NYC beaches closed for Memorial Day, early summer amid COVID-19

coney island beach
Posted at 11:17 AM, May 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-17 13:31:05-04

NEW YORK CITY — New York City beaches will remain closed for the foreseeable future, including Memorial Day weekend, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday.

The large crowds that city beaches draw are too much of a risk to public health and could cause a resurgence of coronavirus cases, the mayor said.

The likelihood of overcrowding on public transportation to get to the shoreline was also a factor in the decision.

For now, beaches will remain closed to swimming but walking on the shore will be allowed. Fencing will be installed in the event the city needs to control entry points, de Blasio said.

"We’re putting fencing in and in reserve that could close off the beaches if needed. It’s certainly not something I want to do or my team here at City Hall wants to do. I know the Parks Department doesn’t want to do it. But we will be ready if we have to," he said. "So, what you’ll see in the coming days is fencing put in place, ready to be implemented."

If social distancing or no-swimming rules are broken, access to beaches could be further restricted, the mayor warned. The NYPD and Parks Department will step up patrols this summer.

The mayor did offer some small hope for New Yorkers: beaches could open later this summer.

Reopening city beaches will be contingent on further reducing the prevalence of COVID-19 and the city's status within the statewide phased reopening guidelines.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week that New York State beaches will open beginning Memorial Day weekend.