The Big Apple will soon have 2,300 “social-distancing ambassadors” telling people to stay apart and wear masks to avoid escalating tensions with cops, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday.
The army of public servants has been mobilized in a bid to keep cops out of enforcement and avoid clashes like the caught-on-camera fracas with taser-wielding cops earlier this month, Hizzoner said.
“What we don’t need is anything that goes beyond the proper enforcement of these rules turning into something else,” the mayor said at a press briefing Sunday.
“And we saw a very troubling video a few days back from the Lower East Side, an instance of the wrong approach to policing that was very alienating to so many people in this city.”
He praised the NYPD for building “trust” in the community — something such clashes could challenge, he warned.
“I think they pull at people in a very real and painful way and remind us of things that were too common for too long that are not acceptable,” he said of the troubling arrest.
“So, we’re going to increase intensely the number of public servants who are out there educating, providing face coverings, reminding people of the rules, helping people to get it right,” he said.
There are already 1,000 so-called ambassadors — which will be increased to 2,300 by next week, he said.
It was unclear Sunday who was doing the ambassador work, how they were chosen and whether they were paid.
“It’s going to help save lives,” de Blasio insisted of the need for social distancing and safety to be maintained.
“If we ever need enforcement, it’s there,” he said, saying it has “always been the last resort,” with summonses and arrests “used sparingly.”
“The number of summonses and arrests is extraordinarily low given that this is a crisis that affects all 8.6 million New Yorkers,” he said.