We're getting reports from all across the state that there are large gatherings, social distancing is being violated, people are not wearing masks. We have gotten 25,000 complaints to the State of businesses that are in violation of the reopening plan. We have never received more complaints in a shorter period of time.
What's alarming about the 25,000 is the volume but it also shows how smart people are and how offended people are that they're calling and complaining. This is a time in history we've never seen before. Think about how concerned New Yorkers are not just to see the violation but then to care enough to come back and write a letter or call registering the complaint. You know why? They're afraid for themselves. They walk past the business. They see the businesses violating the rules and they are saying my health is jeopardized - my health - and that's why they're complaining. Especially at bars and restaurants. They're not being ethical, they're not being moral, they're not being good New Yorkers.
They're also violating the law. This is a very serious situation and I want to make sure everybody knows the consequences here. A bar or restaurant that is violating these rules can lose their liquor license. State Liquor Authority inspectors are out. We are not kidding around with this. I called a couple of bars and restaurants myself where I saw the pictures of the situations that were in their bars and restaurants and I said to them, you're playing with your license. You are responsible for the people in your establishment. There's no excuse.
"The local legislator told me I could do this." No one can tell you that you can violate the law. "My brother said as long as I..." I don't care what your brother said. If you are an individual, you can't violate the open container law. You can't stand on the sidewalk drinking a beer.
"Well, I'm protesting." You can protest. The law still applies to you. Police department, your job is to enforce the law. Why don't you follow the law? It's a very bad signal when you see police people who are not wearing a mask and not following the law. To locally elected who are in charge of the police department, it's your responsibility to make sure your police department follows the law. We go to phase one, we go to phase 2, we go to phase 3 - the local government is responsible for compliance. I understand it's not popular. You know what's more unpopular? If that region closes because that local government did not do their job. That can happen.
Before I reverse a statewide position, I'll tell you what I'm going to do: I'm going to reverse it in those areas where those local governments did not comply with the law. That is what is going to happen here. I am warning today, in a nice way, consequences of your actions.
Manhattan and the Hamptons are the leading areas in the state with violations. These are not hard to spot violations. People send video of these violations, you can look it up on social media. You don't need a detective squad to go out and find them. They are rampant and there's not enough enforcement. I am not going to allow situations to exist that we know have a high likelihood of causing an increase in the spread of the virus. If we increase the spread of the virus in Manhattan because of bars and restaurants, well then everybody in Manhattan is going to suffer. That's not fair either.
It's happened in half the states in the nation. So far, we have been the exception. To these people who are now violating it: it's illegal. It's also wrong. It is just disrespectful not to wear a mask. It's disrespectful to the health care workers and the essential workers who sacrificed themselves for 100 days, some of whom died and gave their life to crush this COVID virus. We all celebrate them, demonstrations, TV ads, God bless the health care workers. Show a modicum of respect and wear a mask.
It's also disrespectful to the people who you could infect. It's disrespectful to a parent, to a grandparent, to a cousin, to a brother, to someone who you run into on the sidewalk and you don't even know, but happens to have a compromised immune system because they're battling cancer or because they're battling HIV and you infect them you and wind up killing them. In some ways, we're in this great moment where society is so caring of the rights of one another and that's a beautiful thing. Well, then, let's be caring about the rights of each other and respect people's health and respect people's lives. We're not asking for much. It's basic decency.
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