Hasidic Jews flouted social distancing rules and held at least two packed funerals on the streets of Brooklyn Sunday, including one for a faith-leader who died of coronavirus — as NYPD officers feebly tried to disperse the crowds by blasting warnings from their squad cars.
Video posted on Facebook shows cops driving up to dozens of mourners, sirens blaring, during a procession near 55th Street and 12th Avenue in Borough Park that was held for 78-year-old Rabbi Meir Rokeach, who reportedly died of COVID-19 on Saturday night.
“This is not six feet” an officer in a protective face mask says over the loudspeaker, as the members of the Orthodox Jewish community continue to congregate.
The officers then play a recording reminding those gathered to maintain at least a 6-foot distance while in public as a way to stem the spread of the virus.
But the masses of mourners ignored the warnings, though one man was seen approaching the patrol car to apologize.
Hours later, throngs of Hasidic Jews, some in blue face masks, attended another outdoor funeral procession about a mile away near 44th Street and 16th Avenue. Police also responded and asked the congregation to disperse.
At both of the gatherings, the funeral attendees asked for more time to grieve, and cops, “wanting to be respectful because they were in mourning,” gave them about five minutes before starting to play the recording heard in the video, an NYPD spokeswoman said.
The crowds eventually tapered off, she said. There were no arrests or citations issued in either incident.
The events were held just days after another Hasidic Jewish funeral on Avenue N near East 9th Street in Midwood.
Last month, members of New York City’s Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish community openly violated social distancing orders by hosting raucous Brooklyn weddings with hundreds of guests amid the growing spread of the bug.
But since then, community leaders have maintained that social distancing orders are largely being followed with every major synagogue closed, even as Passover approaches this week.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has barred crowds of 50 or more and President Trump has said Americans should avoid events with more than 10 people amid the outbreak, which has infected 64,955 and killed 2,472 in the Big Apple alone as of Sunday evening.