New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is suggesting New York City would need a task force of about 4,000 police officers to enforce regulations if indoor dining is to return amid the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.
“Our rules and guidance on reopening is only as good as the compliance and the enforcement,” Cuomo said on a conference call Thursday with reporters. “If we open restaurants, that’s going to complicate by the hundreds if not thousands the number of establishments that have to be monitored.”
Cuomo said state resources are all but exhausted trying to enforce restrictions on the serving of alcohol by outdoor restaurants in the city.
The pronouncement comes a day after New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson issued a statement calling for the allowing of indoor dining.
“Summer is winding down, and they need to begin planning for the colder months,” it said.
Cuomo has permitted indoor dining through the rest of New York at 50% capacity so long as physical distance is maintained between tables and other restrictions are adhered to.
“We’re going to contact the speaker today and say if New York City can say this many police, NYPD, can be put on a task force to monitor the compliance, that is something we can discuss,” Cuomo said, putting the number at 4,000.
His suggestion comes as reports show shootings in New York City have increased 166% in the month of August compared to a year ago, and two months after Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city council agreed to cut the police department’s budget by $1 billion.
A spokesman for Johnson to Reason.com that the speaker agrees with the need for enforcement, but wants other city agencies to do it, not the police department.