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COVID Clusters In NYC: De Blasio Promises Crackdown With Hefty Fines, Enforcement For Violations In Hot Zones

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The new lockdown is set to begin Thursday in COVID-19 hot zones in Brooklyn and Queens.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is promising to crack down with hefty fines and enforcement for violations.

As CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Wednesday, angry members of the Orthodox Jewish community took to the streets in protest after Gov. Andrew Cuomo handed down a new set of lockdown rules that limits the number of people that attend services in houses of worship.

Several people perceived to be journalists were beaten, including 34-year-old Berish Getz, who was hospitalized. There were no immediate arrests.

"The NYPD will not tolerate people doing harm to others. There will be no tolerance for assault or damage to property or setting fires. Anything like that is unacceptable," de Blasio said. "You must adhere to the instructions of the NYPD. If you don't, there will be consequences."

City Council member Kalman Yeger is one of four elected officials calling on the mayor and governor to change the rules about attendance in churches and synagogues. He said they should be based on the size of the house of worship, and not an arbitrary number like 10.

He said the demonstrators have a goal.

"Change the mayor and governor's mind. Look, very much I think the the governor, the mayor both know -- this is not the first time they've made decisions that they have the ability to look back on and say maybe we went a little too far, maybe we didn't do the right thing," he said.

After months of playing Mr. Nice Guy, handing out masks instead of summonses, Mayor de Blasio changed his tune, taking a tougher approach as more protests are planned Wednesday night.

"The state has laid down very clear rules. Everyone must follow these rules. NYPD will be enforcing the rules," de Blasio said.

The mayor apparently concluded that the governor is right, that tough enforcement is the answer to beating back the spread of coronavirus in hot zones in Brooklyn and Queens.

Now, ignoring the rules will cost you.

"On mass meetings, violations will be $15,000 a day. The fine for not wearing face coverings and not maintaining social distancing can be as high as $1,000 a day," the mayor said. "No one wants to fine anyone if it can be avoided. This is a very serious situation and people need to adhere to the rules."


The lockdown plan is a complicated three-zone plan to limit mass gatherings. The governor made it clear he believes the mayor's soft approach in some communities has led to the increase in infections.

"There are no options here. The facts are that blunt. If you don't slow the infection it will increase," Cuomo said. "To the extent the communities are upset it's because they haven't been following the rules... If we had enforced the first rules we wouldn't be here in the first place."

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