City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Wednesday called for the Big Apple to limit nonessential events that draw large crowds in light of the coronavirus outbreak a direct conflict with Mayor Bill de Blasio who hours earlier said “we’re not there yet.”
“I have been speaking to leading public health care experts, and I believe that we are now at a point where it is necessary to create limits on nonessential large gatherings,” Johnson said in a statement.
“Other cities and states around the country are taking this responsible step. New York City should as well.”
Earlier in the day, de Blasio swatted down the idea of potentially canceling upcoming events in large city gathering points like Madison Square Garden and Broadway over coronavirus fears.
“We could get there, but we’re not there yet,” de Blasio told reporters at a 311 call center in Lower Manhattan.
However, Johnson said the city should begin setting limits by “officially” canceling the St.Patrick’s Day Parade, sayings “it’s an unnecessary risk.”
Johnson, a presumptive 2021 mayoral candidate, also said he’s not calling for the city to “shut down” over coronavirus but believes “we need to look at other mass gatherings to determine how we can limit exposure to keep people safe.”
“Other cities have determined how to manage large gatherings, and there are a number of models for how we can do this.
“Our public health care experts should establish clear guidelines for New York. I have spoken to the Department of Health and Administration related to determining these criteria and guidelines.”
There were 53 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the city as of Wednesday night.
De Blasio spokes woman Freddi Goldstein said the city has “the finest health care professionals in the nation constantly assessing the situation. As soon as they believe a change needs to be made, we’ll make it.”