Despite having himself gone to the gym the very morning Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the closure of all non-essential businesses, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is now threatening to permanently close all churches and synagogues that don’t adhere to the city’s order to shut their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I want to say to all those who are preparing 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,” de Blasio said during a press conference Friday.
"I don’t say that with any joy,” he continued. “It’s the last thing I want to do, because I understand how important people’s faiths are to them, and we need our faith in this time of crisis, but we do not need gatherings that will endanger people. No faith tradition endorses anything that endangers a member of that faith.”
De Blasio, who was photographed over the weekend walking in a park nowhere near his own home despite New Yorkers having been issued a “shelter in place” mandate, added that “A small number of religious communities, specific churches, specific synagogues are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance, even though it’s been so widespread.”
If their efforts to peacefully and voluntarily break up crowds at religious institutions are unsuccessful, law enforcement “will take additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently,” de Blasio added.