New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned Friday that the city could shut down certain places of worship if people continued to violate the state’s stay-at-home mandates and continue congregating for religious services there.
“A small number of religious communities, specific churches and specific synagogues are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance even though it’s so widespread,” de Blasio, a Democrat, said at a news conference on the coronavirus outbreak.
City officials have continued to work rigorously to control the spread of COVID-19 as cases climbed over 1,000 on Sunday despite statewide closures of schools and non-essential businesses.
“I want to say to all those who are preparing for the potential of religious services this weekend: If you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services,” he added.
The warnings came just weeks before Easter, on April 12.
De Blasio promised to “take additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently,” if worshippers did not comply.