New York City will begin imposing a capacity limit this weekend at some smaller city parks to enforce social distancing guidelines.
City officials cited the need to maintain the flattening of the COVID-19 hospitalization curve as spring weather becomes more enticing to stir crazy New Yorkers.
But the layouts of some city parks lend themselves to congestion. Downstate communities know all too well at this point that congestion is a breeding ground for transmission of the novel coronavirus.
"This may be the single-hardest place to implement those kinds of strategies, for us to live in that way, and yet you have been doing in such amazing, impressive, extraordinary fashion," de Blasio said Friday morning, referring to the reduction in NYC COVID-19 cases. "Never rest on your laurels. When you start winning, it's time to double down."
This weekend will not be one for much outdoor activity, but it will mark the first time the city will place limits on capacity of Hudson River Park Piers 45 and 46. The mayor said there will be an expanded police presence at both parks.
Domino Park will also be closely monitored. And the city will also consider restricting capacity in other parks in the future.
De Blasio acknowledged the criticism of the NYPD's social distancing enforcement — that officers are disproportionately issuing citations to minority residents — and he said that the city will emphasize training and protocols moving forward.
"Job 1 is to save lives and enforcement is necessary to saving lives — and we're not going to have proper enforcement without the largest, best police force in the country being in the game," de Blasio said. "So we're going to do that, but we're going to keep working to make it better literally every day."
Congestion in public places has been a point of emphasis for de Blasio's administration, which has also begun closing some city streets to vehicular traffic and expanding sidewalks to give pedestrians more room to roam.
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