By Michael V. Cusenza
The City’s eight public beaches opened this week for swimming, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced.
Starting Wednesday, July 1, lifeguards will be on duty daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Swimming is unsafe and strictly prohibited at all other times, de Blasio noted.
To encourage social distancing, NYC Parks Ambassadors will continue to staff the beaches, handing out masks and educating patrons about maintaining safe distancing. According to the administration, if certain sections of the beach become too crowded, visitors will be directed to different, less-crowded areas. All New Yorkers should continue to wash and sanitize their hands, wear a face covering, and maintain distance between individuals and small groups, Hizzoner added.
“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. “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.”
In April, as COVID-19 began to ravage the five boroughs, de Blasio announced that, due to the crisis, all City pools and beaches would be shuttered for the summer.
“If we rush when we are still in the throes of this crisis, if we let people come back together and start gathering again, and there are lessons, again from around the world and from our own past that show us when you take the foot off the gas too early, you could have a spread again,” the mayor said in the spring.
City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said last week the department is “excited to bring our beaches back for the season.”
“We want all New Yorkers to enjoy the surf and sand, but more than ever we want everyone to keep safety first,” Silver continued. “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.”