What could be scarier in the COVID age than a warehouse packed with maskless revelers?
That was the spooky scene at two warehouse parties that the New York Police Department shut down this Halloweekend. Attendees were alleged to have broken coronavirus safety codes.
In Brooklyn, city sheriffs shut down one Halloween party where nearly 400 people were sardined inside a warehouse as Friday night waned into Saturday morning. Then, some 24 hours later, officers broke up a second event in the Bronx, where the 550+ partygoers mostly wore costumes but not facial coverings.
As a result, 28 individuals, including party organizers, DJs, and security guards, face charges for overtly flouting public health guidelines. Additionally, two businesses face a bevy of charges for condoning the functions in opposition to guidelines without proper liquor licenses.
“I wish I had the wisdom to explain human nature,” Sherriff Joseph Fucito said in regard to over a thousand New Yorkers who attended the tightly-packed parties despite wide-spread knowledge of coronavirus safety regulations.
More to Come?
Despite the wrist-slapping, these instances might foreshadow the cold months ahead, as multiple holidays approach, and the city enters its eighth month of pandemic restrictions.
Since March, New York City has had one of the nation’s strictest codes with regard to mass gatherings, as it was the epicenter of this spring’s first coronavirus outbreak. But even though New York’s infection rate is now at 1.53 percent—one of the lowest in the country—staying low teeters on the population’s continued commitment to extreme safety guidelines. As Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, and New Year’s Eve approach, the Halloween parties might be a sign that New Yorkers are tiring of these health regulations.
Still, a spokesman for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the “vast majority of New Yorkers” who he said “celebrated Halloween responsibly.”
“Those who didn’t,” he scolded, “should probably think hard about how long they want this pandemic to last.”
The mayor’s office added that, “as always, we’re grateful to the sheriff’s team for fighting to prevent a second wave.”