Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted a massive New York University party in Washington Square Park over the weekend and city authorities for failing to control it.
Crowds of NYU students flocked to the park in Manhattan for an evening of drinking and partying, many of them not wearing masks and ignoring social distancing orders as two DJs blasted music.
It was a shocking start to the school year that resumed classes on Wednesday and 20 students have since been suspended for violating COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Cuomo lambasted the Saturday party during the coronavirus press conference Tuesday.
‘They had large gatherings in Washington Square Park. Frankly, NYU security didn’t do anything about it. The local police didn’t do anything about it,’ he said.
‘You have NYU students coming from other countries. You have a large gathering, many people without masks, it went on for hours, what do you think is going to happen?’ he added.
On Tuesday Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted a massive New York University party in Washington Square Park over the weekend. He slammed the school, NYPD, and city officials for failing to control it
NYPD patrol vehicles and cops were stationed outside the park during the party but didn’t appear to take any action in dispersing the crowd.
So far 108 colleges across the country have reported more than 100 cases each since reopening their doors for the fall semester.
In New York schools seeing outbreaks include SUNY Oneonta, Cornell University, University at Buffalo, Hofstra University, SUNY Oswego, Colgate University and SUNY Fredonia.
‘You know we’re closing colleges all across this state, what do you think is going to happen?’ Cuomo threatened.
‘You say we’re New York tough – that is not tough by the NYU administrators who as soon as they heard about it should have said stop it and sent NYU security to break it down,’ Cuomo said.
‘It’s not tough by New York City enforcement, they saw a large gathering and violated social distancing,’ he added.
NYU said it is investigating the Saturday party and ‘any students who have violated our expectations will be subject to disciplinary action’.
Crowds of New York University students descended on Washington Square Park for an evening filled with drinking, partying and a flagrant disregard for social distancing protocol on Saturday night
Video from the park, a popular NYU hangout, shows dozens of students gathered around its world famous fountain
Some were wearing masks and a concerning number of other people were not, as they danced shoulder-to-shoulder in a large crowd
NYPD police officers stand next to the Washington Square Arch after nights of partying in the world famous park
One reporter at the press conference pointed out that crowds of Black Lives Matter protesters gathered at the park earlier this summer and it didn’t lead to an outbreak.
‘Well just because you get lucky once, doesn’t mean you’re going to get lucky twice,’ Cuomo responded.
NYU tweeted on Saturday that more than 20 students had been suspended for breaking the school’s new coronavirus policies
‘And those protests didn’t have a high number of people from out of state coming from states with a high infection rate from an epidemiological point of view.
‘That is a major difference. One out of state person who is infected can be a super spreader. Just takes one. The colleges, NYU, how many countries and states are those students coming from? Those are not just Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx,’ he added.
Secretary Melissa DeRosa said testing was amped up during protests to catch infections early and says outbreaks among colleges have been linked to students from states with high infection rates.
Cuomo announced any school that goes over 100 COVID-19 cases must to report it to the state Department of Health immediately and the school must be closed down to do remote learning if it crosses that threshold.
Cuomo said the college party is different from BLM protests that gathered in the same park earlier this summer because not many participants were from out of state. A massive crowd of protesters in Washington Square Park above protesting the police killing of George Floyd on June 6
Black Lives Matter activists confront police in Washington Square park after the shooting of Jacob Blake on August 24
Demonstrators hold placards during the protest in Washington Square Park on June 6
In the press conference Cuomo threw plenty of jabs towards Mayor Bill De Blasio including blaming him for the city’s inability to restart indoor dining due to reckless city bars and college parties.
Cuomo says indoor dining can’t start until City Hall is able to ensure compliance with social distancing and mask wearing. He said opening eateries would require double the current number of businesses to be inspected.
‘If we have the enforcement mechanism in place, then we can talk about opening restaurants,’ Cuomo said.
‘It would be negligent and reckless to open indoor dining, knowing that you have issues in upstate New York, knowing that compliance is going to be a problem,’ he added.
Overall New York state has 232,036 infections and 19,098 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 4,646 probable deaths.