New York City police are readying to step in and arrest people for violating COVID-19 social distancing rules, as the United States prepares for a hot and sunny Labor Day weekend holiday.
With temperatures in New York expected to be around 80 degrees all weekend, and with bright sunshine forecast, the NYPD are bracing themselves for large gatherings – which they will break up.
Extra officers have been drafted to police stations in Brooklyn hotspots in anticipation of an increased demand for processing detainees, a source told the New York Post.
‘If there’s violence, we’re going to make arrests,’ said Terence Monahan, chief of department for the NYPD.
‘Obviously, if there’s groups out there, we’re going to try to break it up.
‘We’re not looking to arrest people. They’re out to celebrate.
‘But we can’t have the violence.’
The city is also suffering from a surge in violence, with gunfights frequently breaking out at large cookouts in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
Since June 1, there’s been 708 shootings with 899 victims as compared to 277 shootings with 338 victims during the same period last year, said Monahan.
‘These house parties are so large it’s almost impossible for us not to see them,’ he said.
‘They’re very large, speakers blaring. We will be out in force and we will have enough cops to go in these parties and break them up.’
Monahan said he expects Brooklyn residents to celebrate.
‘But we’re asking that they celebrate small, celebrate with their families, celebrate on their block,’ he said, warning people from other parts of the city not to travel across the boroughs.
‘People who do not live in Brooklyn, there’s absolutely no reason to come into Brooklyn from Jersey, from the Bronx,’ said Monahan. ‘There are no events to come see.’
The traditional West Indian Day parade, which takes place on Labor Day, and the J’Ouvert festival which directly precedes have both been canceled this year due to the pandemic, and will take place online instead.
Police are still bracing for revelers to take to the streets of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, where the party is normally celebrated.