NYPD To Enforce Social-Distancing In City Parks Amid Outbreak

WCBS 880 Newsroom
March 22, 2020 - 4:00 pm
NYC park

Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Mayor de Blasio said the NYPD will be enforcing social-distancing in parks after large crowds of people were seen in parks across the city this weekend.

At a news conference Sunday, de Blasio said social-distancing in parks will be enforced going forward. The announcement came hours after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it was "unacceptable" that large crowds of people were congregating in parks across the city Saturday.

The mayor said parks and playgrounds will be open but that no gatherings, team sports or picnics are allowed "for weeks, probably for months."

People are still allowed to go to parks and playgrounds for short periods of time to get fresh air or exercise.

De Blasio is working with the state on a plan to enforce the policy of strangers maintaining a distance of 6 feet between one another. The NYPD will enforce it if large groups of people form at parks or playgrounds.

"We're not going to allow gatherings. We're not going to allow loitering," de Blasio said. "If an officer sees you and you're sitting on a park bench, they're going to say, 'hey, you need to go home.'"

The mayor said he's considering closing streets and opening them up for recreation.

Earlier in the day, Cuomo chided New Yorkers for ignoring social distancing rules designed to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The governor said New York City parks were teeming with people enjoying the sunshine on Saturday.

"I don’t know what they’re not understanding," Cuomo said. "This is not life as usual. None of this is life as usual. And this kind of density–we talk about social distancing–I was in these parks, you would not know that anything was going on. This is just a mistake. It’s a mistake. It’s insensitive. It’s arrogant. It’s self destructive. It’s disrespectful to other people. It has to stop and it has to stop now. This is not a joke and I am not kidding."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)