Mayor Bill de Blasio rushed to Williamsburg to help break up a large funeral for a Hasidic Jewish rabbi. Hundreds of mourners gathered shoulder-to-shoulder in violation of social-distancing guidelines as they paid their respects to Rabbi Chaim Mertz.
Photos showed a few people in masks, many without and according to the Daily News, as many as 2,500 gathered for the funeral of the 73-year-old rabbi, who died of COVID-19. Now, a lot of folks are aware that gatherings of all sizes have been banned across the state, which is why Mayor de Blasio was so livid after learning that so many people ignored stay-at-home and social distancing orders.
Blasio warned “the Jewish community, and all communities,” that large gatherings in violation of social-distancing orders will be met with police action. The mayor’s attempt to break up the funeral in person, and his warning to Jews, drew immediate criticism.
However, he apologized during a news conference Wednesday saying he acted out of emotions.
“If in my emotion I said something that in any way was hurtful, I’m sorry about that, that was not my intention. But I also want to be clear, I have no regrets about calling out this danger and saying I want to deal with it very, very aggressively.”