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De Blasio May Shut Down Parks & Playgrounds If New Yorkers Don’t Practice Social Distancing

He will wait until Saturday evening to "see if people have gotten the message"

Claire Leaden Claire Leaden

De Blasio May Shut Down Parks & Playgrounds If New Yorkers Don’t Practice Social Distancing

In a press conference yesterday evening, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was considering closing NYC park and playgrounds if people do not adhere to social distancing rules.

Even with a statewide “PAUSE” shutdown demanding New Yorkers stay home and stay inside—except to go to the grocery store/get medicine/get quick exercise—the government is not afraid to take more extreme measures if people don’t follow the safety rules.

He said that he’s in constant contact with the NYPD Commissioner and that both of them, along with patrols, are out all over the city to make sure people are following the rules. He did say that they’re “seeing many many people truly abiding by these rules” so far, with people standing six feet apart from each other and not congregating.

Still, regulations will be continually enforced by the NYPD and other agencies, who will “quickly correct,” “warn” and “educate.” Messages will also be “electronically transmitted in all parks.”

It seems that more of the issues are on playgrounds, as de Blasio made a point to remind parents that although they and their children that live in the same household can be near each other, they must both stay at least six feet away from all others.

It wasn’t immediately clear if “spaces like playgrounds” meant small parks or all parks.

Here’s exactly what he said:

We have been making sure we are maximizing the chance that people enjoy our parks and in particular our playgrounds, but it’s also clear, as I said a few days ago, that if that is not working out, that if people are not abiding by the rules, and not listening to the warnings, then we may get to the point within days that we have to close the playgrounds for the duration of this crisis. It’s not something I want to do, but am ready to do if needed.

We have agreed with the State of New York and the City Council that we will give this process until this Saturday…we have some warmer days coming up so we’ll have a chance to see if people have gotten the message. We will be doing all the enforcement, but if by the end of Saturday it is not sufficiently clear that New Yorkers are following these new rules, at that point we will be prepared to shut down playgrounds [and other spaces] for the foreseeable future.

featured image source: Shutterstock