New York Mayor Bill de Blasio sent police to Brooklyn on Tuesday to disperse a massive crowd that had gathered for a rabbi’s funeral in defiance of a statewide shutdown over the coronavirus.
There were no summonses or arrests of those mourning Rabbi Chaim Mertz, according to a police spokesman.
Photos and video showed streets packed with mourners, which the mayor said was “absolutely unacceptable.”
The mayor scolded the crowd on Twitter, noting that he went himself to ensure that the mass dispersed.
“What I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the Coronavirus,” he said. “My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”
De Blasio said he understood the instinct to mourn after months of remaining indoors.
“But large gatherings will only lead to more deaths + more families in mourning,” he added. “We will not allow this. I have instructed the NYPD to have one standard for this whole city: zero tolerance.”
Alexander Mitchell contributed.