COVID-19: NYC Quote of the Day 2020-07-22

Wednesday, July 22, 2020, NYC Mayor de Blasio - A Particular Problem on Steinway Street

Question: My question is about small businesses. I know that there was a lot of reporting around the businesses in Astoria over overcrowding. Other businesses have complained about the lack of guidance and the kind of confusing regulations from City and State agencies as well, about what they can do to set up. My question is, obviously nobody wants businesses to break the rules. You don't want large gatherings. But when you see a large gathering on Steinway Street, and you also realize that there's only four streets in the entire borough of Queens that have Open Restaurants, does it make you think, instead of just a punitive punishment of these restaurants, maybe there's an actual need or demand for both clearer guidance and regulation of businesses, and also more open space for people who are cramped up to hang out in?

Mayor: I think it's right to say, every place we can keep adding responsibly and safely, we want to. We've been continually expanding the Open Streets program, combining it with the Open Restaurants program. It's been very few places where we had this bad a problem. Overwhelmingly we've seen compliance, overwhelmingly when people went to educate and remind people, folks really listened to it, followed the guidance. We had a particular problem in Steinway Street, which was worse than what we'd seen in other places. We had to deal with it aggressively, and also send a message to others that they have to act responsibly. But remember, it's been very few businesses that have needed to be closed down. We'd like to keep it very few because we don't want to take away people's livelihoods. But we got to just send a message to everyone. Every business has to take responsibility. People have to take responsibility to keep each other safe. And yes, we will be looking for other places to expand the program, to give people more options, and we will definitely have enforcement out there where needed.
Edited for redundancy, grammar, and emphasis
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