Scenes of crowds appearing to not follow social distancing guidelines like this one prompted New York governor Andrew Cuomo to urge local governments on Monday to keep on top of enforcing the rules.
"We have to stay smart. If the local governments don't enforce compliance, they are not doing anyone favor, because if they don't enforce compliance, they will see the numbers go up... So, local governments, I say do your job."
Cuomo said his state has received 25,000 complaints of violations of social distancing and other requirements, mostly in Manhattan and in the Hamptons - affluent beach communities on the east end of Long Island.
"If they need back-up help by the state police, because they can't handle it then we will provide state police back-up help, but they have to do their job... People are concerned, people are scared so now they see a business doing the wrong thing now they snap picture because everyone has a phone... Look, the states are going to enforce the rules, the state licenses bars and restaurants for state liquor authority. You could lose your liquor license. If you lose your liquor license, that is serious."
New York state was the hardest hit area along with its neighbor New Jersey, accounting for more than a third of the nearly 116,000 U.S. deaths between the two of them.
(NJ Governor Phil Murphy) "Welcome New Jersey to Stage 2"
But with new cases sharply lower, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Monday announced the state was entering phase two of reopening, while Cuomo said some parts of New York would enter phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, allowing gatherings of up to 25 people that adhered to social distance guidelines.
But Cuomo warned that he would reimpose restrictions if local officials fail to stop large public gatherings from happening.
"If the numbers start to go up, you're going to have to see that area take a step back."
Fears of a new wave of the coronavirus in the U.S. have led health experts such as top infectious disease official Anthony Fauci to urge caution with reopening.
Alabama and South Carolina reported a record number of new cases for a fourth straight day on Sunday.
While Florida, North Carolina, California and Oklahoma among others also had record numbers of new cases in recent days, according to a Reuters tally.
Many state health officials partly attribute the increase to gatherings over the Memorial Day holiday weekend in late May.
One of the worst affected Oklahoma counties is Tulsa, where President Donald Trump will hold his first campaign rally on Saturday since early March.
And those attending, will have to sign a waiver agreeing not to hold the campaign responsible if they contract COVID-19.