NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As much as we hear about the importance of social distancing, some people are blatantly disobeying the rules and could face legal action.
If property managers weren’t busy enough dealing with leaks, maintenance and other minor squabbles, this month, Jim Simari of Harlem Property Management is also adding “party crasher” to his list of job duties.
“It’s just unfathomable, to be honest, that people would go such lengths to violate the law,” Simari told CBS2’s Christina Fan.
Simari oversees about 50 properties in Harlem.
In seven of them, he says people are blatantly ignoring social distancing orders.
He says surveillance videos taken from the basement of The Hamilton on West 145th Street shows the same resident sneaking in friends against the governor’s executive order.
“If you want to affect yourself, that’s one thing, but now you’re affecting the whole building population, hundreds of people are now at risk,” Simari said.
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With violators unresponsive to warnings or fines, many property managers are turning to the court system for relief.
Attorney Massimo D’Angelo says obtaining a temporary restraining order is the only effective way to stop the gatherings.
“If you don’t get a court order, you cannot proceed to hold the resident who is not complying in contempt and have them arrested,” D’Angelo said.
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So far, the NYPD has issued 76 summonses and made 15 social distancing arrests.
But residents say when they call police to respond to homes, officers rarely show up.
“They are not going to these various buildings to inspect whether somebody has a few guests or is throwing a party in a residential unit. The only real way to stop it is by obtaining a court order,” D’Angelo said.
D’Angelo says the longer non-essential gatherings are prohibited, the more these types of cases will likely arise.