NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that if any beach rule-breakers will be forcibly removed from the water if they defy his coronavirus lockdown orders.
De Blasio issued the stark warning during his COVID-19 press briefing on Monday, saying the city was getting fencing ready while NYPD and and the Parks Department would monitor the situation.
"Anyone tries to get in the water they’ll be taken right out of the water," the mayor warned reporters on Monday morning, as state beaches in New York, Delaware, Connecticut and New Jersey reopen.
NY Governor Cuomo had said local officials had the option to keep beaches closed amid COVID-19 fears, however.
De Blasio's warning comes as hospital admissions in NYC decreased from 77 to 48 with a slight uptick in ICU admissions from 469 to 475, while testing rates remain unchanged at 11 percent.
The NYC mayor explained officials would not be putting up police barriers on NYC beaches just yet to give people a chance to comply with the rules.
He reiterated that "no swimming, no lifeguards, no parties, no BBQs" and no sports were allowed on the sand, where social distancing rules would still apply, however.
"It's a dangerous situation to ever go in the water if there are no lifeguards present," de Blasio noted, saying city officials wanted to avoid a situation where people took public transport to get to the beach.
He said only residents of beach communities would be allowed to go to the beach as "just open space you can walk on" — but everyone else should steer clear of it at this time.
"The first half of June is the first opportunity to relax anything," de Blasio added, saying officials didn't want to use the available fencing to block off entry points as a result of rule-breakers.
"[If] we don’t see the right thing, we’ll have to be stricter," he said, adding that there would be more enforcement if necessary.
But de Blasio said he wouldn't rule out loosening some of these restrictions as the season goes on if there was more progress in the Big Apple.
"We're holding out the hope that at some point we could open up," he said. "Let's pray we get to the point where we can open things up more."
Today, he reiterated that the city would crack down on restaurants "trying to cheat and do eat-in dining."
“I’m not comfortable at all with people congregating outside bars,” the mayor said during his press conference on Sunday.
"That violates what we’re saying about social distancing … and that puts lives in danger.
“So the police department will be out, the sheriff’s office will be out, watching very carefully."
The mayor also warned beaches would not open on Memorial Day, despite New York Governor Cuomo saying the state's coastline would be open.
"There's obviously a huge interest in the beaches and the state of New York has said that different localities can make different choices," de Blasio said after a weekend of rule-breaking.
"I've said before and I'll say it again: we are not opening our beaches on Memorial Day. It is not safe. It is not the right thing to do in the epicenter of this crisis," he said.
On Saturday, people flocked to beaches and bars around New York, ignoring coronavirus lockdown rules as city officials warned of a rebound-spike in cases due to "quarantine fatigue".
Beachgoers in New York City and New Jersey sought out sand and sun in Long Beach and Belmar to enjoy the 76-degree weather.
Others soaked up the sun in Central Park, while revelers headed to bars the East Village for take-out booze.
Many traveled further afield to the beaches outside the city, reports say.
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