NYPD officers who don’t wear masks should face “penalties,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday — nearly seven months into a pandemic and after months of dodging the issue.
“Our officers should be held to the same standard as all citizens all public standards,” de Blasio said during a press conference.
“If they don’t there should be penalties,” he added of the governor’s executive order issued in April requiring face-coverings when social distancing isn’t possible.
The mayor went on to claim the “vast majority are in fact wearing masks” — while at the same moment, reporters counted at least 18 cops huddled outside the press room at 1 Police Plaza with only three wearing masks.
At least 16 more were seen congregated near an elevator bank with none spied wearing masks.
Residents, lawmakers and press have raised concerns about the lack of mask-wearing by NYPD members since the start of the pandemic.
At the height of the virus, a maskless Chief of Patrol Terance Monahan was spotted shaking hands outside City Hall. Dozens of cops have also been seen in the halls of police headquarters gathering in close quarters without face-coverings.
The apparent flouting of the safety guidance comes despite new data showing the coronavirus is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths among law enforcement across the country.
On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and State Senator Brad Hoylman called on Police Commissioner Dermot Shea to enforce the executive order among rank-and-file.
“Wearing a mask is the law,” Cuomo said. “But the police officer who’s supposed to enforce the law doesn’t wear a mask.”
The governor tapped the NYPD to help enforce a mask crackdown on the NYC subways system with a $50 fine in mid-September.
Just days into the enforcement, one cop called a straphanger who questioned their lack of face-covering a “male version of Karen.”
The city’s top cop has repeatedly claimed the issue has been exaggerated.
Wednesday was the first time the mayor acknowledged the issue.
The NYPD did not immediately respond to questions if the department would issue a policy or discipline its members.
Additional reporting by Tina Moore
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