New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is praising residents for mostly adhering to coronavirus social distancing rules during the warmest weekend of the spring, with police handing out only a few dozen summonses.
Tens of thousands of people flocked to New York City’s parks and public spaces Saturday as temperatures hit the low-70s (about 23 degrees Celsius), and for the most part they complied with social distancing rules.
“The big story here is what New Yorkers have done right,” de Blasio said.
Officers issued 51 summonses, including 43 in parks, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said. There were at least three arrests.
About 1,000 police officers were out on foot, bicycles, in patrol cars and even on horseback to enforce public health restrictions requiring people — as well as couples, families and other small groups living under the same roof — to keep 6 feet away from others.
Officers were also handing out face masks, which people are required to wear when social distancing is not possible, breaking up large gatherings and stopping people from playing team sports, which are still banned.
“The vast majority of New Yorkers have really risen to the challenge,” de Blasio said, though he and Shea noted some overcrowding at places like Manhattan’s Hudson River Park and Brooklyn’s Domino Park.
At Astoria Park in Queens, police on Saturday seized six motorcycles, including two that were found to have been stolen, Shea said.
In Harlem, dozens of people crowded a blocked off street for a memorial to a 30-year-old father of three who was shot dead last week.
De Blasio said such large gatherings are a violation of city and state public health guidelines and “have to be stopped before they even get started.”
“We have to get clear to people that no such events should be happening,” de Blasio said. “When you start to attract large numbers of people, the chance of social distancing being maintained is minimal.”
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