New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, frustrated by a crowd gathered for a rabbi’s funeral in Brooklyn on Tuesday, ordered the New York Police Department to arrest citizens caught gathering in large groups amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Newsweek reported that hundreds of people turned up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn tonight to honor Rabbi Chaim Mertz who recently passed away due to coronavirus-related complications. The NYPD quickly arrived on the scene to break up the mourners who were flouting the city’s social distancing guidelines.
After the incident, de Blasio warned the Jewish community against future large gatherings amid the pandemic.
“My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed,” the mayor tweeted on Tuesday evening. “I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”
De Blasio asserted that officials will not allow these types of gatherings, even for a funeral. “Something absolutely unacceptable happened in Williamsburg tonite [sic]: a large funeral gathering in the middle of this pandemic,” the mayor tweeted. “When I heard, I went there myself to ensure the crowd was dispersed. And what I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the Coronavirus.”
“I have instructed the NYPD to have one standard for this whole city: zero tolerance,” he added.