New York – New York City officials handed out 62 fines last weekend to those who violated social distancing rules imposed in the areas of Brooklyn and Queens with outbreaks of coronavirus, totaling $ 150,000.
Among those fined, city officials reported, are five religious institutions that have not been named.
The violations come at a time when New York City is experiencing a steady increase in coronavirus infections, but concentrated in a dozen boroughs in Brooklyn and Queens, most of them where a significant portion of the Jewish community resides. orthodox.
This circumstance has led the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, to establish strict measures in the most affected areas, including the closure of schools and the prohibition of carrying out religious ceremonies of more than 10 people, and to specifically request Orthodox Jews who comply with the rules.
Anyone who does not do so is exposed to fines of up to $ 15,000, plus a penalty of $ 1,000 for people who refuse to wear masks, something that is frequently seen in Hasidic communities.
“For New York to be a safe city, we must work together,” city authorities said this Sunday on social media, recalling that areas with outbreaks in Brooklyn and Queens will continue to receive medical care and free coronavirus tests.
In recent weeks, the governor has harshly criticized city authorities, accusing them of not implementing the measures that the state has designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“People see that the law is not being implemented, and then they throw it away,” Cuomo said in a phone call with reporters Sunday.
The Orthodox community has resisted the New York State measures imposed last week and, in a complaint filed in court, a group of rabbis and synagogues claimed that the rules violated the first amendment to the United States Constitution. , freedom of religion.
However, last Friday a judge dismissed the lawsuit, while Cuomo recalled that his measures are not pointing to the Orthodox Jewish community, but clarifying that this group “will not receive special treatment.”