As New York City becomes the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that New Yorkers who ignore social distancing guidelines could face fines from $250 to $500.

New York City, Coronavirus, Social DistancingAndrew Burton / Getty Images

"You’ve been warned and warned and warned again ... When we say you can go out for some exercise, we’re not saying you can linger," de Blasio said during a press conference, Sunday. "We’re not saying you can make a day of it. We’re saying go out, get a minimum amount of exercise and go back indoors. We will be enforcing this but with understanding for the challenges that people are facing, for how new this is."

New York Police Department officers will now warn people to disperse, and if they ignore officers pleas, they will face penalties. 

He continued: "We’re not going to be Draconian. We’re going to give people a chance to get used to this, but I guarantee you: we will enforce this new reality."

New York currently has over 32,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 678 deaths related to the Coronavirus. There is also a shortage of masks, as de Blasio told CNN that the city will be out of supplies after one week.

[Via]