Cuomo: Protesters have 'civic duty' to get virus tested

Protesters in Buffalo
Photo credit Protesters in Buffalo in close proximity Saturday night/WBEN Photo

ALBANY, N.Y. (WBEN/AP) — The thousands of people protesting the death of George Floyd have a “civic duty” to be tested for the coronavirus and help New York avoid a spike in new cases as it slowly restarts its economy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

There’s widespread concern that people packing in tightly for demonstrations, sometimes without faces coverings, could lead to more COVID-19 cases. Cuomo was particularly concerned about daily mass demonstrations in New York City, which is poised to relax some economic restrictions amid an intense, months-long effort to tame the outbreak.

A large protest in Buffalo Saturday night also saw hundreeds of demonstrators, many without masks, within close proximity yto one another.

“If you were at a protest, go get a test, please,” Cuomo said at his daily briefing. “The protesters have a civic duty here also. Be responsible, get a test.”

Protests have continued around New York despite state rules against gatherings of more than 10 people.

Regions of the state outside of New York City have begun phasing in economic activity amid progress in slowing the spread of the virus. Fewer people are being hospitalized statewide for COVID-19 and the daily death toll was 52 on Wednesday, compared for almost 800 at the peak of the outbreak.

The city is set to begin the first phase of its reopening Monday, which allows curbside retail, construction and manufacturing.