NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Health officials are warning our behavior this Labor Day Weekend could impact how the coronavirus spreads in the coming months.
That’s a concern for some residents in the West Village after a large party in Washington Square Park on Saturday night, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported.
It was a beautiful out on Sunday, so it’s easy to see why so many people would want to come to the park, and for the most part Bauman saw people wearing masks and keeping their distance from others.
But that wasn’t the case the night before.
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Video shows people of all ages, including hundreds of young people, partying in Washington Square Park.
Kids were dancing, drinking, and having what looked like a normal college weekend, but these are, of course, abnormal times, and social gatherings are limited to 50 people.
Many of them did not appear to be wearing masks.
Video shows police cars and officers stationed outside the park seemingly on standby, but not appearing to enforce any crowd control.
Bauman could not say who or where this crowd is from, but Washington Square Park is a popular New York University spot.
Before the gathering, the school had already suspended more than 20 students for not following social distancing rules.
“Some people are acting like it’s all back to normal and some people are taking like the most extreme measures as well,” student Katya Urvan said.
Bauman spoke to one student who said the university is enforcing the rules, and one West Village resident who said the problem is much bigger than the spot in the park.
“Very strict. They’re suspending kids for not wearing a mask outside and stuff. It’s super crazy,” freshman Noam Rahminiam said. “Let’s say another kid knows me and he’ll take a picture of me and sends it to someone if I wasn’t wearing a mask and expose me, kind of.”
“They can’t even enforce the restaurant on my block. They block the sidewalks. The tables are all close to each other, so imagine they’re not doing that for restaurants. To try and control all this, what do you think?” resident Tequila Minsky said. “Socially distancing, I would imagine if I was their age I wouldn’t be doing it either.”
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Bauman saw social distancing ambassadors, as well as city park rangers, handing out masks in the park on Sunday.
“I think for the most part people gather together with people they come with, so it might appear as they’re not social distancing, but I think they are because I think they’re in groups,” West Village resident Deborah Courtney said.
In a statement, NYU told CBS2, “We’ve made it emphatically and repeatedly clear to our students that the safety and health rules we’ve put in place this year apply at all times — whether they’re on campus or off campus in public parks, such as Washington Square Park.”
NYU has been testing students arriving for the semester since mid-August, and said out of 17,000 tests, there have been 17 positive cases. Those students who test positive are required to isolate and are overseen by NYU’s COVID-19 response team.
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