NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Medical experts still believe social distancing is essential to slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Yet not everyone is heeding their warnings.

The governors of both New York and New Jersey have called for crackdowns on people gathering in large groups.

Now, the NYPD is stepping up patrols to help enforce compliance.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he saw people gathering at parks and basketball courts over the weekend. In response, he asked city leaders to come up with a crowd-reduction plan as soon as possible.

The NYPD has now started a new series of patrols to monitor places like restaurants that are open for takeout and public spaces to make sure people are keeping a safe distance.

On Sunday alone, officers visited thousands of spots across the city. CBS2 has learned they issued warnings to three supermarkets, three restaurants, four in public spaces and 58 at personal care facilities.

For now, they’re just warnings, but local officials say if people don’t stop meeting in large groups, they’re going to have to come up with new rules.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

Over the weekend, Cuomo did not hold back how he felt about people who weren’t taking social distancing seriously.

“I was in these parks, you would not know that anything was going on,” he said. “It’s insensitive, it’s arrogant… It has to stop and it has to stop now… This is not a joke, and I am not kidding.”

As of Monday, almost 7% of the city’s police department had reported sick – more than double the average.

The latest numbers showed 100 uniformed members and 29 civilians had tested positive for the coronavirus.

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