Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said local governments should impose a “penalty” for “disrespectful” people not wearing masks during a Monday coronavirus press briefing he walked into, maskless, in close quarters with several other maskless people.
“I said that I think it’s disrespectful of people not to wear masks,” Cuomo said during Monday’s briefing. The New York governor said wearing a mask was “not that big a deal.”
NY Governor Cuomo: “It’s disrespectful of people not to wear masks…”
“I think there should be a penalty because you could literally kill someone.”pic.twitter.com/3bUx6CgXpG
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) May 4, 2020
“And by the way, you don’t wear a mask for yourself,” he continued. “You wear a mask to protect me. I wear a mask to protect you. We owe each other a certain amount of reasonableness and respect in society, and I owe you that level of respect, that if I’m sick, I should wear a mask.”
Cuomo emphasized the ability of local governments to “enforce and to penalize” those who refuse to wear masks.
“Do I think local governments should be enforcing it and should there be sanctions? Yes. Because this is a public health emergency,” he said. “I think there should be a penalty because you could literally kill someone. You could literally kill someone because you didn’t want to wear a mask. How cruel and irresponsible would that be?”
When asked when masks should be worn, the New York governor pointed to situations “where you can’t socially distance” and could “run into other people.” (RELATED: Gov. Cuomo Tells Unemployed Americans To ‘Go Take A Job As An Essential Worker’)
“It’s the least that we can do, right?” he asked rhetorically.
Monday’s briefing began with Cuomo and other state officials walking to the table together, all sans masks.
Meanwhile, New York City police officers actively enforce social distancing orders on city streets.