Partying like there’s no pandemic: Hundreds of maskless revellers pack the streets of New York with plastic cups and no social distancing until 4am – and cops can’t do anything
- Hundreds of people packed the streets in Queens on Friday night to party
- Those gathered appeared to be ignoring social distancing guidelines
- Video posted early Saturday morning shows revelers dancing and blasting music
- The area is not one of the city’s designated ‘open streets,’ designed to allow New Yorkers the space to roam and create social distance
- The parties have been going on for weeks lasting until around 4am
The streets of Astoria in Queens, New York, were packed on Friday night with people partying without a single face mask in sight.
Video shot and posted online shows throngs of revelers with drinks in hand and mingling closely with one another – with the coronavirus pandemic seemingly out of mind.
Music was blasting with fireworks and flares at one point making the scene more akin to that of Miami Beach than a borough of New York City.
Hundreds of people packed the streets in Astoria, Queens, New York on Friday night to party
It didn’t appear as though anyone was observing social distancing guidelines while out
Astoria’s main drag, Steinway Street, was so tightly packed that it was virtually impossible for an NYPD police car with its lights flashing and siren blaring to pass through the crowds.
At one point the patrol car used its loudspeaker to instruct people to move out of the way but did little to stop one man clambering on top of an ice cream truck.
The crowd responded by cheering and laughing before making a path for the cruiser to drive along.
The maskless parties have been going on for around two weeks according to one resident.
One man decided to jump on top of an ice cream truck, left. Crowds packed the sidewalk and spilled out into the road, right
Although there were some tables set out for dining, most people were simply walking around the streets holding drinks in their hands
Restaurants in the area recently reopened for outdoor dining under phase 3 of the reopening from coronavirus lockdown, but New York’s Governor Cuomo is now restricting venues from serving just alcohol and explicitly requiring that food be served alongside.
Restaurants that fail to comply with state rules will have a ‘three strikes and you’re closed’ mandate.
Such rules appeared to make little difference to those gathered on Friday night with many people managing to get their drinks from drivers selling booze out of the back of their cars.
‘Anyone going to do anything about this?’ asked one twitter user @vodkapond tagging Governor.Cuomo and New York’s Mayor de Blasio.
The scene appeared to more akin to Miami Beach than Astoria, Queens
NYPD officers were also seen standing on a street corner without any masks as people walked by.
The NYPD told the New York Post that they were on scene by 12:30am and that ‘officers issued multiple verbal orders for the crowd to disperse. The crowd cleared out without incident.’
The Department said they issued 20 summonses for double parking and bus stop violations but no tickets were issues for breaking social distancing guidelines.
‘Maybe they feel comfortable because no one’s telling them to do anything. I don’t know what they’re thinking. I’m just trying to run a business,’ said John Zorbas who runs Brik restaurant which had dozens of people standing outside its doors.
New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that the scene will not be allowed to be repeated
The streets of Astoria were completely packed until around 4am. The parties have been going on for weeks
‘We can’t control what hundreds of people are doing. We need some help. Where it’s going to come from? I don’t know.’
William Crowley, a spokesperson with the State Liquor Authority said that it was clear that something needed to be done.
‘We will take all action necessary to protect New Yorkers during this public health emergency.’
‘The main responsibility for enforcing social distancing lies with the local government — in this case New York City — and they must ensure activity like this that risks transmission of COVID-19 are not allowed to take place,’ Crowley said.
City Councilman Costa Constantinides, who is a member of District 22 representing Astoria, said he was furious about the incident.
‘There’s businesses who frankly I think need to be shut down,’ Constantinides said to ABC7. ‘I already spoke to the governor and the mayor’s office today, and said that they’ve already used up their strikes.’
On Saturday afternoon, Mayor de Blasio tweeted that the situation needed to change.
‘This is unacceptable. New Yorkers have made too many sacrifices to fight COVID-19. We can’t let up now. We’ll be out in Astoria and across the city tonight to make sure restaurants are doing their part to keep their diners and their workers safe.’