New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has threatened to fine people $15,000 if they violate a ban on mass gatherings and $1,000 for those refusing to wear masks in the hotspot neighborhoods being shutdown from tomorrow due to rising COVID-19 rates.
His threat came a day after new rules were announced by the state that will affect residents living in parts of Brooklyn and Queens.
The strict new restrictions are being placed on businesses, houses of worship and schools in various neighborhoods that are largely Orthodox Jewish strongholds from Thursday.
During his daily press briefing on Wednesday, de Blasio threatened to dish out heavy fines: $15,000 for violation of mass gatherings and $1,000 for no masks.
His threats came after hundreds of furious Orthodox Jews protested in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park a night earlier over the new restrictions that they argue unfairly target them.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday threatened to fine people $15,000 if they violate a ban on mass gatherings and $1,000 for those refusing to wear masks in the hotspot neighborhoods being shutdown for the next two weeks due to rising COVID-19 rates
Footage from the protest showed members of the group setting fire to a pile of masks in the middle of the street.
'We are dealing with a health emergency. The state has laid down very clear rules. Everyone must follow those rules. The NYPD will be enforcing those rules,' de Blasio said.
When asked about the protests in Brooklyn, de Blasio said: 'There is a place for peaceful protest. There will be no tolerance for assaults, for damage to property, for setting fires.
'I understand that there are people who disagree with this plan and it is a democracy - we appreciate there is always going to be disagreements.
'But it's crucial that those who disagree still respect that the state and city have made a decision for the health and safety of all.'
Asked about concerns from the Orthodox Jewish community that they are being unfairly targeted, de Blasio said: 'This is about protecting everyone's lives.
'This is about all New Yorkers. When you look at the communities in Brooklyn and Queens, it's lots of different kinds of people. Remember, we're talking about two of the most diverse places on Earth.
'Within these areas are many kinds of people, and we want to protect everyone. This is based on data and science.'
The hotspots that are under new lockdown restrictions are roughly centered around most of the nine zip codes in Brooklyn and Queens where positive test rates are surging as high as