Coronavirus News: Hundreds crowd NYC streets for rabbi's funeral, sparking outrage from mayor

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Hundreds crowd funeral for Brooklyn rabbi
Candace McCowan reports the mayor's response is drawing criticism

NEW YORK -- Hundreds took to the streets Tuesday for a Brooklyn rabbi's funeral, prompting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to call out the chaotic scene as "absolutely unacceptable."

Video shows hundreds of people ignoring social distancing guidelines and jamming together in the streets for the funeral of Rabbi Chaim Mertz, who reportedly died from coronavirus complications. New York City guidelines require individuals outside of their homes to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others or face a maximum $1,000 fine during the coronavirus crisis.

In a series of angry tweets, de Blasio said this type of gathering would not be tolerated and the time for warnings has passed.

"My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed," one tweet read.

The mayor also ordered the New York City Police Department to issue summonses or arrest those in large groups. No one at Tuesday's funeral was ticketed or arrested, local media reported.

De Blasio is facing some backlash from his tweets, which have been criticized for singling out the city's Jewish population

"Generalizing against the whole population is outrageous especially when so many are scapegoating Jews. This erodes the very unity our city needs now more than ever," Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted