New York state will reopen its beaches, including local beaches and lake shores, for Memorial Day weekend in coordination with New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.
Cuomo said the beaches will be limited to 50% capacity. Concession stands will be closed and contact activities, including sports, such as volleyball, are prohibited. Public pools will remain closed, he said.
Beachgoers will need to wear masks when they can’t remain 6 feet apart from other people, he said.
“The local government can decide to open or stay closed. If they choose to open, they must adopt the state’s requirements at a minimum,” Cuomo said.
He said each local government should inform the state whether it intends to reopen for Memorial Day by May 20.
Earlier on Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would ramp up patrol of the city’s beaches this weekend and added that beaches and pools in the city are “not in the cards right now.”
“We are reviewing the guidelines the Governor laid out and will make all decisions based on the safety of New Yorkers,” said Jane Meyer, a spokesperson for the mayor. “Beaches will not open on Memorial Day, but we are putting plans into place so that we can open beaches this summer if it’s safe.”
Rockaway Beach, Coney Island Beach and Orchard Beach, among others, are part of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and typically open on Memorial Day weekend, according to the NYC Parks website.
Cuomo said his rationale behind the decision was to work in conformity with the surrounding states, which he said were planning to open beaches, and he was concerned that there would be millions of New Yorkers crowding the Jersey Shore and other waterfronts.
“We are one multistate region. What one state does will affect other states. That is probably nowhere more clear than when it comes to opening beaches,” Cuomo said. “One state doesn’t open beaches, another state does open beaches, you will see people flood to that state.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Twitter on Thursday that the Jersey Shore will reopen with social distancing guidelines in place in time for Memorial Day.
Five of 10 regions in New York have met Cuomo’s seven metrics to move into phase one of the state’s reopening plan, Cuomo said. He said his statewide stay-at-home order “New York State on PAUSE,” which expires on Friday, will extend to the other regions that have not met the state’s metrics for reopening.
Phase one allows regions to resume manufacturing, construction and agricultural operations and retailers to reopen with limitations, Cuomo said.
In order to begin phase one of the state’s reopening plan, a region must report two weeks of declining Covid-19 hospitalizations or under 15 new hospitalizations on a three-day average, two weeks of declining coronavirus deaths or under five new deaths on a three-day average and under two new hospitalizations for Covid-19 per 100,000 residents on a three-day rolling average.
A region must also have proper hospital and intensive-care bed capacity and meet an adequate threshold of contact tracers and testing.