By Robert Kraychik – 4/29/2020
Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to arrest Jewish mourners not adhering to social distancing decrees following Tuesday’s funeral for Rabbi Chaim Mertz in New York City.
De Blasio took to Twitter with his threat of a “zero tolerance” approach against violations of the city’s social distancing directives, ostensibly as responsive measures to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Something absolutely unacceptable happened in Williamsburg tonite: a large funeral gathering in the middle of this pandemic. When I heard, I went there myself to ensure the crowd was dispersed. And what I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the Coronavirus,” wrote de Blasio.
De Blasio added, “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.”
The Yeshiva World reported that de Blasio went to the funeral with New York City Police Department officers to break up the crowd of hundreds that turned out for Mertz’s funeral.
Freddi Goldstein, de Blasio’s press secretary, derided the funeral procession as “absolutely unacceptable.”
De Blasio’s comments came on the same day as an air show put on by the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds in tribute to medical professionals dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
The New York Post reported:
The New York Metro area blew off social distancing Tuesday, with hundreds packed shoulder-to-shoulder to catch a glimpse of the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds as they roared overhead in a tribute to coronavirus frontline workers.
Photos from throughout the region show large crowds jammed together in waterfront parks and venues in New York and New Jersey, looking skyward for a glance at the famous jets.
There was little local officials could do to stop them.
De Blasio did not threaten the gathering onlookers of the air show with arrest.