No swimming. No parties. No sports. No gatherings. It’s going to be a tough summer in the city, folks, starting with Memorial Day Weekend, when New Yorkers will be allowed to go TO the beach, and even ON to the beach . . . but that is about it.
The ‘Battle Royale’ between Mayor Bill de Blasio and New Yorkers has only begun: people flocked to bars and even a restaurant or two on the Upper East Side this weekend, where nary a restriction was found. (Video coverage courtesy of NBC-TV4)
“You want to walk along the beach or sit on the beach for a while – fine,” de Blasio said at his Sunday briefing with reporters. “No swimming, no parties, no sports, no gatherings. If people don’t get it right, if we start to see a lot of violation of those rules, up will come the fences closing off those beaches.
“No one wants that, but we’re ready to do it if that’s what it takes to keep people safe.” Lifeguards are being trained, however, he added, for the time when the city “would honesty consider reopening beaches with all that comes with that.”
New York State-run Beaches to Open
While de Blasio was delivering a tough message of restrictions on the city beaches, however, Governor Andrew Cuomo had announced Friday that the state-run beaches would finally be open for swimming and sunbathing on the Friday before the holiday weekend.
However, there will still be some restrictions. Only fifty percent capacity will be permitted on the shoreline, and no group contact sports (think ‘volleyball’) allowed.
Beachgoers will have to wear masks if it becomes impossible to maintain the six-feet social distancing standard, Cuomo said, and the restriction will be enforced by local authorities on patrol.
Speaking to reporters during his daily coronavirus briefing from the capitol in Albany, Cuomo said he had decided to go ahead with the directive because his gubernatorial counterparts in New Jersey and Connecticut were doing the same.
“If other states were opening and New York wasn’t, you would have millions of people from New York flooding those beaches,” he said, “and that wouldn’t help anyone.” State-run beaches in New York include Jones Beach, Robert Moses, Gilgo and Sunken Meadow beaches.