Andrew Cuomo closes all NYC playgrounds to stop coronavirus spread
All New York City playgrounds will be shut down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on orders of Gov. Andrew Cuomo — supplanting Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has resisted mass closures.
“I’ve talked about this for weeks,” said a fed-up Cuomo in an Albany press conference. “I warned people.”
Cuomo noted that he’s been in touch with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, “who feels very strongly about this and did from day one,” as well as de Blasio.
“We agreed initially with the mayor that we would try compliance and the mayor was going to try to use the NYPD to enforce compliance, social-distancing in playgrounds,” he said. “The NYPD has to get more aggressive. Period.”
Hizzoner has dug in his heels against wholesale closures, but last week yanked basketball hoops from 80 public courts, and Tuesday announced the closure of 10 particularly troublesome playgrounds.
But Cuomo said more needed to be done.
“It is still a problem,” he said. “We’re working with the speaker, we’re working with the mayor, but we’re going to close down the city playgrounds and leave the open spaces available.
“So use the open space in a park, walk around, get some sun,” he continued. “No density, no basketball games, no close contact, no violation of social distancing, period. That’s the rule.”
Cuomo did not specify when the closures would take effect.
City Hall did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who along with Johnson has called for mass playground closures, said, “A crisis calls for clear, decisive action. I commend the governor for doing the right thing.
“As a parent, I understand the desire to have spaces for kids to play, but public health must come first.”
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