Swimming will be allowed at New York City beaches starting July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday. Although Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the green light for state beaches to reopen last month in time for Memorial Day Weekend, the mayor had said the city was “just not ready” to handle the crowds of beachgoers, particularly on public transit. But with the city now in phase two of reopening, the ocean is no longer off-limits, as the Wall Street Journal first reported.
“New Yorkers have worked hard to fight back this virus and to put us back on the path to a safe reopening,” de Blasio said in a statement. “This summer is still unlike any in our history, but now, we will all have the opportunity to cool off and swim at our cherished beaches.”
Social distancing ambassadors employed by NYC Parks will staff the city’s 14 miles of beaches to hand out masks and educate sunbathers about maintaining safe distancing. According to the city, if an area of a beach gets too crowded, some people will be directed to sit where it is less packed.
Swimming will be permitted daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. when lifeguards are on duty. New Yorkers are required to wear face coverings and maintain at least six feet of social distance between each group.
“We want all New Yorkers to enjoy the surf and sand, but more than ever we want everyone to keep safety first,” Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said. “From being water safe and only swimming when a lifeguard is on duty, to adhering to social distancing guidelines and wearing a face covering; it is important that we are cautious and responsible when we hit the beach this summer.”
Along with outdoor dining, playgrounds officially reopened this week. Plus, the mayor said on Wednesday that the city will install several outdoor “cooling elements” that can be added to city parks during extreme heat, like open hydrants, water fountains, spray showers, and sprinklers. Find Cool It! NYC features near you here.
But public pools remain closed and city officials told the WSJ that a decision has not been made on whether to reopen them this summer.
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