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New restrictions at some NYC parks, change in NYPD enforcement begin

coronavirus sheep meadow central park
Posted at 8:14 AM, May 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-16 08:19:53-04

NEW YORK CITY — New rules limiting access to some of New York City’s most popular parks are in effect this weekend as city officials strive to balance New Yorkers’ need to stretch their legs with enforcing social distancing rules amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning Saturday, the NYPD is restricting access to Sheep Meadow in Central Park as well as Piers 45 and 46 in Hudson River Park, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Police will also be keeping a closer eye on overcrowding at Domino Park in Brooklyn as well as in the Rockaways, Coney Island and Orchard Beach.

While New York State beaches are expected to open for Memorial Day weekend, New York City's beaches remain closed for now, according to de Blasio.

The city’s 2,260 social-distancing ambassadors will be on patrol as well.

The NYPD will no longer ticket people for failing to wear a mask, de Blasio said, but officers will continue to disperse large gatherings that are most likely to present a risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The decision comes amid outcry over several viral videos that show officers using harsh and oftentimes violent tactics to enforce social distancing, particularly in communities of color.

This story comprises reporting from the Associated Press.