NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Friday night executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo now allows gatherings of up to 10 people in New York, but some are calling the move shocking, saying it could put people at risk.
Cloudy, rainy weather on Saturday kept crowds away from some parks and some of New York City’s just-added Open Streets.
Thirteen additional miles went car-free to give pedestrians and cyclists extra space, just a day after Cuomo signed an unexpected executive order allowing groups of 10 to gather.
The news was particularly exciting for those planning holiday get-togethers.
“I felt like it was the first step to going back to whatever the new normal is,” said Krystal Zamora, of the Upper East Side.
But the governor says the order only slightly eases up on restrictions and that social distancing must be followed.
“If you don’t have to be with a group of 10 people, don’t be with a group of 10 people. It doesn’t mean, OK, governor signed an executive order up to 10, let’s now have a party of 10 people,” Cuomo said.
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The order was criticized by city councilman Mark Levine, chair of the health committee, who tweeted, “This shocking order, forced by a lawsuit, changes nothing about the risks associated with group gatherings – especially those held indoors. We need the public to continue to be smart and use judgement about the risks of this virus, regardless of what the court has forced on us.”
The lawsuit was filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union, which argued a previous order allowing groups of 10 to gather for religious and other circumstances did not go far enough.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, asked New Yorkers not to gather outside bars and restaurants, CBS2’s Christina Fan reports.
On Saturday, the sheriff’s department drove down Second Avenue, spreading the city’s message of take out, don’t hang out.
“We do not want to see people try and create de facto outdoor seating or de facto parties. We’d love it, but we can’t do it. It’s not safe,” de Blasio said.
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The governor’s new executive order is open to every New Yorker, but some residents said they are not yet ready to widen their circles and take gatherings indoors.
“We’re staying outside and we’re just stopping by quickly,” Astoria resident Angela Jeffers told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
“This is the first time we’ve seen a lot of our friends. We’re sort of driving by and bringing doughnuts to people, just doing quick kind of drive-by hellos,” Astoria resident Levi Fishman said.
“It would be nice to eventually get back to a more normal,” said David Bui, of the West Side.
“So 10 people, just not yet?” Carlin asked.
“Not yet for me,” Bui said.
“So is it worth the risk? You have to make that judgement,” Cuomo said.