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Governor Shuts Down New York City Playgrounds, Basketball Courts

L/CPL Thomas P. Noonan Jr. Playground in Sunnyside (Parks Dept. file photo)

April 1, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Governor Andrew Cuomo will shut down all New York City playgrounds to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, he announced today.

The order comes after Mayor Bill de Blasio resisted a mass closure and opted to shut down specific playgrounds where social distancing was not being observed.

However, at a press briefing in Albany today, Cuomo said people weren’t adhering to the social distancing rules and “more dramatic actions” were needed. He is closing all playgrounds, swing sets, basketball courts and similar spaces.

“We agreed initially with the mayor that we would try compliance and the mayor was going to try to use the NYPD to enforce compliance, social distancing, in playgrounds,” Cuomo said. “It is still a problem.”

Shutting down all playgrounds throughout the city is a necessary step to slow the spread and flatten the curve of coronavirus cases, Cuomo said.

“I’ve talked about this for weeks, I warned people that if they didn’t stop the density and the games in the playground — you can’t play basketball, you can’t come in contact with each other — that we would close the playgrounds.”

De Blasio had already shuttered 10 city playgrounds — including Mauro Playground at Flushing Meadows Corona Park — where compliance was low. The city also removed basketball hoops from 80 court throughout the five boroughs last week.

Open spaces inside city parks will remain open, Cuomo said.

He didn’t specify a date of when the playgrounds will be shuttered.

State-run playgrounds were closed to the public on March 21.

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