New York and the surrounding states of New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware will now allow beaches and lakeshores to open next Friday at a reduced capacity.
"State beaches will open Friday of Memorial Day weekend with strict precautions," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "Beaches will be at 50% capacity and masks will be required when social distance is not possible."
Under the requirements outlined by Cuomo, local officials must monitor capacity by controlling beach parking lots and beach entrances.
Cuomo stated that, in New York, all beachgoers are required to wear face coverings when people cannot social distance. On the beaches of New Jersey, face masks are highly encouraged but were not mandated by New Jersey Governor Murphy at a press conference Thursday.
While New York state beaches will open come next Friday, local town and county beaches can decide whether or not they want to open their own beaches. If they want to open, they must meet the state's restrictions, including crowd regulating and enforcing social distancing measures.
Contact sports on all beaches like football and volleyball will also be prohibited, Cuomo said. Pools, amusement parks, arcades, playgrounds and concessions will remain closed to prevent people from gathering in crowds.
“The calculation is I’m trying to work in conformity for accommodation of our surrounding states. They were going to open beaches, and if New York did not open beaches, you would see an influx of New Yorkers there,” Cuomo said. “If other states were opening and New York wasn’t you would have millions of New Yorkers flooding those beaches.”
“If we don’t open our beaches, people will go to New Jersey beaches, I can promise you that,” Cuomo added. “I think this plan makes the most sense. Is there a risk that the locals won’t enforce the rules? Yes. Or that the beach will get overwhelmed and they can’t enforce the rules? Yes… If that happens, we will close the beach the next day.”
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