NEW YORK - New York City's beaches are closed to swimming until further notice but wading in the water and surfing are allowed.
"There's not going to be anything with group activity. No sports, no volleyball, no gatherings," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "You can walk on the beach. You can hang out on the beach, but do it in a manner that is consistent with everything we've been talking about."
The mayor's decision contrasts that of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said that swimming is allowed at state beaches near the city, such as Jones Beach, leading to some confusion. Cuomo said he understands the mayor's policy. He also said he respects the policies that Nassau County and Suffolk County put in place at county-owned beaches.
In the meantime, de Blasio said the main things beachgoers in New York City need to remember is that they must follow the rules about social distancing.
"You go out for the amount of time you need, then you get back home. You socially distance the whole time. You wear the face covering," de Blasio said. "Vast, vast majority of New Yorkers are following the rules, working together, helping each other out. So, I'm very hopeful that this weekend at our beaches you're going to see people following the rules because they know it's the right thing to do."
The mayor said hundreds of police officers and Parks Department workers will be at the parks and beaches reminding people about the rules and handing out masks.
"If there are gatherings, if there are people trying to go into the water, Parks [Department] is going to take the lead, but if they need support from the NYPD, they will have it," de Blasio said.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the patrols at parks, beaches, and boardwalks will be bigger than usual this weekend.
"You'll see a number of uniform police officers both at the beaches as well as parks, but they're going to be out there as stewards. The last thing we want to do is be, at this stressful time for the city, resorting to some summonses," Shea said. "So, I think you'll see more of the same in that respect from one corner of the city to one end of the city to another."
The mayor called this effort "Phase 1."
"Then later in the summer, if we keep making steady progress, there's a real opportunity to look at doing more with our beaches," de Blasio said.