Crowds Back Outside New York City’s Bars In Weekends

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  • (AP) New York City residents were seen flouting social distancing restrictions for a night on the town Saturday.

    Video shot on Manhattan’s Upper East Side neighborhood shows large crowds gathered, many with drinks in hand but no masks on their faces, putting their lives in danger.

    Bars and restaurants in the city have been restricted to takeout and delivery service since mid-March, when coronavirus cases started to soar, but some in Manhattan were allowing people to dine and drink inside on Saturday.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday officials may go so far as shutting down establishments that are violating social distancing rules. And he is asking residents to call 311, the city’s non-emergency hotline, if they see such crowding.

    “We’re not going to tolerate people starting to congregate. It’s as simple as that,” de Blasio said Sunday. “If we have to shut places down, we will.”

    After a rash of violent social distancing arrests involving people of color, the city eased up on social distancing enforcement this week by no longer having police officers break up small groups of people or confront citizens about failing to wear a mask.

    As the weather heats up, though, more and more New Yorkers are flocking to public spaces and familiar haunts for a sense of normalcy after spending most of the last two months cooped up inside — and not always policing themselves.

    The coronavirus causes only mild symptoms in many, but it can cause serious illness or death for some, particularly older adults and those with certain health conditions.

    The U.S. ranks first in the world in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus.

    Worldwide, the outbreak has infected more than 4.7 million people and killed over 314,000, according to the same Johns Hopkins University tally based on figures supplied by government health authorities around the globe, though it has become increasingly clear that the true numbers are much higher.

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