Mayor Bill de Blasio cast a skeptical eye Sunday on calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to suspend service in New York’s subway system to stem the spread of the coronavirus, citing a need for essential workers to get around.
“The biggest challenge that would create would be for our front-line healthcare workers, first responders, essential workers,” de Blasio said during a press briefing. “We can’t have those people in a position where they can’t get to work.”
Hizzoner was responding to a letter sent by four City Council members to Cuomo, calling for the governor to pull the plug on subway service.
The quartet argued that the move would protect both riders and MTA workers, of whom dozens have died and thousands fallen ill with the contagion.
An MTA spokesman on Saturday called the proposal “a dangerous and a terrible idea,” stressing the role the rails serve in helping front-line workers get around — logic echoed by de Blasio on Sunday.
“I have trouble understanding any proposal unless we can prove that there’s another way for people to get around that actually works, the people we need the most,” said de Blasio. “If they can’t get to where we need them, that poses a threat to everyone.”
Instead, Hizzoner said that the key is stricter enforcement of existing precautions.
“We need tight social-distancing standards, and I think the MTA needs to do a better job of defining really clearly what’s the maximum number of people that should be on a subway car, and ensuring with the NYPD there’s never more than that number,” he said.
Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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