the coronavirus crisis
The global coronavirus pandemic apparently didn't dissuade New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio from hitting the YMCA on the very same day all gyms in the state are set to close.
De Blasio on Monday was spotted at a YMCA in Brooklyn, per CNN's Andrew Kaczynski, the morning New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) told reporters that gyms would close in the evening. This is the latest step the state is taking in response to the new virus as the number of cases in New York climbs past 900.
New Yorkers walking by, according to Kaczynski, appeared stunned to see their own mayor at the gym in the middle of this pandemic, during which they've been urged by health experts to stay home, with one person commenting, "What an idiot."
Although de Blasio reportedly ignored Kaczynski's questions about his YMCA visit, his spokesperson put out a statement defending it, saying, "The YMCA has been a huge part of his and his family's life, like it has been for a lot of New Yorkers. It's clear that's about to change and before that, the mayor wanted to visit a place that keeps him grounded one last time."
Over the weekend, de Blasio was widely criticized for telling New Yorkers, despite the repeated warnings from experts to avoid crowds and not go to bars, that "if you love your neighborhood bar, go there now." Writer Matt O'Brien tweeted in response, "This is one of the worst things De Blasio could tell people. Unbelievably stupid and reckless."