New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is enlisting new allies in the city’s efforts to contain the coronavirus: your friends and neighbors. The real enemy, of course, being you.
De Blasio urged on April 18 for New Yorkers to rat out anyone they see failing to practice social distancing.
“We still know there’s some people who need to get the message. And that means sometimes making sure the enforcement is there to educate people and make clear we’ve got to have social distancing,” de Blasio said in a video on Twitter.
The tattling procedure is “simple,” he explained: Take a photo of a scofflaw person or crowd, set the location on the image, and text it to a certain number.
“Action will ensue,” de Blasio warned darkly. Repeat offenders face fines as high as $1,000.
Setting New Yorkers against one another “could result in acts of random violence,” warned retired NYPD sergeant Joseph Giacalone. “Maybe he should be figuring out why he didn’t have enough PPEs for cops and EMS workers,” the ex-sarge said of the mayor.
“I’d rather yell at them,” said out-of-work waiter Edwin Mendoza. “If you take a picture, that could cause a scene … People can hurt you.”
But Chris Colon, 26, works as a hospital clerk, and felt differently.
“With the way thing are now, I would snitch on anybody,” said Colon. “Have you seen how many people died in New York?”
The initiative came as new city data showed reason for cautious optimism: 513 new deaths were reported in 24 hours — 209 fewer lives lost than for the day before.