New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioThree arrested for allegedly assaulting NYC hostess who asked for COVID-19 vaccine proof Letitia James holding private talks on running for New York governor: report Ocasio-Cortez defends attendance of Met Gala amid GOP uproar MORE (D) warned Monday that the city is serious about keeping swimmers out of the water at its public beaches Memorial Day weekend, even as other locations begin to lift their coronavirus-related restrictions.
"Anyone tries to get in the water, they’ll be taken right out of the water," he told reporters.
The mayor said that city officials would not put up police barriers at beaches, giving New Yorkers the chance to comply voluntarily. Swimming, lifeguards, parties, barbecues and sports would all be prohibited on the beaches, de Blasio added, and social-distancing rules will still apply.
"It's a dangerous situation to ever go in the water if there are no lifeguards present," he added, saying officials are also concerned about scenarios where large numbers of people take the bus or subway to beaches. Only residents of the communities surrounding the beaches would be allowed to use the beach as “just open space you can walk on,” he said.
State beaches in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware are all set to be open for Memorial Day weekend.
De Blasio said "[t]he first half of June is the first opportunity to relax anything," adding that if "we don’t see the right thing, we’ll have to be stricter."
The city has been the epicenter of the virus the U.S., with more than 193,000 cases and 15,786 deaths as of Monday.
De Blasio had said Sunday that police will take action against people gathering together to drink on sidewalks in lieu of bars. This practice, he said, “violates what we’re saying about social distancing, and that puts lives in danger. We’re not going to tolerate people starting to congregate. It’s as simple as that.”