The NYPD will no longer make arrests or hand out tickets if people flout the mask-covering rules in the Big Apple, the mayor said Friday.
“Absent a serious danger to the public, NYPD will not take enforcement actions for failing to wear face coverings,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his daily press conference.
The shift in enforcement comes two days after another controversial video emerged of a police interaction with a woman and her young child in the subway over a mask.
Hizzoner said he wanted to reset the city’s approach on enforcement.
“The reset will be this: We start with the fundamental notion the NYPD is here to protect lives, to save lives, and where we see the greatest danger to lives in terms of the coronavirus and the areas where we can enforce is around gatherings, particularly large gatherings, so that’s where we’re going to focus,” the mayor said.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea sent a department-wide email just after the mayor’s remarks telling cops, “We will keep educating people about the benefits — to all of us — of individuals wearing face coverings.”
“Moving forward, however, we will no longer issue summonses or make arrests for infractions related to face coverings — absent of a crime or other violation being committed.
An NYPD spokesperson said “this change is essential” to keep in line with NYPD’s neighborhood policing.
“In this unprecedented pandemic, trust and collaboration is more critical than ever as we all work together to ensure public safety,” the spokesperson said.
The NYPD will still give out summonses if people don’t disperse when asked by cops.
De Blasio, though, vowed to store owners “we got your back” if shoppers refuse to wear face coverings — but it was unclear how the rule, which was issued in mid-April, would be enforced.
PBA president Patrick Lynch, who has called for the NYPD to get out of social distancing enforcement, slammed the shift.
“Another policy full of caveats and exceptions will create more problems than it solves,” Lynch said. “The new policy should be a single sentence: Police officers are not responsible for enforcing social distancing or other public health directives.”