The city leaders pointed to the need to maintain social distancing in order to prevent greater spread of COVID-19, stating that this takes precedence over people’s rights to exercise their First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly.
“You’re talking about some of the values we hold in the highest regard in this country and certainly in this city, the right for people to gather, the right to free speech and the right to protest,” Shea said during a Monday press briefing. “But now comes the bad news, we’re in a pandemic and executive orders have been issued, these are laws that have been passed down through executive order to keep people alive, while we greatly, greatly respect the right of people to protest, there should not be protests taking place in the middle of a pandemic by gathering outside and putting people at risk.”
The announcement came a day after the Reclaim Pride LGBT advocacy group protested Mount Sinai hospital’s relationship with the Samaritan Purse Christian organization, which set up a field hospital in Central Park for COVID-19 patients in an effort to reduce Mount Sinai’s load.
The group objected to the hospital working with the religious organization, claiming that its leadership has espoused bigoted views.
“People who want to make their voices heard, there are plenty of ways to do it without gathering in person,” de Blasio said.
The mayor said if people who have messages they want to spread care about protecting other people, “use all the other tools you have to get your point across but avoid anything that might put other people in harm’s way.”
Author: Ronn Blitzer
Source: Fox News: De Blasio, NYPD commissioner: No protests allowed in NYC