NEW YORK - In a coordinated effort with three other states, New York will allow state and local beaches and lakeshores to open, with certain restrictions, on May 22, which is the Friday before Memorial Day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.
Authorities will be required to control access to the beaches to make sure they are at no more than half capacity, the governor said during his daily coronavirus pandemic briefing on Friday. Also, group activities, such as sports, are a no-go, and social-gathering areas (such as picnic spots, playgrounds, arcades, pavilions, and amusement rides) will be off-limits.
"With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching and warmer weather on the way, we want to make sure New Yorkers and residents of our neighboring states are able to safely enjoy outdoor recreational activities," Cuomo said in a statement. "We have been coordinating with other states throughout this entire pandemic, and we have worked on an agreement allowing beaches to be open with proper social distancing and other public health protections in place so we can begin establishing a new normal without jeopardizing the progress we've already made."
Workers and beachgoers will be expected to maintain social distancing, which will be enforced, Cuomo said. Wearing a mask will be required when social distancing is not possible.
The news, however, has not been greeted with total joy, as the plans have left some confused. In New York, state and city beaches are often quite close together, leading to questions and concerns over how the rules will be interpreted.
Cuomo said that these measures are being taken to be consistent with plans put in place for beaches in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware. (Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey made his announcement on Thursday.)
"A trip to the beach is a treasured pastime for New Jerseyans on Memorial Day weekend just as it is for residents in our neighboring states," Murphy said in a statement. "By aligning our social distancing policies for beaches, we can bring some semblance of a 'new normal' to our region ahead of the first weekend of the summer season."