New York City residents will face a hefty fine if they refuse to wear a mask in public this fall, according to Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio.
People who refuse to wear a mask or face covering will be fined up to $1,000, NPR reported. The policy was announced after New York City officials announced a spike in the local positivity rate for coronavirus tests.
“We don’t want to fine people, but if we have to, we will,” de Blasio said during a press conference on Tuesday.
The fine would apply to people who refuse to wear a mask when asked by a law enforcement officer or health official. Masks will be offered to people who do not have one. The policy took effect on Tuesday.
New York City officials said the area’s positivity rate had surpassed 3% for the first time since June. De Blasio identified nine zip codes in Brooklyn and Queens as hot spots for coronavirus cases.
Speaking Wednesday, de Blasio said no one was fined on the first day of the mask crackdown. City officials have begun distributing masks in areas with high positivity rates.
Earlier this month, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority warned that passengers who refuse to wear a mask while riding on public transit services will be fined $50.