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Crowd gathers on Fire Island beach sans masks, social distancing

fire island no social distancing crowd
Posted at 2:00 PM, Jul 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-05 14:04:15-04

FIRE ISLAND PINES, N.Y. — Photos and video of a large crowd gathering on Fire Island over the holiday weekend are drawing the ire of some on social media.

Suffolk County police were called to the beach in Fire Island Pines, a hamlet on the barrier island, twice on Saturday for reports of large groups of people not social distancing or wearing masks, a department spokesperson said on Sunday.

A video of one of those incidents posted on Instagram shows dozens of people standing closely together without masks. A photo of the same gathering shows a Suffolk County police vehicle responding on the sand.

Several people who said they live in the area spoke out in the photo’s comments, condemning the actions of the crowd and arguing that local residents and businesses have been following state coronavirus guidelines.

Police said officers walked through the gathering and reminded people of social distancing requirements and to wear a mask. No citations were issued, according to police.

The gathering was one of several on Fire Island reported on social media Saturday.

Long Island, which was once considered a major hot zone for coronavirus cases, is currently in Phase 3 of the state's reopening plan and county officials are preparing for the start of Phase 4, which is expected on Wednesday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday reminded local governments of their responsibility to enforce social distancing rules.

"As we end this holiday weekend, I urge everyone to be New York Tough: wear a mask, socially distance, use hand sanitizer and continue the smart practices that have made our state a national leader in combating this virus," the governor said in a statement. "I also remind local governments of their duty to enforce the standards that have made [New York's] reopening safe and successful."