SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he wants local governments to crack down on social distancing and fine those who don’t obey the guidelines.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day said it’s about time the governor made that clear, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.

“Frankly, there has been a laxness on social distancing, especially over this past weekend. That is just wholly unacceptable,” the governor said Monday. “You don’t have the right to risk someone else’s life… You don’t have the right, frankly, to take a health care staff and people who are literately putting their lives on the line, and be cavalier or reckless with them. You just don’t have the right.”

Day complained last week that Cuomo’s executive order left it unclear whether police can enforce the social distancing directives. On Monday, the governor removed any doubt.

“The local governments are charged with enforcement. I want them to enforce them, and I want to, frankly, be more aggressive on the enforcement,” Cuomo said.

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The governor announced the maximum fine would increase to $1,000.

“The idea here is to give the force of law to a police officer so the person he or she is speaking with knows they mean business. We’re not looking to handcuff people,” said Day.

The coronavirus map shows the town of Ramapo with the most cases by far. It includes Monsey, the center of Rockland’s Hasidic Jewish community, where some complain social distancing is spotty.

Clothing stores are considered non-essential, but Aiello saw one opened Monday for customer pick-up.

Monsey is also seeing gatherings during burial services, such as one from last week.


New City resident Denise Weiss was among those raising concerns.

“I’m not anti-Semitic. I am Jewish. This is not a religious issue. This is a public safety issue,” Weiss said.

On Monday in Spring Valley, men, mostly Hispanic, gathered near the train station. Yossie Gestetner of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council said critics should not single out his community.

“Obviously, it’s a problem all over New York, so to have a conversation about Orthodox Jews this, Orthodox Jews that, that’s a misleading narrative,” Gestetner said.

The county executive said enforcement of social distancing will be done fairly. If everyone follows the guidelines, there will be no need to get tough.


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