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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s threat on Monday to have police forcibly remove beachgoers from the water during the approaching Memorial Day weekend is getting major pushback.
During his daily press briefing, de Blasio — whose own hypocrisy during the coronavirus lockdown has already been called out — deemed there would be “no swimming” allowed at New York City’s beaches and warned anyone who dared to venture into the sea would “be taken right out of the water.”
De Blasio explained new rules for beachgoers as he warned that there would be no swimming allowed, even though New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has moved to reopen the state’s beaches in time for the holiday. He did, however, give local officials the option to decide if they wanted to follow through with reopening.
“There’s a whole lot of things that will not be allowed at any beach in the state, but you know we’re holding out the hope that at some point we could open up, and we’re training the lifeguards, and we’ll be ready,” he told reporters.
“No swimming, no sports, no gatherings, no parties. Just common sense, observe social distancing. If you walk on the beach, do it for a limited period of time, get back home like everybody else,” he added.
“In terms of enforcement, the NYPD will be out, the Parks Department will be out,” de Blasio said.
“Obviously first and foremost, help make everyone remember don’t go in the water. You’re not supposed to go in the water. It’s a dangerous situation to ever go in the water when there’s no lifeguards present. If anyone tries to get in the water they’ll be taken right out of the water,” he warned,
The authoritarian mayor noted further that “fencing” that would “be in position,” but said it “doesn’t have to be put up unless we have to take tougher measures.”
“The fencing, again, is available, but we don’t want to use it if we don’t have to,” de Blasio said. “The goal is not to have it implemented. Use common sense and observe social distancing. It is not beach season like normal. It is a pandemic.”
“If more enforcement is needed, we’ll do it,” he said, imploring people to avoid “nonessential travel” to beaches.
The “no swimming” order applies to all of the city’s beaches: Wolfe’s Pond Beach in Staten Island; South Beach in Staten Island; Rockaway Beach in Queens; Orchard Beach in the Bronx; Midland Beach in Staten Island; Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; Coney Island in Brooklyn; Cedar Grove in Staten Island; Brighton Beach in Brooklyn.
“It’s not safe. It’s not the right thing to do,” de Blasio noted further.
The mayor didn’t explain why walking on the beach — for a limited time — was fine but not actually going into the water isn’t. He offered no scientific findings to support his decision.
One virus expert at the University of California-San Diego warned in early April that COVID-19 could spread easily at beaches and even among people in the water.
“Surfers are saying that they’re safe if they stay 6 feet away from other people, but that’s only true if the air isn’t moving,” said Kim Prather, University of California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography atmospheric scientist.
But the Los Angeles Times reported as well that “scientists are unsure of coronavirus effects” at beaches.
Either way, de Blasio’s edict drew no small amount of criticism.
I hope every New Yorker goes to the beach this weekend.
— Average Non Gym Person (@gym_non) May 19, 2020
— End Liberalism (@free_the_USA) May 19, 2020
Worst. Mayor. EVER.
— Capt Robert April (@Bob_Littlepage) May 19, 2020
The year is 2020…New York City is now a maximum security prison… pic.twitter.com/xegauah82N
— Scott Pfender (@emsp1018) May 19, 2020
It just keeps getting worse…https://t.co/mifgy9UDYt
— David J Harris Jr (@DavidJHarrisJr) May 19, 2020
— ⭐⭐⭐Stream Of Unconsciousness (@StreamOfUncons1) May 19, 2020
— Steven Morra (@Smorra12) May 18, 2020
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