NYCLASS Statement on Return of NYC Carriage Horses to Midtown During COVID-19 With Maskless Drivers

Protest Planned Saturday, Oct 3, 12pm-1pm at 59th St and 6th Avenue to Demand Shutdown of Rides

New York City carriage drivers have returned with horses to Midtown to solicit carriage rides, and on day one of their return they were seen recklessly disregarding the mask mandate, at a critical time when the City has reported large upticks in coronavirus cases in several areas.  A carriage driver soliciting rides with no mask on was photographed Thursday standing next to his carriage while a woman without a mask stood next to him and the horse getting her picture taken.  (Photo of driver with no mask available to the media upon request).

In mid to late March when New York City was the epicenter of the pandemic, NYCLASS documented carriage drivers putting many people at serious risk of infection by handing out filthy, shared blankets to carriage passengers crammed into carriages and flouted social-distancing protocols.  We urged Mayor de Blasio to shut down the carriage rides to protect public health then, and we urge him to do the same now.

What: NYCLASS and PETA protest of horse-drawn carriage rides, drivers seen flouting mask rules and to demand shutdown of rides.

Where: 59th Street and 6th Avenue entrance to Central Park.

When: Saturday, October 3, 12pm-1pm.

Edita Birnkrant, Executive Director of NYCLASS said, "New York's carriage drivers have always shown absolute disregard for regulations designed to protect the public, passengers and horses, and it is clear that this behavior will continue during COVID-19 and put everyone at risk, if not stopped by Mayor de Blasio and City officials right away.  NYCLASS calls on the Mayor and the Department of Health to shut down these carriage rides immediately to protect public health during the uptick in coronavirus cases around the City.  

If drivers are seen violating the mask mandate on Day 1 of their return, they have no business being here at all. The Daily News reports that carriage drivers plan to give free rides to healthcare and first-responder workers on Saturday, October 3.  Can carriage drivers be trusted to wear masks after shown on Day 1 to flout them, and even if they do, how can they social distance in a carriage while talking to passengers throughout the ride in a cramped carriage? How can City officials allow New Yorkers to be put at increased risk during this highly sensitive time in the pandemic by carriage drivers that consistently violate rules designed to protect us all? NYCLASS and PETA will hold a protest Saturday from 12pm-1pm at 59th Street and 6th Avenue to call on the City to shut down these rides."

Dan Mathews, Senior Vice President of PETA said, "As New York comes back to life after the pandemic, one tiny trade that has no place is the deadly horse-drawn carriage business, which has long disregarded health and cruelty codes.”



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