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De Blasio: Black Lives Matter Protests Exempt from Large-Event Ban

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, his wife Chirlane Irene McCray and Al Sharpton paint “Black Lives Matter” along 5th avenue with others outside Trump Tower in New York, N.Y., July 9, 2020. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Mayor Bill de Blasio has canceled all large events in New York City through September, but will continue to allow Black Lives Matter protests in the city, he said.

“This is a historic moment of change. We have to respect that but also say to people the kinds of gatherings we’re used to, the parades, the fairs — we just can’t have that while we’re focusing on health right now,” de Blasio said during a CNN appearance Thursday night.

While other areas, including Los Angeles, Seattle, and Miami-Dade County, Fla., have said protests in their cities may have contributed to the spread of the virus, New York has denied experiencing any surge in cases after weeks of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. 

“Based on our health indicators, which measure hospital admissions, number of people in ICU and percentage of New Yorkers testing positive, we have seen no indication of an uptick in cases,” Avery Cohen, de Blasio’s deputy press secretary, told Fox News.

Coronavirus cases in the city have been declining for weeks after spiking in mid-April. There have been 32,283 deaths in New York, more than any other state. 

The rule cancels street fairs, outdoor concerts, parades, and other big events, including the West Indian American Day Carnival in Brooklyn Labor Day weekend, the Dominican Day Parade in midtown Manhattan, and the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy.

While religious events and press conferences will also be exempt from the ban, the city will deny all permits for street fairs, events stretching larger than one block or requiring a sound system and events in parks it believes will “unreasonably diminish public use.”

“As New York has begun its reopening process, accessible open spaces are more important than ever,” said de Blasio in a statement. “While it pains me to call off some of the city’s beloved events, our focus now must be the prioritization of city space for public use and the continuation of social distancing.”

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