Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City claimed that exercising in Prospect Park helped him work ‘nonstop’ during the coronavirus outbreak – despite telling millions of residents to stay home and practice social distancing.
De Blasio received backlash after footage shared to social media showed him and his wife, Chirlane McCray, walking in Prospect Park on Saturday.
While answering questions on NY1’s ‘Inside City Hall’, de Blasio hit back at residents who have labeled the mayor hypocritical during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘I go get my exercise like everyone else,’ de Blasio said, according to New York Post.
‘I go to my home neighborhood. It’s part of what helps me just continue to work nonstop. I’m on conference calls pretty much the whole time.’
New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio (pictured) said exercising in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park has helped him work ‘nonstop’ during the coronavirus outbreak
Vocal New Yorkers lambasted de Blasio for seemingly ignoring his own shelter-in-place and social distancing orders.
They’ve also taken particular grievance with the fact Prospect Park – located in the city’s Brooklyn borough – is 12 miles away from the couple’s Upper East Side home.
Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the Mayor New York City, has 11 acres of land and rests within Carl Schurz Park.
(left to right) De Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, were seen jogging in Prospect Park on Saturday
The de Blasio family lives in Gracie Mansion (pictured), an 11 acre home on the Upper East Side that is some 12 miles away from Prospect Park
New Yorkers shared their frustrations with de Blasio on Twitter.
‘I saw him too and was so angry,’ one woman wrote. ‘He has nothing better to do?? A literal walk in the park?? The sirens were nonstop.’
Another wrote: ‘Just saw @NYCMayor and @NYCFirst Lady strolling in Prospect Park. Both unmasked.
‘The “Do as I say, not as I do Mayor,’ one user quipped.
Some residents took to Twitter to vent about their frustrations with de Blasio’s exercise plans
Andy Newman: ‘Just saw @NYCMayor and @NYCFirst Lady strolling in Prospect Park. Both unmasked’
One agitated user called de Blasio the ‘The “Do as I say, not as I do Mayor”‘ on Twitter
On Monday, De Blasio appeared unmoved by New Yorkers’ concerns and attempted to shift focus elsewhere.
‘This is just something that we shouldn’t focus on. There’s much better things to talk about,’ he said.
The Prospect Parks walks, according to de Blasio, help him become a more effective mayor.
‘My situation is particular and I am here serving people … and I’m just doing something I think will help me to be the most effective,’ he said.
As of Monday, the New York City recorded 68,775 confirmed cases and at least 2,738 deaths. The state amassed 130,689 infections and a death toll of 10,358.
Over the last few weeks, de Blasio has navigated continual criticism over his exercise tendencies as COVID-19 plagues New York City.
De Blasio, during a desperate press conference to plead for more ventilators for New York City, fielded similar questions about his cross-borough fitness routine.
He explained: ‘I think what – everyone who needs some exercise should get the exercise for the amount of time they need and then get back to home or work if they’re doing essential work.
‘That’s what I do. And I was using a scarf as a face mask and following the exact instruction – face covering, careful that I use the right phrase, face covering.
Pictured: de Blasio has his temperature taken before he tours local companies Crye Precision and Lafayette 148 NY, that have teamed up to make thousands of protective hospital gowns to supply the citys health care workers
‘Face covering, a scarf that I had on – and exactly the rules if you’re distant from everyone, there’s no one near you, there’s not a specific need. If you think you’re going to be near people, you bring it up and cover your face. That’s what I did.’
Some Twitter users noted that neither de Blasio norMcCray are wearing face masks just two days after he advised residents to ‘wear a face covering when you go outside.’
De Blasio first came under speculation after he was spotted working out at the Prospect Park YMCA on March 11.
At the time New York City was beginning to see the severity of COVID-19, prompting people to confront de Blasio and his security for delaying city shut down.
Four days later, with the CDC advising against large gathering during the pandemic, de Blasio revealed the initial emergency shutdown orders would not apply to gyms and similar recreational facilities.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo superseded that order and announced gyms would be included in business closures.
But not before de Blasio was seen back at the Prospect Park YMCA.
Two longtime advisers blasted de Blasio on Twitter. Rebecca Katz said: ‘No current or former staff member should be asked to defend this. The Mayor’s actions today are inexcusable and reckless.’
Jonathan Rosen agreed, going so far as to call the action ‘pathetic,’ ‘self-involved’ and ‘inexcusable.’
That day, Gothamist reports de Blasio said: ‘I live in the regular world. I’m very comfortable with what I did.
‘I knew in advance that it was a very socially distanced situation, there was almost no one there, I had heard that information prior.’
Cuomo announced Monday that New York’s lockdown will extend to April 29.