Mayor Bill de Blasio is keeping alternate-side parking rules in place for “public health” reasons, he said Tuesday morning — before admitting that his widely panned position could change very soon.
“It’s a pain in the butt, we all understand that, but it’s there for a reason. It’s because that allows the street sweepers to keep our neighborhoods clean,” de Blasio said on PIX11.
“I am worried about a city in the middle of an epidemic that gets less and less clean. That’s not good public health practice,” he said about the coronavirus crisis paralyzing the Big Apple.
“Now we may say nonetheless, all things considered, we may decide to cancel it.
“We’re going to be re-evaluating that today and we might make a change as early as today,” de Blasio said.
Moments earlier, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said in an interview with Fox 5 that the mayor was moving too slowly to suspend the parking rules.
“I am flabbergasted that it wasn’t suspended yesterday and it is not suspended today,” Johnson said.
“It does not make sense,” he added.
Johnson and other elected officials have asked how New Yorkers are supposed to stay in their homes to avoid contracting the coronavirus if they have to go out to move their cars.
“There’s not a lot of social contact in going out and moving your car across the street in the scheme of things,” de Blasio said.
The city’s case tally, currently at 463, is “on pace” to hit 1,000 by the end of the week, the mayor said.
De Blasio also said city agency officials would be out today on St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for bars and restaurants, to make sure establishments are complying with the order to do takeout and delivery only.
He acknowledged that the directive, which took effect at 9 a.m. Tuesday, would be hard for New Yorkers.
“This is the ultimate city of diners and restaurants and we’re all used to going places and hanging out. It’s our social life, it’s where we connect with everyone.
“It’s going to be a massive adjustment to not have that anymore,” de Blasio said.
Some establishments did not comply with a prior, less stringent order to operate at 50 percent capacity Monday night, the mayor said.
“The best of my understanding at the point where the ban began, there obviously was some people taking their time and lingering.
“We had a number of our agencies out — fire, sheriffs, police, buildings — saying to folks, ‘No, this is serious and it’s time to clear out’ and generally speaking, folks went along with it,” de Blasio said.
He did not give additional details about compliance and a rep did not have that information on hand.