New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo conducts a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., after a meeting with President Trump at the White House on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call | Getty Images

Groups of young people congregating at New York bars and restaurants, especially in the New York City area, are “a threat” to the state’s reopening and could force the businesses to close down again, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Monday. 

Cuomo said his office continued to receive reports of crowding and mask violations over the weekend in the New York City area, only days after he announced the state would ramp up enforcement of bars and restaurants not complying with the state’s social distancing policies. 

“We will have to roll back the bar and restaurant opening if the congregations continue, if the local governments don’t stop it, that is what is going to happen,” Cuomo said at a press conference. 

Source: The State of New York

On Thursday, Cuomo outlined a new order that would close a restaurant after three violations of the state’s social distancing requirements. Egregious violators could face immediate closure and lose their liquor license.

However, he said Monday that local police departments and governments that aren’t enforcing the state’s social distancing policies “are not doing their job.” The state has added investigators to the state liquor authority and issued dozens of citations, but Cuomo said he “can’t do this without the local government or the police.” 

“The police department is not there to inform them of mask compliance. Police departments have to enforce the law. That is the only line between anarchy and civilization. They have to enforce the law and they’re not,” Cuomo said at a press conference. 

New York City has been cleared to enter phase four of the state’s reopening on Monday, but with some restrictions. Phase four will allow for more outdoor activities such as zoos, outdoor films and gardens, but indoor operations, including indoor dining and malls, will remain closed, Cuomo said on Friday. 

This is a developing story. Please check back later for updates. 

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