NEW YORK — Councilman Mark Levine is calling for city beaches to remain open this summer despite the coronavirus outbreak.
Levine, who is chair of the council’s health committee, said safety was his main concern with keeping all city beaches closed through the summer months.
“A hot summer is coming and New Yorkers will likely have no access to summer camps, street fairs, and possibly even playgrounds,” Levine said in a statement Saturday. “We need to give New Yorkers a safety valve to get outside in the hot summer months. Beaches are the best place to do that.”
The councilman believes a plan that requires social distancing and capacity limits while beaches remain open would be more effective.
“We have 14 miles of public beaches in our city. If we open up beaches, we can minimize the risk with strict rules against overcrowding and social gatherings,” Levine said in the statement. “Such a plan should be coordinated regionally, since If only one jurisdiction opens its beaches people will swarm there from elsewhere, which would be unsafe. Let’s find a way to do this safely.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday that all non-essential events planned for May, including parades, concerts, rallies and large gatherings will not be held. Events planned for June were still being considered, according to the mayor.
The move is part of de Blasio’s efforts to encourage social distancing and slow the spread of coronavirus as the number of deaths and new cases continues to rise.
But while New York continues to push forward with its “PAUSE” plan, which bans all gatherings, Florida has decided to ease some of its restrictions.
Residents flocked to beaches in Jacksonville on Friday after the mayor announced they would reopen with restrictions on sunbathing.