By: Ellen Cans
Since Phase 2 reopening was introduced in New York City, allowing restaurants and bars to open up for outdoor seating, 311 call centers have been busy taking complaints about social distancing violations. As reported by the NY Post, the West Village, Upper East Side and Astoria led the list of ZIP codes with the most social distancing violations during the weekends of June 11-13 and 18-20, as per 311 city data. Those six days yielded 2,480 complaints– 1,208 in the first weekend and 1,272 last weekend from Thursday to Saturday. Apparently at many of the establishment, where alcohol was served on sidewalks and bike lanes, the beer goggles went on and the facial coverings came off, with social distancing turning into a thing of the past.
The reports prompted a response from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who reproached bar and restaurant owners, revelers and government officials on June 14. “These are not hard-to-spot violations. People send videos of these violations,” he said. “I’m not going to allow situations to exist, that we know have a high likelihood of causing an increase in the virus . . . Local governments, do your job.”
Of the complaints logged over the two weekends, 82 of the calls were for the West Village 10014 ZIP code, topping all New York City neighborhoods, as per the data from New York City Department of Information Technology. A bar-lined two-block stretch of Hudson Street alone, fetched eight of the 311 complaint calls. The Upper East Side’s 10028 ZIP code got 80 social-distancing complaint calls, with 28 of those for Second Avenue from 68th to 95th, or more than one grievance per block. The Astoria neighborhood got the third most complaints, with 73 calls for the 11103 zip code. Next on the list for complaints were Bay Ridge, SoHo, Williamsburg, and Astoria’s 11106 zip code, which logged 63, 61, 54 and 54 complaint calls respectively. Other neighborhoods to make the top 10 the list for complaints over the two weekends included Hell’s Kitchen, East Village, and Kips Bay/Murray Hill.
“Look at the facts. Look at our viral infection rate. Look at the other 22 states [where the virus is on the rise], and you don’t want to be one of those other 22 states,” Cuomo said. Cuomo pointed a finger at the Mayor for not cracking down on social distancing violations. “So I made a few phone calls and said to restaurant owners, bar owners, ‘What are you doing?’” Cuomo said. “‘We have the guidelines. I’m looking at a picture of your establishment taken 25 minutes ago, and people are violating everything, everything. No masks, no social distancing.’
“Look, the state is going to enforce the rules,” he added.