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Stroud Playground NY
Photograph: Courtesy Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

Governor Andrew Cuomo closes all New York City playgrounds

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Governor Andrew Cuomo used his authority on Wednesday to close all of New York City's playgrounds, overwriting Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision on Tuesday to just close 10 of them.

During his daily press conference updating the public on coronavirus outbreak measures, Cuomo announced that he'd be closing all of the playgrounds in the city because they are too crowded.

"We're going to take more dramatic actions," he said. "I talked about this for weeks. I warned people that if they didn't stop the density and the games in the playgrounds...that we would close the playgrounds." 

Cuomo said the city has used the NYPD to enforce compliance but it has still been a problem. 

"We'll leave the open spaces available," he said. "Walk around get some sun—great. No density, no basketball games, no close contact, no violations of social distancing—period. That's the rule."

During a press conference in Queens on Tuesday, the mayor cracked down on playground-goers who disregarded continued warnings to stay home and stay away from others.

"Overwhelmingly, we're seeing compliance in parks and playgrounds with some real problem spots, too," he said. "I've been very clear. We see a problem spot that's recurrent, we're going to shut it down."

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The mayor's press secretary Freddi Goldstein tweeted that the following playgrounds were closed indefinitely: Mauro Playground in Queens; two playgrounds in Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island; Brooklyn's Middleton Playground, two Fort Greene Park playgrounds, and Brighton Playground; The Bronx's Watson Gleason Playground; and Manhattan's Fort Tryon Playground, Jacob Javits Playground and Raoul Wallenberg Playground.

The 10 playgrounds have apparently had crowding multiple times and will be "shut down, locked, there will be signs put up, there will be enforcement," the mayor added.

"My goal, again, is to try to preserve as many as possible if people follow the rules. If people will not follow the rules, we'll continue to shut them down aggressively."

The closures are most recent action on complaints of overcrowding. On Monday, the mayor announced that people who do not adhere to the 6-foot-social-distancing rule can be fined $250 to $500. Last week, he removed basketball hoops from 80 city-run courts.

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