretion to withhold state aid.
“We have the opportunity to keep all the funds from the settlement,” Cuomo said. “All the funding. Which is significant. How much would we punish them? It depends and will be at our discretion. Because we could grab all the money. “
He called on local authorities to take implementation seriously.
“They have the staff, they just have to be ready to do it,” he said.
___ Associated Press contributor Michael Hill contributes with reporting.