White House Task Force Urging People To Mask Up

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio wants New Yorkers to be cautious of the coronavirus as they celebrate the upcoming Labor Day Weekend.

“Of course, families will be gathering, people will be taking time to appreciate each other’s company, and that’s a good thing. But what we can’t have is large gatherings,” he said Thursday. “This is a time where we’ve really learned the hard way – look what’s happened around this country, look what’s happening in other parts of the world, where large gatherings are the cause for a resurgence of this disease. We can’t let that happen.”

De Blasio also urged residents to avoid traveling, especially to states with high infection rates. He said anyone visiting or returning from those states must quarantine for 14-days.

“At this moment in history with all the challenges we’re facing, the best thing for any New Yorker to do is avoid going to one of those states or territories,” he said. “If you must, then you must respect the quarantine upon your return.

“If you’re someone traveling from those places, visiting New York City, visiting family, friends, whatever it may be, you have to respect the quarantine,” he added.

WATCH: Mayor De Blasio Delivers Briefing On Labor Day Weekend 

Like many large events, the pandemic forced the West Indian Day and J’Ouvert celebrations to go virtual this year.

Mayor de Blasio said fliers discouraging crowds are going out in parts of Brooklyn, where the West Indian Parade – a celebration of Caribbean culture – is usually held.

“People will be taking time to appreciate each other’s company, and that’s a good thing. But, what we can’t have is large gatherings. This is a time where we’ve really learned the hard way.”

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke joined the mayor for his briefing, telling people to honor their Caribbean heritage in a smart and safe way.

“We should all be proud of the contributions of the Caribbean community to the city of New York. But I want to urge everyone – we are in the middle of this pandemic. While tradition has dictated in the past that we gather together, this is not the time,” she said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, families spent Thursday stocking up on food and drinks as they get ready for Labor Day celebrations, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported.

Some are going all out to host the last holiday weekend of the summer, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s Dr. Deborah Birx said they should still wear masks and remain socially distant.

“It means at all times, including with family members that you may not have seen for a few weeks, including with the neighbors down the street. It is really important because we are seeing that crowded neighborhood events, including backyard barbecues, are currently one of the primary spreaders of virus.”

Currently, in New Jersey, the legal limit on outdoor gatherings is 500 people.

“Frankly the outdoor reality is not, at the moment at least, nearly the concern as the indoor reality,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “It’s the guy who’s renting out his house for a pool party. Even that, which is largely outdoors, you got people on top of each other. That’s the sort of behavior we cannot have at the moment.

New York is limiting outdoor gatherings to 50 people.

And they’re limited to 100 people in Connecticut.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said other holiday weekends have seen surges, but this one is crucial to prevent.

“Particularly, as we go on the other side of Labor Day and enter into the fall. We want to go into that with a running start in the right direction,” said Dr. Fauci.

Jeannette Ruiz, a Matawan, NJ resident, said she and her husband, a U.S. Army veteran, have been going by the book when it comes to taking precautions.

They told CBS2 they’ll have about a dozen close friends and family over outside this weekend.

“We’re not on top of each other, like where we are so affectionate…. No, that doesn’t seem to be happening,” said Ruiz.

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